In recognition of “Manufacturing Day” events across the U.S. on Oct. 2, the Commerce Department released a new report drawing on evidence from 10 federal data sets showing that a pay premium exists for workers in manufacturing industries.
Utilizing numerous federal data sets, the report by the Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration’s Office of the Chief Economist rebuts criticisms about the existence of higher pay jobs for manufacturing workers by calculating and comparing the average pay of manufacturing workers and the average pay of workers overall.
The datasets include the American Community Survey, the Current Population Survey, the Economic Census, and seven others published by the Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, or Bureau of Labor Statistics. Based on the evidence, Commerce Department officials said, the study clearly demonstrates that manufacturing jobs pay better than jobs in other sectors, with earnings up to 32% higher. (Link here for a PDF copy of the report.)
The report highlights these key findings:
• Based on hourly wages and salaries, manufacturing workers earn from 2% to 9% more on average than the overall average worker.
• When hours worked in a week or over the course of a year are taken into consideration, the estimated premium increases. Estimated premiums using weekly or annual pay data are as high as 32%. This larger premium is because manufacturing employees work more hours per week and per year on average.
• New hires and the existing workforce enjoy a pay premium in the manufacturing sector, with new hires earning a larger premium than other workers.
• The size of the premium also varies greatly depending on the occupation. For some occupations, manufacturing workers earn less than workers overall. At the other extreme, manufacturing workers in sales occupations earn 64% more than their counterparts in non-manufacturing sales occupations throughout the economy.
Recently, the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) conducted other data-driven research on the manufacturing sector. In “Taking the High Road,” OCE adds to the understanding of wage variation across manufacturing by taking a deeper look at the variation of wages in establishments within manufacturing industries. OCE’s “What is Made in America?” report examines how to measure what is made in America, and a series of manufacturing industry profiles takes a broad look at the final output of U.S. manufacturers, their workers, and their geographic dispersion.