An official website of the United States government
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Workers in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $21.84 in May 2014, 4 percent below 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 lower than their respective national averages in 13 of the 22 major occupational groups, including computer and mathematical, community and social service, and protective service. Four other groups had wages that were measurably higher than their respective national averages; among these were production and construction and extraction. (See table A and box note at end of release.)
|Major occupational group||Employment share (percent of total)||Average (mean) hourly wage|
|United States||Pittsburgh||Significant difference (1)||United States||Pittsburgh||Significant difference (1)||Percent difference (2)|
Total, all occupations
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
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
When compared to the nationwide distribution, Pittsburgh employment shares were significantly higher in 8 of the 22 occupational groups including healthcare practitioners and technical, office and administrative support, and construction and extraction. Conversely, eight groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation; these groups included management, production, and transportation and material moving.
One occupational group—construction and extraction—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Pittsburgh had 51,740 jobs in construction and extraction, accounting for 4.6 percent of local area employment, significantly above the 3.9-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $23.00, which was significantly above the national average of $22.40.
With employment of 8,910, construction laborers was the largest occupation within the construction and extraction group, followed by carpenters (8,650). Among the higher-paying jobs were first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers ($32.90) and plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters ($27.53). At the lower end of the wage scale were highway maintenance workers and electrician helpers, with mean hourly wages of $18.71 and $12.34, respectively. (Detailed occupational data for community and social service are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_38300.htm.)
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 Pittsburgh area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in several of the occupations within the construction and extraction group. For instance, oil and gas rotary drill operators were employed at twice the national rate in Pittsburgh, and carpet installers were employed at almost three times the U.S. average. On the other hand, roofers had a location quotient of 1.0 in Pittsburgh, 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.
OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Pittsburgh 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.
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 Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area included 6,143 establishments with a response rate of 75 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.
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 www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcst.htm and www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm, 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 www.bls.gov/soc and information about the 2012 NAICS is available at www.bls.gov/bls/naics.htm.
The substate area data published in this release reflect the standards and definitions established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
The Pittsburgh, Pa. Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties in Pennsylvania.
OES data are available on our regional web page at www.bls.gov/regions/mid-atlantic. Answers to frequently asked questions about the OES data are available at www.bls.gov/oes/oes_ques.htm. Detailed technical information about the OES survey is available in our Survey Methods and Reliability Statement on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/oes/current/methods_statement.pdf. 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.
|Occupation (1)||Employment (2)||Mean wage|
|Level||Location quotient (3)||Hourly||Annual (4)|
Construction and extraction occupations
First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
Brickmasons and blockmasons
Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles
Tile and marble setters
Cement masons and concrete finishers
Paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators
Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators
Drywall and ceiling tile installers
Insulation workers, mechanical
Painters, construction and maintenance
Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
Plasterers and stucco masons
Reinforcing iron and rebar workers
Sheet metal workers
Structural iron and steel workers
Helpers--brickmasons, blockmasons, stonemasons, and tile and marble setters
Helpers--pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
Construction and building inspectors
Elevator installers and repairers
Hazardous materials removal workers
Highway maintenance workers
Septic tank servicers and sewer pipe cleaners
Derrick operators, oil and gas
Rotary drill operators, oil and gas
Service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining
Earth drillers, except oil and gas
Continuous mining machine operators
Roustabouts, oil and gas
Last Modified Date: Thursday, June 18, 2015