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News Release Information

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

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  • (312) 353-1138

Occupational Employment and Wages in Chicago-Naperville-Elgin — May 2021

Workers in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $29.74 in May 2021, 6 percent above the nationwide average of $28.01, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Jason Palmer noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were higher than their respective national averages in 12 of the 22 major occupational groups, including construction and extraction, protective service, and management.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Chicago area employment was more highly concentrated in 7 of the 22 occupational groups, including transportation and material moving, management, and production. Ten groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including construction and extraction, food preparation and serving related, and healthcare support. (See table A.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Chicago metropolitan area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2021
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Chicago United States Chicago Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0 100.0 $28.01 $29.74* 6


6.3 8.0* 59.31 62.00* 5

Business and financial operations

6.4 6.9* 39.72 41.93* 6

Computer and mathematical

3.3 3.1* 48.01 45.97* -4

Architecture and engineering

1.7 1.3* 44.10 43.41 -2

Life, physical, and social science

0.9 0.8* 38.81 40.55 4

Community and social service

1.6 1.5* 25.94 26.34 2


0.8 1.0* 54.38 57.93 7

Educational instruction and library

5.8 6.0* 29.88 30.20 1

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 1.3 31.78 29.61* -7

Healthcare practitioners and technical

6.2 6.1 43.80 42.98 -2

Healthcare support

4.7 4.1* 16.02 16.64* 4

Protective service

2.4 2.5* 25.68 29.41* 15

Food preparation and serving related

8.0 7.1* 14.16 14.12 0

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

2.9 2.9 16.23 16.91* 4

Personal care and service

1.8 1.8 16.17 17.79* 10

Sales and related

9.4 9.0* 22.15 23.10* 4

Office and administrative support

13.0 13.2 20.88 22.05* 6

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1* 16.70 17.53 5

Construction and extraction

4.2 3.0* 26.87 35.84* 33

Installation, maintenance, and repair

4.0 3.4* 25.66 27.50* 7


6.0 6.4* 20.71 21.31* 3

Transportation and material moving

9.0 10.8* 19.88 20.86* 5

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.
* The mean hourly wage or percent share of employment is significantly different from the national average of all areas at the 90-percent confidence level.

One occupational group—transportation and material moving—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Chicago had 455,970 jobs in transportation and material moving, accounting for 10.8 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 9.0-percent share nationally. The average annual wage for this occupational group locally was $43,380.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the transportation and material moving group included laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand (152,330); stockers and order fillers (64,730); and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (54,600). Among the higher-paying jobs in this group were airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers; and air traffic controllers, with mean annual wages of $195,020 and $158,210, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were cleaners of vehicles and equipment ($31,130). (Detailed data for the transportation and material moving occupations are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to

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 national average. (See table 1.) 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 nationally. In the Chicago area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in some of the occupations within the transportation and material moving group. For instance, flight attendants were employed at 2.8 times the national rate in Chicago, and airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers, at 2.3 times the U.S. average. Both driver/sales workers and industrial tuck and tractor operators had a location quotient of 1.0 in Chicago, indicating that these particular occupations’ local and national employment shares were similar.

These statistics are from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, a federal-state cooperative program between BLS and State Workforce Agencies, in this case, the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

Changes to the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) Data

With the May 2021 estimates release, the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program has implemented a new model-based (MB3) estimation method. For more information, see the May 2021 Survey Methods and Reliability Statement at and the Monthly Labor Review article at OEWS estimates for the years 2015-19 were recalculated using the new estimation method and are available as research estimates at

The May 2021 OEWS estimates are also the first estimates based entirely on survey data collected using the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. To improve data quality, the OEWS program aggregates some occupations to the SOC broad occupation level or as OEWS-specific combinations of 2018 SOC detailed occupations.

Technical Note

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey is a semiannual survey measuring occupational employment and wage rates for wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments in the United States. The OEWS data available from BLS include cross-industry occupational employment and wage estimates for the nation; over 580 areas, including states and the District of Columbia, metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), nonmetropolitan areas, and territories; national industry-specific estimates at the NAICS sector, 3-digit, most 4-digit, and selected 5- and 6-digit industry levels, and national estimates by ownership across all industries and for schools and hospitals. OEWS data are available at

The OEWS survey is a cooperative effort between BLS and the State Workforce Agencies (SWAs). BLS funds the survey and provides the procedures and technical support, while the State Workforce Agencies collect most of the data. OEWS estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.1 million establishments. Each year, two semiannual panels of approximately 179,000 to 187,000 sampled establishments are contacted, one panel in May and the other in November. Responses are obtained by Internet or other electronic means, mail, email, telephone, or personal visit. The May 2021 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2021, November 2020, May 2020, November 2019, May 2019, and November 2018. The unweighted sampled employment of 82 million across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 62 percent of total national employment. The overall national response rate for the six panels, based on the 50 states and the District of Columbia, is 67.2 percent based on establishments and 64.5 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The sample in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area included 14,912 establishments with a response rate of 58 percent. For more information about OEWS concepts and methodology, go to

A value that is statistically different from another does not necessarily mean that the difference has economic or practical significance. Statistical significance is concerned with the ability to make confident statements about a universe based on a sample. It is entirely possible that a large difference between two values is not significantly different statistically, while a small difference is, since both the size and heterogeneity of the sample affect the relative error of the data being tested.

Metropolitan area definitions

The substate area data published in this release reflect the standards and definitions established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

The Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Cook County, IL; DeKalb County, IL; DuPage County, IL; Grundy County, IL; Kane County, IL; Kendall County, IL; Lake County, IL; McHenry County, IL; Will County, IL; Jasper County, IN; Lake County, IN; Newton County, IN; Porter County, IN; and Kenosha County, WI.

For more information

Answers to frequently asked questions about the OEWS data are available at Detailed information about the OEWS program is available at

Information in this release will be made available to individuals with sensory impairments upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Telecommunications Relay Service: 7-1-1.

Table 1. Employment and wage data for transportation and material moving occupations, Chicago metropolitan area, May 2021
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Transportation and material moving occupations

455,970 1.2 $20.86 $43,380

Aircraft cargo handling supervisors

550 2.1 30.64 63,720

First-line supervisors of transportation and material moving workers, except aircraft cargo handling supervisors

13,870 0.8 29.45 61,250

Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers

5,540 2.3 (6) 195,020

Commercial pilots

520 0.4 (6) 95,030

Air traffic controllers

720 1.1 76.06 158,210

Airfield operations specialists

200 0.5 32.64 67,890

Flight attendants

8,100 2.8 (6) 56,730

Ambulance drivers and attendants, except emergency medical technicians

500 1.4 14.54 30,250

Driver/sales workers

14,760 1.0 14.48 30,120

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

54,600 1.0 27.33 56,840

Light truck drivers

40,680 1.3 23.12 48,090

Bus drivers, school

8,960 0.8 21.53 44,790

Bus drivers, transit and intercity

8,280 1.9 27.01 56,180

Shuttle drivers and chauffeurs

2,620 0.5 15.65 32,560

Taxi drivers

(5) (5) 13.41 27,880

Motor vehicle operators, all other

840 0.6 22.52 46,840

Railroad brake, signal, and switch operators and locomotive firers

460 0.9 33.14 68,920

Sailors and marine oilers

280 0.3 28.17 58,600

Captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels

420 0.4 42.12 87,610

Ship engineers

90 0.4 44.96 93,520

Bridge and lock tenders

120 1.0 31.05 64,590

Parking attendants

1,810 0.7 16.78 34,910

Automotive and watercraft service attendants

1,870 0.6 15.49 32,210

Traffic technicians

(5) (5) 21.75 45,240

Transportation inspectors

340 0.5 41.49 86,300

Passenger attendants

70 0.1 16.42 34,160

Transportation workers, all other

340 0.8 18.69 38,880

Conveyor operators and tenders

810 0.9 19.10 39,730

Crane and tower operators

1,600 1.2 30.12 62,650

Industrial truck and tractor operators

23,690 1.0 21.29 44,280

Cleaners of vehicles and equipment

9,830 0.9 14.97 31,130

Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand

152,330 1.9 17.10 35,570

Machine feeders and offbearers

(5) (5) 20.39 42,410

Packers and packagers, hand

29,790 1.7 15.21 31,640

Stockers and order fillers

64,730 0.9 16.35 34,010

Refuse and recyclable material collectors

3,220 0.9 24.97 51,940

Tank car, truck, and ship loaders

200 0.6 29.78 61,950

Material moving workers, all other

190 0.3 18.35 38,170

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area, see
(2) Estimates for detailed occupations may not sum to the totals due to rounding, and because the totals may include occupations that are not shown separately. Estimates do not include self-employed workers.
(3) The location quotient is the ratio of the area concentration of occupational employment to the national average concentration. A location quotient greater than one indicates the occupation has a higher share of employment than average, and a location quotient less than one indicates the occupation is less prevalent in the area than average.
(4) Annual wages have been calculated by multiplying the hourly mean wage by a "year-round, full-time" hours figure of 2,080 hours; for those occupations where there is not an hourly mean wage published, the annual wage has been directly calculated from the reported survey data.
(5) Estimate not released.
(6) Wages for some occupations that do not generally work year-round, full time, are reported either as hourly wages or annual salaries depending on how they are typically paid.


Last Modified Date: Tuesday, August 23, 2022