Occupational Employment Statistics

July 2009

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Highlights:
Area focus - Elkhart-Goshen, IN

(PDF version)


At 17.5 percent, the May 2009 unemployment rate in Elkhart-Goshen, IN, was one of the highest in the United States, nearly twice the national unemployment rate of 9.1 percent.1 Elkhart-Goshen also had one of the largest over-the-year increases in its unemployment rate of any metropolitan area, with the jobless rate rising by 11.4 percentage points between May 2008 and May 2009. An area's economic structure, including industry and occupation mix, is one of many factors that can affect local unemployment. This highlight looks at the occupational composition of Elkhart-Goshen in May 2008, focusing on comparisons between the U.S. and local employment patterns in the period preceding the unemployment increase.

Employment Distribution in Elkhart-Goshen, IN, and the United States by Major Occupational Group, May 2008

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Chart 1 shows the distribution of employment by occupational major group in Elkhart-Goshen and the United States. The most notable feature of Elkhart-Goshen's occupational employment pattern is the extremely high percentage of production jobs. Over one-third (34 percent) of area employment was in production occupations; this was approximately 4.7 times the national employment share for this group, making Elkhart-Goshen the metropolitan area with the highest percentage of production occupations in the country. Other areas with high shares of production occupations included Dalton, GA (28 percent); Morristown, TN (23 percent); Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC (22 percent); and Columbus, IN (20 percent).

Workers in production occupations typically perform duties that are directly associated with manufacturing processes. Manufacturing industries accounted for over half (52 percent) of private sector employment in Elkhart-Goshen in May 2008, more than four times the national employment share in manufacturing of 12 percent. Aside from production occupations, only one other occupational group had an above-average employment share in Elkhart-Goshen: transportation and material moving occupations, which made up about 8.4 percent of local employment compared with 7.0 percent of national employment. Elkhart-Goshen had lower employment shares than the nation of all the remaining groups except construction and extraction occupations and installation, maintenance, and repair occupations, which had employment shares similar to the national average.

Computer and mathematical science occupations made up 2.4 percent of national employment, more than 4 times Elkhart-Goshen's employment share of 0.6 percent for this group, while life, physical, and social science occupations had a national employment share of 1.0 percent, more than 3 times the local employment share for this group. Business and financial operations; community and social services; legal; arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; healthcare support; protective service; personal care and service; and farming, fishing, and forestry occupations also had national employment shares that were two or more times the corresponding employment shares in Elkhart-Goshen.

Chart 2a shows detailed occupations for which Elkhart-Goshen had especially high employment concentrations relative to the U.S. average. Given the high share of production occupations in area employment, it is not surprising that all of the occupations shown in the chart are from the production group, with the exception of recreational vehicle service technicians from the installation, maintenance, and repair group. In addition to having employment shares above the U.S. average, Elkhart-Goshen had among the highest employment shares of any metropolitan area for all of the occupations shown in Chart 2a.

Occupations with high employment shares in Elkhart-Goshen, IN, relative to the United States

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With the exception of team assemblers and production workers, all other, which had local employment of 13,850 and 2,450, respectively, most of these occupations were relatively small in absolute terms, with local employment of less than 1,000 each. However, all of the occupations shown made up a much higher share of Elkhart-Goshen's employment than of national employment. For example, the share of fiberglass laminators and fabricators in local employment was 40 times the share of this occupation in national employment, while the local employment share of recreational vehicle service technicians was 23 times the corresponding national employment share.

Occupations with low employment shares in Elkhart-Goshen, IN, relative to the United States

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In contrast, Elkhart-Goshen had employment shares that were a fraction of the U.S. average for the occupations shown in chart 2b, including computer software engineers, applications; business operations specialists, all other; and amusement and recreation attendants. Although the occupations in chart 2b represent a variety of occupational groups, 6 of the 10 are business and financial operations or computer and mathematical science occupations. With the exception of amusement and recreation attendants and farmworkers and laborers, crop, nursery, and greenhouse, all of these occupations were relatively high paying, with national mean wages above the U.S. all-occupations mean.

The average wage in Elkhart-Goshen was $17.76 per hour or $36,940 annually, below the national mean wage of $20.32 per hour or $42,270 annually. Average wages for the area's most prevalent occupational group, production occupations, were higher in Elkhart-Goshen than in the U.S. as a whole: $16.36 per hour in Elkhart-Goshen compared with $15.54 nationally. However, average wages were below national levels for most of the remaining occupational groups, in some cases by a substantial amount. For example, legal occupations had average wages of $44.36 per hour nationally compared with $24.72 in Elkhart-Goshen, while computer and mathematical science occupations had average wages of $35.82 nationally and $26.28 in Elkhart-Goshen. Overall wage levels in Elkhart-Goshen were further affected by the area's occupational structure. Although local wages for production occupations were relatively high, wages for this group were still somewhat below the average for all occupations; as a result, Elkhart-Goshen's high concentration of production workers tended to have a downward effect on the local average wage. In addition, Elkhart-Goshen had low employment concentrations of the highest paying occupational groups, such as management, legal, computer and mathematical science, and architecture and engineering occupations.

Data on metropolitan area unemployment rates are from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program. Employment shares for manufacturing industries come from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages; May 2008 data are preliminary. Detailed occupational employment and wage data for 585 metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas, including Elkhart-Goshen, IN, are available from the OES web site.


1 Both the national and Elkhart-Goshen, IN, unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.

Last Modified Date: July 20, 2009

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