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News Release Information

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

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Occupational Employment and Wages in Erie – May 2019

Workers in the Erie, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $20.52 in May 2019, 20 percent below the nationwide average of $25.72, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that after testing for statistical significance, 18 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; architecture and engineering; and computer and mathematical.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Erie area employment was more highly concentrated in 5 of the 22 occupational groups, including production and healthcare support. Twelve groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including business and financial operations, management, 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 the Erie, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2019
Major occupational groupPercent of total employmentMean hourly wage
United StatesErieUnited StatesEriePercent 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*-10

  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*-17

  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 Erie, PA 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—production—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Erie had 14,040 jobs in production occupations, accounting for 11.4 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 6.2-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $17.30, significantly lower than the national wage of $19.30.

Miscellaneous assemblers and fabricators (1,800) and first-line supervisors of production and operating workers (1,010) were some of the larger occupations within the production group. Among the higher-paying jobs in this group were first-line supervisors of production and operating workers ($26.40) and tool and die makers ($23.39). At the lower end of the wage scale were helpers—production workers ($12.31) and laundry and dry-cleaning workers ($10.99). (Detailed data for transportation and material moving 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 Erie area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in several of the occupations within the production group. For instance, machinists were employed at 1.9 times the national rate in Erie, and computer numerically controlled tool operators at 6.7 times the national rate. On the other hand, helpers—production workers had a location quotient of 1.0 in Erie, 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 Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.

Changes to the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Data

With the May 2019 estimates, the OES program has begun implementing the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. Each set of OES estimates is calculated from six panels of survey data collected over three years. Because the May 2019 estimates are based on a combination of survey data collected using the 2010 SOC and survey data collected using the 2018 SOC, these estimates use a hybrid of the two classification systems that contains some combinations of occupations that are not found in either the 2010 or 2018 SOC. These combinations may include occupations from more than one 2018 SOC minor group or broad occupation. Therefore, OES will not publish data for some 2018 SOC minor groups and broad occupations in the May 2019 estimates. The May 2021 estimates, to be published in Spring 2022, will be the first OES estimates based entirely on survey data collected using the 2018 SOC.

In addition, the OES program has replaced some 2018 SOC detailed occupations with SOC broad occupations or OES-specific aggregations. These include home health aides and personal care aides, for which OES will publish only the 2018 SOC broad occupation 31-1120 Home Health and Personal Care Aides.

For more information on the occupational classification system used in the May 2019 OES estimates, please see and

The May 2019 OES estimates use the metropolitan area definitions delineated in Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Bulletin 17-01, which add a new Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) for Twin Falls, Idaho. For more information on the area definitions used in the May 2019 estimates, 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 the 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 1.1 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 2019 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2019, November 2018, May 2018, November 2017, May 2017, and November 2016. The unweighted sampled employment of 83 million across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 57 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 Erie Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,530 establishments with a response rate of 69 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 2019 OES estimates are the first set of OES estimates to be based in part on survey data collected using the 2018 SOC. These estimates use a hybrid of the 2010 and 2018 SOC systems. More information on the hybrid classification system is available at

The May 2019 OES estimates are based on the 2017 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). More 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 Erie, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Erie County in Pennsylvania.

Additional information

Answers to frequently asked questions about the OES data are available at Detailed technical information about the OES survey is available 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, Erie, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2019
Occupation (1)Employment (2)Mean wage
LevelLocation quotient (3)HourlyAnnual (4)

Production occupations


  First-line supervisors of production and operating workers


  Electrical, electronic, and electromechanical assemblers, except coil winders, tapers, and finishers


  Structural metal fabricators and fitters


  Miscellaneous assemblers and fabricators




  Butchers and meat cutters


  Food batchmakers


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


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


  Drilling and boring machine tool 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




  Pourers and casters, metal


  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


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


  Printing press operators


  Laundry and dry-cleaning workers


  Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters


  Sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood


  Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing


  Power plant 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


  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


  Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders


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


  Computer numerically controlled tool operators


  Computer numerically controlled tool programmers


  Adhesive bonding machine operators and tenders


  Cleaning, washing, and metal pickling equipment operators and tenders


  Molders, shapers, and casters, except metal and plastic


  Helpers--production workers


  Production workers, all other


(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Erie, PA 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: Wednesday, June 24, 2020