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News Release Information

Thursday, June 20, 2019


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Occupational Employment and Wages in Pittsburgh – May 2018

Workers in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $24.07 in May 2018, 4 percent below the nationwide average of $24.98, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that after testing for statistical significance, 14 of the 22 major occupational groups had average wages in the local area that were significantly lower than their respective national averages, including arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; healthcare practitioners and technical; and life, physical, and social science. Three other occupational groups had average wages that were measurably higher than their respective national averages: education, training, and library; production; and construction and extraction.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment shares were significantly higher in 8 of the 22 occupational groups, including healthcare practitioners and technical, personal care and service, and office and administrative support. Conversely, 11 occupational groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation; these groups included production; management; and education, training, and library. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2018
Major occupational groupPercent of total employmentMean hourly wage
United StatesPittsburghUnited StatesPittsburghPercent 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


  Healthcare support


  Protective service


  Food preparation and serving related*-5

  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) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.

* The mean hourly wage or percent share of employment is significantly different from the national average of all areas at the 90-percent confidence level.

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 52,210 jobs in construction and extraction occupations, accounting for 4.6 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 4.1-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $25.97, which was significantly above the national average of $24.62.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the construction and extraction group included construction laborers (9,540), carpenters (6,560), and operating engineers and other construction equipment operators (4,930). Among the higher-paying jobs in this group were first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers ($35.23) and electricians ($33.76). At the lower end of the wage scale were oil and gas roustabouts and electrician helpers, with mean hourly wages of $15.43 and $14.91, respectively. (Detailed data for construction and extraction occupations 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 Pittsburgh area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in several of the occupations within the construction and extraction group. For instance, highway maintenance workers were employed at 2.2 times the national rate in Pittsburgh, and oil, gas, and mining service unit operators were employed at 4.3 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters 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.

Area Changes to the May 2018 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

OES continues to publish data for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas that cover the full geography of the United States. However, the level of detail available has decreased.

OES no longer publishes data for metropolitan divisions. Data for the 11 large metropolitan areas that contain divisions are now available at the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) or New England City and Town Area (NECTA) level only.

In addition, some smaller nonmetropolitan areas have been combined to form larger nonmetropolitan areas. The May 2018 OES estimates contain data for 134 nonmetropolitan areas, compared with 167 nonmetropolitan areas in the May 2017 estimates.

More information on these changes is available at

Implementing the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) System

The OES program plans to begin implementing the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system with the May 2019 estimates, to be released by early April of 2020. Because each set of OES estimates is produced by combining three years of survey data, estimates for May 2019 and May 2020 will be based on a combination of survey data collected under the 2010 SOC and data collected under the 2018 SOC, and will use a hybrid of the two classification systems. The May 2021 OES estimates, to be released by early April of 2022, will be the first set of estimates based fully on the 2018 SOC. For more information, please see

Technical Note

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey is a semiannual survey measuring occupational employment and wage rates for wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments in the United States. The OES data available from BLS include cross-industry occupational employment and wage estimates for the nation; over 580 areas, including states and the District of Columbia, metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), nonmetropolitan areas, and territories; national industry-specific estimates at the NAICS sector, 3-digit, most 4-digit, and selected 5- and 6-digit industry levels; and national estimates by ownership across all industries and for schools and hospitals. OES data are available at

The OES survey is a cooperative effort between BLS and State Workforce Agencies (SWAs). BLS funds the survey and provides the procedures and technical support, while the State Workforce Agencies collect most of the data. OES estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.2 million establishments. Each year, two semiannual panels of approximately 180,000 to 200,000 sampled establishments are contacted, one panel in May and the other in November. Responses are obtained by mail, Internet or other electronic means, email, telephone, or personal visit. The May 2018 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2018, November 2017, May 2017, November 2016, May 2016, and November 2015. The unweighted sample employment of 83 million across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 58 percent of total national employment. The overall national response rate for the six panels, based on the 50 states and the District of Columbia, is 71 percent based on establishments and 68 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The sample in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area included 5,735 establishments with a response rate of 66 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

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 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 May 2018 OES estimates are based on the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system and the 2017 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Information about the 2010 SOC is available on the BLS website at and information about the 2017 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 Pittsburgh, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland 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: (800) 877-8339.

Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2018
Occupation (1)Employment (2)Mean wage
LevelLocation quotient (3)HourlyAnnual (4)

Construction and extraction occupations


  First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers


  Brickmasons and blockmasons




  Carpet installers


  Tile and marble setters


  Cement masons and concrete finishers


  Construction laborers


  Paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators


  Pile-driver operators


  Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators


  Drywall and ceiling tile installers








  Insulation workers, floor, ceiling, and wall


  Painters, construction and maintenance






  Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters


  Plasterers and stucco masons




  Sheet metal workers


  Structural iron and steel workers


  Helpers--brickmasons, blockmasons, stonemasons, and tile and marble setters






  Helpers--pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters




  Helpers, construction trades, all other


  Construction and building inspectors


  Hazardous materials removal workers


  Highway maintenance workers


  Septic tank servicers and sewer pipe cleaners


  Miscellaneous construction and related workers


  Rotary drill operators, oil and gas


  Service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining


  Earth drillers, except oil and gas


  Roustabouts, oil and gas


  Helpers--extraction workers


(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Pittsburgh 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) Estimates not released.


Last Modified Date: Thursday, June 20, 2019