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News Release Information

Thursday, May 26, 2016

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Occupational Employment and Wages in Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton – May 2015

Workers in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $21.88 in May 2015, six percent below the nationwide average of $23.23, 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 8 of the 22 major occupational groups, including arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; protective service; and computer and mathematical. Two groups— building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations and production occupations—had average wages that were measurably higher than their respective national averages.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Allentown employment shares were significantly higher in 6 of the 22 occupational groups including transportation and material moving; healthcare practitioners and technical; and production. Conversely, nine groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation; these groups included management; business and financial operations; and computer and mathematical. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and Allentown metropolitan area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2015
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Allentown United States Allentown Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.00% 100.00%   $23.23 $21.88 * -6


5.0 3.7 * 55.30 55.00   -1

Business and financial operations

5.1 3.8 * 35.48 32.59 * -8

Computer and mathematical

2.9 2.2 * 41.43 37.56 * -9

Architecture and engineering

1.8 1.6   39.89 38.32   -4

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 0.5 * 34.24 32.44   -5

Community and social service

1.4 1.8 * 22.19 21.39   -4


0.8 0.4 * 49.74 48.18   -3

Education, training, and library

6.2 6.2   25.48 26.98   6

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 1.0 * 27.39 22.22 * -19

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.8 7.5 * 37.40 38.22   2

Healthcare support

2.9 3.7 * 14.19 13.96   -2

Protective service

2.4 1.9 * 21.45 19.52 * -9

Food preparation and serving related

9.1 8.5   10.98 10.69 * -3

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.2 3.0 * 13.02 13.75 * 6

Personal care and service

3.1 3.7 * 12.33 11.90 * -3

Sales and related

10.5 9.9   18.90 18.07 * -4

Office and administrative support

15.8 16.3   17.47 16.73 * -4

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1 * 12.67 13.88   10

Construction and extraction

4.0 3.2   22.88 22.75   -1

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 3.9   22.11 22.09   0


6.6 7.6 * 17.41 17.97 * 3

Transportation and material moving

6.9 9.6 * 16.90 16.42   -3

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Allentown is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference relects a lower wage.
* The percent share of employment or mean hourly wage for this area is significantly different from the national average of all areas at the 90-percent confidence level.

One occupational group—transportation and material moving—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Allentown had 33,250 jobs in transportation and material moving, accounting for 9.6 percent of local area employment, significantly larger than the 6.9-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $16.42, similar to the national wage of $16.90.

With employment of 11,900, hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers was the largest occupation within the transportation and material moving group, followed by heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers with 5,830 jobs. Among the higher-paying jobs were first-line supervisors of transportation and material-moving machine and vehicle operators and first-line supervisors of hand helpers, laborers, and material movers, with mean hourly wages of $29.08 and $25.53, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were automotive and watercraft service attendants ($9.24) and cleaners of vehicles and equipment ($10.27). (Detailed occupational data for transportation and material moving 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 Allentown area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in several of the occupations within the transportation and material moving group. For instance, conveyor operators and tenders were employed at 3.8 times the national rate in Allentown, and industrial truck and tractor operators at 2.5 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, machine feeders and offbearers had a location quotient of 1.0 in Allentown, 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.

Notes on Occupational Employment Statistics Data

With the issuance of data for May 2015, the OES program has incorporated redefined metropolitan area definitions as designated by the Office of Management and Budget. OES data are available for 394 metropolitan areas, 38 metropolitan divisions, and 167 OES-defined nonmetropolitan areas. A listing of the areas and their definitions can be found at

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. The OES program produces employment and wage estimates for over 800 occupations for all industries combined in the nation; the 50 states and the District of Columbia; 432 metropolitan areas and divisions; 167 nonmetropolitan areas; and Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. National estimates are also available by industry for NAICS sectors, 3-, 4-, and selected 5- and 6-digit industries, and by ownership across all industries and for schools and hospitals. OES data are available at

OES estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.2 million establishments. Forms are mailed to approximately 200,000 sampled establishments in May and November each year. May 2015 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2015, November 2014, May 2014, November 2013, May 2013, and November 2012. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 73.5 percent based on establishments and 69.6 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The unweighted employment of sampled establishments across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 57.9 percent of total national employment. (Response rates are slightly lower for these estimates due to the federal shutdown in October 2013.) The sample in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Pa.-N.J. Metropolitan Statistical Area included 3,579 establishments with a response rate of 77 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

The May 2015 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

Metropolitan 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 Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Pa.-N.J. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton Counties in Pennsylvania and Warren County in New Jersey.

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: (800) 877-8339.

Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2015
Occupation (1) Employment (2) Mean wage
Level Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Transportation and material moving occupations

33,250 1.4 $16.42 $34,140

First-line supervisors of helpers, laborers, and material movers, hand

590 1.3 25.53 53,100

First-line supervisors of transportation and material-moving machine and vehicle operators

590 1.2 29.08 60,480

Commercial pilots

80 0.8 (5) 77,020

Air traffic contollers

40 0.8 41.87 87,090

Ambulance drivers and attendants, except emergency medical technicians

(6) (6) 11.89 24,730

Bus drivers, transit and intercity

450 1.1 17.44 36,270

Bus drivers, school or special client

1,650 1.3 16.24 33,770

Driver/sales workers

1,280 1.2 10.89 22,650

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

5,830 1.4 21.44 44,590

Light truck or delivery services drivers

2,370 1.1 17.12 35,600

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

550 1.2 13.91 28,940

Parking lot attendants

300 0.8 10.77 22,410

Automotive and watercraft service attendants

350 1.3 9.24 19,220

Conveyor operators and tenders

320 3.8 16.65 34,630

Crane and tower operators

30 0.3 23.31 48,470

Excavating and loading machine and dragline operators

30 0.3 19.74 41,060

Industrial truck and tractor operators

3,340 2.5 16.93 35,220

Cleaners of vehicles and equipment

640 0.8 10.27 21,360

Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand

11,900 1.9 14.34 29,830

Machine feeders and offbearers

250 1.0 15.02 31,240

Packers and packagers, hand

2,330 1.3 13.19 27,440

Refuse and recyclable material collectors

150 0.5 15.15 31,500

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area, 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) Wages for some occupations that do not generally work year-round, full-time, are reported either as hourly wages or annual salaries depending on how they are typically paid.
(6) Estimates not released.


Last Modified Date: Thursday, May 26, 2016