REGION Study: Area blue-collar wages top those in Columbus

Employees of large companies, full-timers and union members earned more.
The Youngstown-Warren area has at least one thing over the state capital -- blue-collar workers here earn substantially more than their counterparts in Columbus, according to a new wage study.
Blue-collar workers earn $18.15 an hour in the Mahoning Valley, on average, compared with Columbus blue collars' average of $14.33.
That's the only substantial wage difference between the two communities, said Norma Malcolm, an economist with the national Bureau of Labor Statistics which released its annual wage survey for the area Friday.
Youngstown-Warren white-collar workers earn an average $18.94, while Columbus white collars take home $20.83; service workers here average $10.39, compared with $11.41 in the capital.
The average wage for all workers here is $17.11; it's $17.68 in the Columbus metro area.
Amount covered
Those differences are not significant, Malcolm said, when the survey's margins of error are considered. The study covered 201 companies representing 110,800 workers in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.
The difference in blue-collar wage rates could be partially related to a larger number of union employees in the Youngstown-Warren area compared with Columbus, Malcolm said. She couldn't be sure, however, because she had not completed a comparative study of the two surveys.
The studies of Youngstown-Warren and Columbus are comparable because they were both done in April, Malcolm said. Studies done in other months are not considered comparable.
Wages for the Youngstown-Warren area haven't changed much overall from a year ago, based on the study -- the average for all categories is just 21 cents higher than 2002's $16.90.
White-collar jobs paid an average $18.38 in 2002, blue-collar jobs averaged $17.81 and service workers' wages averaged $10.24.
Work-force percentages
White-collar workers and blue-collar workers each make up about 40 percent of this region's work force, the study says, and the remaining 20 percent are in service occupations.
Union workers in blue-collar jobs earned $21.98, on average, substantially more than their nonunion counterparts at $11.66.
Employees of larger businesses with 500 or more employees averaged $23.12 an hour, while counterparts at smaller businesses with between 50 and 99 employees averaged $12.72.
Full-time workers' earned an average $17.87 per hour, much more than part-timers' average $9.61 hourly wage.
Malcolm said the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics conducts the compensation surveys annually to help the federal government keep its wages competitive with the private sector. Survey results are available online at