Thursday, June 02, 2016
Workers in the Reading Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $21.04 in May 2015, 9 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 10 of the 22 major occupational groups, including arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; life, physical, and social science; and computer and mathematical.
When compared to the nationwide distribution, Reading employment shares were significantly higher in 6 of the 22 occupational groups, including production; transportation and material moving; and installation, maintenance, and repair. Conversely, 12 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation; these groups included management; computer and mathematical; and business and financial operations. (See table A and box note at end of release.)
|Major occupational group||Percent of total employment||Mean hourly wage|
|United States||Reading||United States||Reading||Percent difference (1)|
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
* 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—production—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Reading had 20,950 jobs in production, accounting for 12.3 percent of local area employment, nearly twice the 6.6-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $18.69, measurably above the national wage of $17.41.
With employment of 2,090, helpers--production workers was the largest occupation within the production group, followed by first-line supervisors of production and operating workers (1,540). Among the higher-paying jobs were first-line supervisors of production and operating workers and printing press operators, with mean hourly wages of $26.07 and $22.02, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were bakers ($12.07) and sewing machine operators ($12.79). (Detailed occupational data for production are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_39740.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 Reading area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the production group. For instance, metal and plastic multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders were employed at 3.7 times the national rate in Reading, and production worker helpers at 3.9 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, power plant operators had a location quotient of 1.0 in Reading, 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.
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 www.bls.gov/oes/current/msa_def.htm.
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. 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 www.bls.gov/oes/tables.htm.
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 Reading, Pa. Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,957 establishments with a response rate of 76 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.
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 www.bls.gov/soc and information about the 2012 NAICS is available at www.bls.gov/bls/naics.htm.
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 Reading, Pa. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Berks County in Pennsylvania.
OES data are available on our regional web page at https://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: (800) 877-8339.
|Occupation (1)||Employment (2)||Mean wage|
|Level||Location quotient (3)||Hourly||Annual (4)|
First-Line supervisors of production and operating workers
Engine and other machine assemblers
Structural metal fabricators and fitters
Assemblers and fabricators, all other
Butchers and meat cutters
Computer-controlled machine tool operators, metal and plastic
Extruding and drawing 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
Lathe and turning machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic
Milling and planing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic
Metal-refining furnace operators and tenders
Pourers and casters, metal
Foundry mold and coremakers
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
Plating and coating machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic
Metal workers and plastic workers, all other
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
Tailors, dressmakers, and custom sewers
Textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators and tenders
Textile cutting machine setters, operators, and tenders
Textile knitting and weaving machine setters, operators, and tenders
Textile winding, twisting, and drawing out machine setters, operators, and tenders
Extruding and forming machine setters, operators, and tenders, synthetic and glass fibers
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
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
Grinding and polishing workers, hand
Mixing and blending machine setters, operators, and tenders
Cutting and slicing machine setters, operators, and tenders
Extruding, forming, pressing, and compacting machine setters, operators, and tenders
Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers
Dental laboratory technicians
Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders
Coating, painting, and spraying machine setters, operators, and tenders
Painters, transportation equipment
Photographic process workers and processing machine operators
Paper goods machine setters, operators, and tenders
Production workers, all other
Last Modified Date: Thursday, June 02, 2016