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News Release Information

Thursday, June 18, 2015

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Occupational Employment and Wages in Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington – May 2014

Workers in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $24.88 in May 2014, 10 percent above the nationwide average of $22.71, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were significantly higher than their respective national averages in 15 of the 22 major occupational groups, including management, construction and extraction, and sales and related. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2014
Major occupational groupEmployment share (percent of total)Average (mean) hourly wage
United StatesPhiladelphia-Camden-WilmingtonSignificant difference (1)United StatesPhiladelphia-Camden-WilmingtonSignificant difference (1)Percent difference (2)

Total, all occupations

100.0%100.0% $22.71$24.88Yes10



Business and financial operations


Computer and mathematical


Architecture and engineering


Life, physical, and social science


Community and social service




Education, training, and library


Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media


Healthcare practitioners and technical


Healthcare support


Protective service


Food preparation and serving related


Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance


Personal care and service


Sales and related


Office and administrative support


Farming, fishing, and forestry


Construction and extraction


Installation, maintenance, and repair




Transportation and material moving


(1) Statistical significance testing at the 90-percent confidence level.
(2) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Philadelphia is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Philadelphia employment shares were significantly higher in 10 of the 22 occupational groups including business and financial operations, office and administrative support, and healthcare support. Conversely, 10 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation; these groups included production, food preparation and serving related, and construction and extraction.

One occupational group—life, physical, and social science—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Philadelphia had 32,490 jobs in the life, physical, and social science group, accounting for 1.2 percent of local area employment, significantly larger than the 0.8-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $35.95, significantly higher than the national average of $33.69.

With employment of 7,040, chemists was the largest occupation within life, physical, and social science followed by chemical technicians (3,190). Among the higher-paying jobs were economists with a mean hourly wage of $45.26 and chemists with a wage of $43.35. At the lower end of the wage scale were environmental science and protection technicians, including health ($18.72) and social science research assistants ($19.50). (Detailed occupational data for life, physical, and social science are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to

Location quotients allow us to explore the occupational make-up of a metropolitan area by comparing the composition of jobs in an area relative to the national average. (See table 1.) For example, a location quotient of 2.0 indicates that an occupation accounts for twice the share of employment in the area as it does nationally. In the Philadelphia area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in several of the occupations within the life, physical, and social science group. For instance, biochemists and biophysicists were employed at over two-and-a-half times the national rate in Philadelphia, and chemists at over four times the U.S. average. On the other hand, social science research assistants had a location quotient of 1.0 in Philadelphia, indicating that this particular occupation’s local and national employment shares were similar.

These statistics are from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey, a federal-state cooperative program between BLS and State Workforce Agencies, in this case, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry; the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development; the Delaware Department of Labor; and the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.


OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area were compared to their respective national averages based on statistical significance testing. Only those occupations with wages or employment shares above or below the national wage or share after testing for significance at the 90-percent confidence level meet the criteria.

NOTE: A value that is statistically different from another does not necessarily mean that the difference has economic or practical significance. Statistical significance is concerned with the ability to make confident statements about a universe based on a sample. It is entirely possible that a large difference between two values is not significantly different statistically, while a small difference is, since both the size and heterogeneity of the sample affect the relative error of the data being tested.

Technical Note

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey is a semiannual mail survey measuring occupational employment and wage rates for wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments in the United States. Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands are also surveyed, but their data are not included in the national estimates. OES estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.2 million establishments. Each year, forms are mailed to two semiannual panels of approximately 200,000 sampled establishments, one panel in May and the other in November. May 2014 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2014, November 2013, May 2013, November 2012, May 2012, and November 2011. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 74.3 percent based on establishments and 70.5 percent based on employment. The sample in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area included 15,410 establishments with a response rate of 76 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

The OES survey provides estimates of employment and hourly and annual wages for wage and salary workers in 22 major occupational groups and 821 detailed occupations for the nation, states, metropolitan statistical areas, metropolitan divisions, and nonmetropolitan areas. In addition, employment and wage estimates for 94 minor groups and 458 broad occupations are available in the national data. OES data by state and metropolitan/nonmetropolitan area are available from and, respectively.

The May 2014 OES estimates are based on the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system and the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Information about the 2010 SOC is available on the BLS website at and information about the 2012 NAICS is available at

Area definitions

The substate area data published in this release reflect the standards and definitions established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

The Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania; Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Salem Counties in New Jersey; New Castle County in Delaware; and Cecil County in Maryland.

Additional information

OES data are available on our regional web page at Answers to frequently asked questions about the OES data are available at Detailed technical information about the OES survey is available in our Survey Methods and Reliability Statement on the BLS website at Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request – Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.

Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2014
Occupation (1)Employment (2)Mean wage
LevelLocation quotient (3)HourlyAnnual (4)

Life, physical, and social science occupations


Food scientists and technologists


Soil and plant scientists


Biochemists and biophysicists




Biological scientists, all other


Conservation scientists






Medical scientists, except epidemiologists




Atmospheric and space scientists




Materials scientists


Environmental scientists and specialists, including health


Geoscientists, except hydrologists and geographers




Physical scientists, all other




Survey researchers


Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists


Psychologists, all other




Urban and regional planners




Social scientists and related workers, all other


Agricultural and food science technicians


Biological technicians


Chemical technicians


Geological and petroleum technicians


Nuclear technicians


Social science research assistants


Environmental science and protection technicians, including health


Forensic science technicians


Life, physical, and social science technicians, all other


(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington MSA, see
(2) Estimates for detailed occupations do not sum to the totals because the totals include occupations not shown separately. Estimates do not include self-employed workers.
(3) The location quotient is the ratio of the area concentration of occupational employment to the national average concentration. A location quotient greater than one indicates the occupation has a higher share of employment than average, and a location quotient less than one indicates the occupation is less prevalent in the area than average.
(4) Annual wages have been calculated by multiplying the hourly mean wage by a 'year-round, full-time' hours figure of 2,080 hours; for those occupations where there is not an hourly mean wage published, the annual wage has been directly calculated from the reported survey data.
(5) Estimates not available.


Last Modified Date: Thursday, June 18, 2015