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Workers in P.R.’s metro area earned 42% less an hour vs. U.S. counterparts

Workers in the San Juan-Carolina-Caguas Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $14.61 in May 2018, about 42% below the United States average of $24.98, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday.

Chief Regional Economist Martin Kohli noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were lower than their respective U.S. averages in all of the 22 major occupational groups. 

When compared to the U.S. distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in seven of the 22 occupational groups, including protective service; office and administrative support; and building and grounds cleaning and maintenance.

Conversely, 14 groups had employment shares significantly below their U.S. representation, including personal care and service; transportation and material movement; and healthcare support, the agency said.

One occupational group — protective service — was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories.

San Juan-Carolina-Caguas had 50,700 jobs in protective service, accounting for 7.9% of local area employment, significantly higher than the 2.4% share in the United States.

The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $12.11, significantly below the U.S. wage of $23.36, the agency noted.

Some of the largest detailed occupations within the protective service group included security guards (24,610), police and sheriff’s patrol officers (12,790), and first-line supervisors of police and detectives (2,650.)

Among the higher-paying jobs in this group were detectives and criminal investigators and first-line supervisors of police and detectives, with mean hourly wages of $30.55 and $18.41, respectively.

At the lower end of the wage scale were security guards ($8.77) and gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators ($10.19.)

“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 U.S. average,” the agency said in a release.

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 in the United States.

“In the San Juan-Carolina-Caguas Metropolitan Statistical Area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the protective service group,” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

For instance, bailiffs were employed at 10.1 times the U.S. rate in San Juan, and first-line supervisors of police and detectives, at 5.1 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, firefighters had a location quotient of 1.1 in San Juan, indicating that this particular occupation’s local and U.S. employment shares were similar.

The statistics are from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, a federal-state cooperative program between BLS and State Workforce Agencies, in this case, the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

1 Comment

  1. Richard R. Tryon June 28, 2019

    U.S. statistics gathered by Washington sources are dealing with vast regional differences.


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