MAHONING VALLEY Labor survey indicates a rise in average wage



Business managers and teachers topped the hourly pay list.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Workers in the Mahoning Valley earned an average of $16.90 an hour, 9 cents lower than the national average, a new survey says.
Business managers and teachers both topped $30 an hour to lead all earners.
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics issued the report Tuesday after surveying 108 employers workers in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties. The report covers what employees made during April 2002.
Ronald Guzicki, an economist with the bureau, warned that the averages are not precise. That is because only slightly more than half of the companies asked to participate in the voluntary survey sent in the information. The companies did not submit the information for a variety of reasons, he said, including they didn't have time or staff to compile it.
"Fifty-percent response is bad; we usually get 75 to 80 percent," Guzicki said.
The National Compensation Survey presents straight-time earnings for all occupations at employers with 50 or more workers in private industry and state and local governments. Agricultural businesses, self-employed workers and federal agencies are not included.
The numbers
The Valley's average wage was up from $16.17 an hour in the survey taken in 2001.
But it is lower than the national average of $16.99 an hour, and is the lowest of the five metropolitan areas in Ohio surveyed by the bureau. The four other areas surveyed by the bureau in Ohio are Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton.
While white-collar and service industry workers in the Valley make less than the national average, and lower than the other four areas surveyed in Ohio, its blue-collar workers are the highest paid among the five Ohio areas, and well above the national average of $14.39 an hour.
In the 2002 survey, both white-collar and blue-collar averages were higher than the overall average of $16.90.
White-collar jobs paid an average of $18.78 and accounted for 37 percent of the area's jobs. Nationally, white-collar workers earn $20.75 an hour.
Business managers topped the category at $35.21 an hour. High school teachers earned an hourly average of $30.87; elementary teachers averaged $30.35 an hour.
Blue-collar jobs paid an average of $17.81 an hour and accounted for 44 percent of the work force.
"Youngstown is a blue-collar town," Guzicki said. "The 44 percent figure is on the high end of the areas we survey."
Production supervisors led the category with an average wage of $24.61 an hour, followed by industrial machinery repairers at $24.55 an hour.
Union blue-collar workers averaged $20.48 an hour; nonunion workers made $12.18 an hour.
Private-industry workers at companies with between 50 and 99 employees averaged $12.89 an hour; those at companies with at least 500 workers earned $21.31 an hour.
Service workers, compared to the blue-collar and white-collar categories, had the lowest hourly average wage at $10.24.

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