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News Release Information

Friday, June 28, 2024

Contacts Technical information: Media contact:
  • (617) 565-4141

Occupational Employment and Wages in Portland-South Portland, Maine — May 2023

Workers in the Portland-South Portland, ME Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $30.80 in May 2023, compared to the nationwide average of $31.48, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner William J. Sibley noted that higher paying major occupational groups included management ($60.02), legal ($48.93), and healthcare practitioners and technical ($46.99). Lower paying occupations included healthcare support ($19.73), personal care and service ($19.75), and building and grounds cleaning and maintenance ($20.00). (See table A.)

Occupational groups with the highest employment in the Portland area included office and administrative support (12.7 percent), sales and related (9.3 percent), and food preparation and serving related (8.8 percent). Major occupational groups on the lower end of local employment included legal (0.7 percent); life, physical, and social science (1.0 percent); and arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media (1.4 percent).

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Portland metropolitan area, May 2023
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage ($)
United States Portland United States Portland

Total, all occupations

100.0 100.0 31.48 30.80


6.9 8.0 66.23 60.02

Business and financial operations

6.6 6.4 43.55 42.19

Computer and mathematical

3.4 3.3 54.39 45.75

Architecture and engineering

1.7 1.6 47.64 42.88

Life, physical, and social science

0.9 1.0 42.24 38.55

Community and social service

1.6 2.0 28.36 26.84


0.8 0.7 64.34 48.93

Educational instruction and library

5.8 5.6 31.92 30.46

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.4 1.4 36.31 28.57

Healthcare practitioners and technical

6.1 6.7 49.07 46.99

Healthcare support

4.7 5.4 18.37 19.73

Protective service

2.3 1.8 27.74 25.94

Food preparation and serving related

8.7 8.8 16.58 20.07

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

2.9 3.5 18.43 20.00

Personal care and service

2.0 2.3 18.48 19.75

Sales and related

8.8 9.3 25.62 25.33

Office and administrative support

12.2 12.7 23.05 23.38

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1 19.22 22.87

Construction and extraction

4.1 4.0 29.57 28.27

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 3.7 28.13 27.82


5.8 4.9 22.90 23.14

Transportation and material moving

9.1 6.7 22.45 22.03

One occupational group—food preparation and serving related—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Portland had 18,260 jobs in food preparation and serving related, accounting for 8.8 percent of local area employment, compared to the 8.7-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $20.07, compared to the national wage of $16.58.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the food preparation and serving related group included fast food and counter workers (4,560), waiters and waitresses (3,490), and restaurant cooks (2,130). Among the higher-paying jobs in this group were chefs and head cooks and bartenders, with mean hourly wages of $29.61 and $24.02, respectively. (See chart 1.) At the lower end of the wage scale were dishwashers ($16.30) and fast food and counter workers ($16.60). (Detailed data for the food preparation and serving related 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 Portland area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in some of the occupations within the food preparation and serving related group. For instance, chefs and head cooks were employed at 1.6 times the national rate in Portland, and food preparation workers, at 1.5 times the U.S. average. Dishwashers had a location quotient of 1.0 in Portland, indicating that this particular occupation’s local and national employment shares were similar.

The statistics in this release are from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, a cooperative effort between BLS and the State Workforce Agencies (SWAs). BLS funds the survey and provides the procedures and technical support. State Workforce Agencies collect most of the data: in this case, the Maine Department of Labor.

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. Full OEWS data tables are available online.

Additional information about the OEWS estimates and methodology are available in the national Technical Notes. The overall national response rate for the six panels, based on the 50 states and the District of Columbia, is 65.8 percent based on establishments and 64.3 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The sample in the Portland-South Portland, ME Metropolitan Statistical Area included 2,341 establishments with a response rate of 67 percent.

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 Portland-South Portland, ME Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Arundel town, Baldwin town, Biddeford city, Buxton town, Cape Elizabeth town, Casco town, Chebeaque Island, Cornish town, Cumberland town, Dayton town, Durham town, Falmouth town, Freeport town, Frye Island, Gorham town, Gray town, Hollis town, Kennebunk town, Kennebunkport town, Limerick town, Limington town, Long Island town, Lyman town, Naples town, New Gloucester town, North Yarmouth town, Old Orchard Beach town, Portland city, Pownal town, Raymond town, Saco city, Scarborough town, Sebago town, South Portland city, Standish town, Waterboro town, Westbrook city, Windham town, and Yarmouth town.

For more information

Answers to frequently asked questions about the OEWS data, as well as general program documentation, are available on the OEWS website.

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 food preparation and serving related occupations, Portland metropolitan area, May 2023
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages ($)
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Food preparation and serving related occupations

18,260 1.0 20.07 41,740

Chefs and head cooks

380 1.6 29.61 61,590

First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers

1,520 1.0 23.46 48,790

Cooks, fast food

540 0.6 17.69 36,780

Cooks, institution and cafeteria

560 0.9 19.74 41,050

Cooks, restaurant

2,130 1.1 20.46 42,550

Cooks, short order

220 1.3 20.40 42,440

Food preparation workers

1,750 1.5 17.29 35,960


1,190 1.2 24.02 49,970

Fast food and counter workers

4,560 0.9 16.60 34,530

Waiters and waitresses

3,490 1.1 23.53 48,950

Food servers, nonrestaurant

240 0.7 17.02 35,400

Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers

510 0.8 19.22 39,980


640 1.0 16.30 33,900

Hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge, and coffee shop

520 0.9 18.53 38,540

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Portland-South Portland, ME 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: Friday, June 28, 2024