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News Release Information

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Contacts Technical information: Media contact:
  • (312) 353-1138

Occupational Employment and Wages in Kalamazoo-Portage — May 2022

Workers in the Kalamazoo-Portage, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $26.44 in May 2022, 11 percent below the nationwide average of $29.76, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Jason Palmer noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were lower than their respective national averages in 21 of the 22 major occupational groups, including legal; computer and mathematical; and arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Kalamazoo area employment was more highly concentrated in 6 of the 22 occupational groups, including production, architecture and engineering, and healthcare practitioners and technical. Twelve groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including computer and mathematical, business and financial operations, and office and administrative support. (See table A.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Kalamazoo metropolitan area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2022
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Kalamazoo United States Kalamazoo Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0 100.0 $29.76 $26.44* -11


6.7 6.5 63.08 54.17* -14

Business and financial operations

6.5 5.5* 41.39 36.26* -12

Computer and mathematical

3.4 1.7* 51.99 38.72* -26

Architecture and engineering

1.7 2.9* 45.52 38.25* -16

Life, physical, and social science

0.9 1.1* 40.21 36.98* -8

Community and social service

1.6 2.1* 26.81 24.11* -10


0.8 0.5* 59.87 42.45* -29

Educational instruction and library

5.7 5.1* 30.41 28.25* -7

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.4 1.2* 36.78 25.67* -30

Healthcare practitioners and technical

6.1 6.9* 46.52 42.87* -8

Healthcare support

4.6 4.7 17.10 16.41* -4

Protective service

2.3 1.5* 25.97 23.43* -10

Food preparation and serving related

8.5 8.9* 15.45 14.70* -5

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

2.9 2.7* 17.26 16.36* -5

Personal care and service

1.9 1.8* 17.41 16.21* -7

Sales and related

8.9 8.5* 24.22 22.54* -7

Office and administrative support

12.6 11.6* 21.90 20.55* -6

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.2* 18.21 18.54 2

Construction and extraction

4.1 3.8* 28.08 27.41* -2

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 3.9 26.77 25.00* -7


5.9 10.2* 21.81 20.88* -4

Transportation and material moving

9.2 9.0 21.12 19.33* -8

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in the Kalamazoo-Portage, MI 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. Kalamazoo had 14,140 jobs in production, accounting for 10.2 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 5.9-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $20.88, significantly below the national wage of $21.81.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the production group included miscellaneous assemblers and fabricators (2,870); inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers (1,420); and first-line supervisors of production and operating workers (1,090). Among the higher-paying jobs in this group were computer numerically controlled tool programmers with mean hourly wages of $27.10, tool and die makers ($27.08), and structural metal fabricators and fitters ($27.04). At the lower end of the wage scale were laundry and dry-cleaning workers ($14.03) and bakers ($14.85). (Detailed data for the production 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 than it does nationally. In the Kalamazoo area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the production group. For instance, chemical equipment operators and tenders were employed at 4.2 times the national rate in Kalamazoo, and molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic, at 4.0 times the U.S. average. Food batchmakers had a location quotient of 1.1 in Kalamazoo, indicating that this particular occupation’s local and national employment shares were similar.

These statistics are from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, a federal-state cooperative program between BLS and State Workforce Agencies, in this case, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

Changes to the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) Data

The May 2022 OEWS estimates use the model-based (MB3) estimation method implemented with the May 2021 estimates release. Additional updates were made to the MB3 wage processing methodology for May 2022. For more information, see the May 2022 Survey Methods and Reliability Statement.

The May 2022 estimates are the first OEWS estimates to be produced using the 2022 NAICS, which replaces the 2017 NAICS used for the May 2017-May 2021 estimates. See North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) at BLS for details.

Technical Note

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey is a semiannual survey measuring occupational employment and wage rates for wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments in the United States. The OEWS 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. OEWS data are available at

The OEWS 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. OEWS estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.1 million establishments. Each year, two semiannual panels of approximately 179,000 to 187,000 sampled establishments are contacted, one panel in May and the other in November. Responses are obtained by Internet or other electronic means, mail, email, telephone, or personal visit. The May 2022 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2022, November 2021, May 2021, November 2020, May 2020, and November 2019. The unweighted sampled employment of 80 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 65.4 percent based on establishments and 62.5 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The sample in the Kalamazoo-Portage, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,524 establishments with a response rate of 72 percent. For more information about OEWS 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 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.

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 Kalamazoo-Portage, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Kalamazoo County and Van Buren County.

For more information

Answers to frequently asked questions about the OEWS data are available at Detailed information about the OEWS program is available at

Information in this release will be made available to individuals with sensory impairments upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Telecommunications Relay Service: 7-1-1.

Table 1. Employment and wage data for production occupations, Kalamazoo metropolitan area, May 2022
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Production occupations

14,140 1.7 $20.88 $43,430

First-line supervisors of production and operating workers

1,090 1.8 31.10 64,690

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

100 0.4 19.50 40,570

Structural metal fabricators and fitters

90 1.6 27.04 56,240

Miscellaneous assemblers and fabricators

2,870 2.1 18.09 37,620


260 1.4 14.85 30,890

Butchers and meat cutters

130 1.1 17.65 36,720

Food batchmakers

170 1.1 18.68 38,840

Food processing workers, all other

30 0.8 18.01 37,460

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

450 2.7 19.10 39,730

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

100 1.4 19.86 41,300

Milling and planing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

60 4.3 16.93 35,220


790 2.7 21.79 45,320

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

630 4.0 17.96 37,360

Tool and die makers

130 2.2 27.08 56,320

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers

270 0.7 22.40 46,580

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

80 2.7 20.11 41,820

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

60 2.1 17.98 37,390

Printing press operators

170 1.2 21.89 45,540

Laundry and dry-cleaning workers

310 1.9 14.03 29,190

Sewing machine operators

70 0.7 16.47 34,270

Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators

50 0.5 25.11 52,220

Chemical equipment operators and tenders

460 4.2 23.50 48,880

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

80 1.6 19.67 40,920

Mixing and blending machine setters, operators, and tenders

150 1.5 21.34 44,390

Cutting and slicing machine setters, operators, and tenders

100 2.0 22.56 46,920

Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers

1,420 2.6 22.22 46,210

Medical appliance technicians

150 10.1 23.05 47,940

Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders

820 2.4 18.60 38,680

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

210 1.5 19.47 40,490

Computer numerically controlled tool operators

620 3.7 22.09 45,950

Computer numerically controlled tool programmers

70 2.5 27.10 56,360

Adhesive bonding machine operators and tenders

90 8.9 22.72 47,260

Molders, shapers, and casters, except metal and plastic

40 1.0 20.66 42,970

Paper goods machine setters, operators, and tenders

320 3.8 20.37 42,370

Helpers--production workers

200 1.1 17.15 35,670

Production workers, all other

240 1.0 17.39 36,160

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Kalamazoo-Portage, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area, see
(2) Estimates for detailed occupations may not sum to the totals due to rounding, and because the totals may include occupations that are 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.


Last Modified Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2023