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News Release Information

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

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Occupational Employment and Wages in Scranton—Wilkes-Barre – May 2014

Workers in the Scranton—Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $19.42 in May 2014, roughly 14 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 16 of the 22 major occupational groups, including legal; computer and mathematical; and arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Scranton employment shares were significantly higher in six occupational groups including transportation and material moving, production, and healthcare practitioners and technical. Conversely, 11 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation; these groups included management, business and financial operations, and food preparation and serving related.

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Scranton—Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2014
Major occupational groupEmployment share (percent of total)Average (mean) hourly wage
United StatesScranton— Wilkes-BarreSignificant difference (1)United StatesScranton— Wilkes-BarreSignificant difference (1)Percent difference (2)

Total, all occupations

100.00%100.00% $22.71$19.42Yes-14



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 Scranton—Wilkes-Barre is above the national mean wage, while a negative percent difference reflects a lower wage.

One occupational group—production—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Scranton had 21,060 jobs in production, accounting for 8.3 percent of local area employment, significantly above the 6.6-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $17.09, similar to the national wage of $17.06.

With employment of 2,130, team assemblers was the largest occupation within the production group, followed by production helpers (1,610). Among the higher-paying jobs were first-line supervisors of production and operating workers, with a mean hourly wage of $28.51, and welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers with a wage of $19.50. At the lower end of the wage scale were production helpers ($12.78) and packaging and filling machine operators and tenders ($13.73). (Detailed occupational data for production 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 Scranton, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the production group. For instance, metal and plastic extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders were employed at four-and-a-half times the national rate in Scranton. In contrast, welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers had a location quotient of 1.1 in Scranton, 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 Scranton—Wilkes-Barre 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 Scranton—Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area included 2,503 establishments with a response rate of 75 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 Scranton—Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wyoming Counties in Pennsylvania.

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, Scranton--Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2014
Occupation(1)Employment(2)Mean wage
LevelLocation quotient(3)HourlyAnnual(4)

Production occupations


First-line supervisors of production and operating workers


Engine and other machine assemblers


Structural metal fabricators and fitters


Team assemblers


Assemblers and fabricators, all other




Butchers and meat cutters


Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers


Slaughterers and Meat Packers


Food batchmakers


Food cooking machine operators and tenders


Computer-controlled machine tool operators, metal and plastic


Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic


Rolling machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic


Cutting, punching, and press machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic


Grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic




Molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic


Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic


Tool and die makers


Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers


Welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders


Heat treating equipment setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic


Prepress technicians and workers


Printing press operators


Print binding and finishing workers


Laundry and dry-cleaning workers


Pressers, textile, garment, and related materials


Sewing machine operators


Textile cutting machine setters, operators, and tenders


Textile knitting and weaving machine setters, operators, and tenders


Textile, apparel, and furnishings workers, all other


Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters


Sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood


Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing


Power plant operators


Stationary engineers and boiler operators


Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators


Gas plant operators


Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers


Plant and system operators, all other


Chemical equipment operators and tenders


Separating, filtering, clarifying, precipitating, and still machine setters, operators, and tenders


Crushing, grinding, and polishing machine setters, operators, and tenders


Mixing and blending machine setters, operators, and tenders


Cutting and slicing machine setters, operators, and tenders


Furnace, kiln, oven, drier, and kettle operators and tenders


Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers


Dental laboratory technicians


Ophthalmic laboratory technicians


Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders


Coating, painting, and spraying machine setters, operators, and tenders


Painters, transportation equipment


Painting, coating, and decorating workers


Molders, shapers, and casters, except metal and plastic


Tire builders


Helpers--production workers


Production workers, all other


(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Scranton--Wilkes-Barre 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 released.


Last Modified Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2015