OCCUPATIONAL EMPLOYMENT AND WAGES IN PORTLAND-VANCOUVER-HILLSBORO
Workers in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $23.44 in May 2012, about 6 percent above the nationwide average of $22.01, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were significantly higher than their respective national averages in 12 of the 22 major occupational groups, including healthcare practitioners and technical, construction and extraction, and healthcare support. Five groups had significantly lower wages than their respective national averages, including legal; management; and arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media.
When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 8 of the 22 occupational groups, including architecture and engineering, management, and computer and mathematical. Conversely, eight groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including protective service, healthcare practitioners and technical, and healthcare support. (See table A and box note at end of release.)
|Major occupational group||Percent of total employment||Mean hourly wage|
|United States||Portland||United States||Portland||Percent difference (1)|
Total, all occupations
Business and financial operations
Computer and mathematical
Architecture and engineering
Life, physical, and social science
Community and social services
Education, training, and library
Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media
Healthcare practitioner and technical
Food preparation and serving related
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
One occupational grouparchitecture and engineeringwas chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro had 29,330 jobs in architecture and engineering, accounting for 2.9 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 1.8-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $37.86, compared to the national wage of $37.98.
With employment of 3,230, civil engineers was the largest occupation within the architecture and engineering group, followed by industrial engineers (3,010) and electrical and electronics engineering technicians (2,630). Among the higher paying jobs were electronics engineers (except computer), and industrial engineers, with mean hourly wages of $50.02 and $44.90, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were electro-mechanical technicians ($23.19) and architectural and civil drafters ($24.08). (Detailed occupational data for architecture and engineering are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to www.bls.gov/oes/2012/may/oes_38900.htm.)
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-Vancouver-Hillsboro Metropolitan Statistical Area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the architecture and engineering group. For instance, electrical and electronics engineering technicians were employed at 2.4 times the national rate in Portland, and electronics engineers (except computer), at 2.2 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, mechanical drafters had a location quotient of 1.2 in Portland, indicating that this particular occupations 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 Oregon Employment Department.
With the release of the May 2012 estimates, OES data are based on the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system for the first time. The OES survey provides estimates of employment and hourly and annual wages for wage and salary workers in 22 major occupational groups and more than 800 detailed occupations for the nation, states, metropolitan statistical areas, metropolitan divisions, and nonmetropolitan areas. In addition, employment and wage estimates for 94 minor groups and 458 broad occupations are available in the national data for the first time. Information about the 2010 SOC is available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/soc.
The May 2012 OES estimates are the first to be produced using the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Information about the 2012 NAICS is available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/bls/naics.htm .
OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Portland metropolitan statistical area were compared to their respective national averages based on statistical significance testing. Only those occupations with wages or employment shares above or below the national wage or share after testing for significance at the 90-percent confidence level meet the criteria.
NOTE: 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.
The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey is a semiannual mail survey measuring occupational employment and wage rates for wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments in the United States. Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands are also surveyed, but their data are not included in the national estimates. OES estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.2 million establishments. Forms are mailed to approximately 200,000 sampled establishments in May and November each year for a 3-year period. May 2012 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected in May 2012, November 2011, May 2011, November 2010, May 2010, and November 2009. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 76.6 percent based on establishments and 72.9 percent based on employment. The sample in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro Metropolitan Statistical Area included 7,271 establishments with a response rate of 73 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.
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-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore. Metropolitan Statistical Area  includes Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington, and Yamhill Counties of Oregon and Clark and Skamania Counties of Washington.
OES data are available on our regional web page at www.bls.gov/ro9/home.htm. Answers to frequently asked questions about the OES data are available at www.bls.gov/oes/oes_ques.htm. Detailed technical information about the OES survey is available in our Survey Methods and Reliability Statement on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/oes/2012/may/methods_statement.pdf. Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.
|Occupation (1)||Employment||Mean wages|
|Level (2)||Location quotient (3)||Hourly||Annual(4)|
Architecture and Engineering Occupations
Architects, Except Landscape and Naval
Cartographers and Photogrammetrists
Electronics Engineers, Except Computer
Health and Safety Engineers, Except Mining Safety Engineers and Inspectors
Engineers, All Other
Architectural and Civil Drafters
Electrical and Electronics Drafters
Drafters, All Other
Civil Engineering Technicians
Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians
Environmental Engineering Technicians
Mechanical Engineering Technicians
Engineering Technicians, Except Drafters, All Other
Surveying and Mapping Technicians
Last Modified Date: May 30, 2013