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Supply Chain News: How Do Manufacturing Wages Vary across the US?

 

With a Few Exceptions, Wages Generally Low, in a Tight Band across Metro Areas

Feb. 28, 2018
SCDigest Editorial Staff

How do manufacturing wages compare across the US?

That is certainly an important question, as wage levels are key both to decisions about whether to offshore production versus make in the US, and then for US manufacturers in which area of the country they should produce.

Supply Chain Digest Says...

The pay levels for plant managers are much more dependent on the size of facilities than the other three jobs, and some metro areas may have a larger percentage of smaller facilities than other areas.


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Well, human resource and staffing firm Randstad USA has the answers to this question, recently releasing its annual wage guide for manufacturing, detailing wage rates for literally dozens of production jobs across virtually every major and a large number of secondary markets in the US.

Our reaction? With the exception of a couple of outliers, notably San Fransciso, wages across the country are grouped in a pretty narrow band, regardless of metro area.

 

We looked at wage rates for four positions (general manufacturing worker, machinist, welder and plant manager) for 25 cities covered in the Randstad report, using the median wage rate for each (versus a low and high wage also provided).

 

The highest median hourly wage for a general manufacturing worker in the 25 areas we evaluated was $17.87 in San Franciso. That was only 31% above the lowest median wage, $13.58 in Oklahoma City.

 

In absolute terms, the difference is only $4.19. The $13.58 wage in Oklahoma city is only about 14% below the median wage in the group of $15.70.

 

Second, the difference across positions in the study data between the mediam wage and the low and high rates was generally just something like $1.50 per hour in each direction, less than we expected.

 

Third, while every city is looking for more manufacturing activity, wages are generally low, again roughly $14 to $17 per hour anywhere in the country.

 

Finally, we're also not sure where the $100,000 skilled manufacturing jobs often cited in the press are. The top median hourly wage for welders is about $28 dollars per hour in San Francisco, or roughly $56,000 per year, with the median wage for welders at $23 and change.

 

Here is the Randstad data for the four positions cited above across 25 US metro areas, starting with general manufacturing jobs, sorted from low to high wages:

 

 

Manufacturing Worker
City  Median Hourly Wage
Oklahoma City $13.58
Huntsville, AL $14.14
Omaha $14.49
Des Moines $14.55
Atlanta $14.65
Jacksonville, FL $14.70
Louisville, KY $14.72
Charlotte $14.76
Phoenix $14.84
Indianapolis $14.93
Buffalo $15.30
Cincinnati $15.37
Irvine, CA $15.70
Las Vegas $15.70
St. Louis $15.72
Milwaukee $15.76
Chicago $16.05
Denver $16.09
South Plainfield, NJ $16.22
Minneapolis $16.36
Livonia, MI $16.50
Baltimore $16.60
Philadelpha $16.71
Boston $17.58
San Francisco $17.87

 

Next, we look at general machinist wages:

 

General Machinist
City  Median Hourly Wage
Oklahoma City $21.27
Omaha $22.57
Des Moines $22.70
Huntsville, AL $22.80
Jacksonville, FL $22.96
Phoenix $23.23
Atlanta $23.26
Indianapolis $23.33
Louisville, KY $23.45
Charlotte $23.63
Cincinnati $23.88
Buffalo $24.27
St. Louis $24.39
Las Vegas $24.71
Milwaukee $24.71
Denver $24.80
Irvine, CA $24.99
Chicago $25.48
Minneapolis $25.62
Philadelpha $26.08
South Plainfield, NJ $26.24
Baltimore $26.38
Livonia, MI $26.53
Boston $27.91
San Francisco $29.37



(Article Continued Below)

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Next we present data on wages for welding positions, which again were lower than SCDigest expected:

Welders
City  Median Hourly Wage
Oklahoma City $20.50
Omaha $21.79
Huntsville, AL $21.91
Des Moines $21.92
Jacksonville, FL $22.13
Atlanta $22.38
Phoenix $22.44
Indianapolis $22.47
Louisville, KY $22.61
Charlotte $22.73
Cincinnati $23.01
Buffalo $23.42
St. Louis $23.52
Las Vegas $23.78
Milwaukee $23.80
Denver $23.93
Irvine, CA $24.07
Chicago $24.53
Minneapolis $24.71
Philadelpha $25.10
South Plainfield, NJ $25.25
Baltimore $25.41
Livonia, MI $25.54
Boston $26.90
San Francisco $28.32

 

 

Finally, we look at wages for plant managers. There is quite a range here, but that should not be surprising. The pay levels for plant managers are much more dependent on the size of facilities than the other three jobs, and some metro areas may have a larger percentage of smaller facilities than other areas that trend towards a higher mix of large facilities.

 

Plant Managers
City  Median Hourly Wage
Oklahoma City $56.39
Louisville, KY $58.97
Des Moines $60.50
Indianapolis $60.85
Omaha $61.90
Phoenix $62.37
St. Louis $62.39
Las Vegas $62.96
Cincinnati $63.39
Buffalo $63.83
Milwaukee $64.98
Jacksonville, FL $65.02
Minneapolis $66.37
Chicago $66.46
Atlanta $66.59
Livonia, MI $66.96
Charlotte $67.78
Denver $69.60
Philadelpha $71.60
Irvine, CA $71.72
Baltimore $72.88
Boston $73.40
Huntsville, AL $74.79
South Plainfield, NJ $75.92
San Francisco $80.31

 

The full report has an amazing amount of detailed data far beyond what we summarized in the article. It can be accessed here with registration: Randstad 2018 Manufacturing Wage Report


What do you you think of this data on manufacturing wages? Anything surprise you? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.

 

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