Federal report: Whatcom workers earning 3 percent less than national average

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 31, 2013 

Tire change Bellingham

Chris Ibbotson puts studded snow tires on a car at the Les Schwab Tire Center in Ferndale on Nov. 22, 2010. With an average wage of $17.98 an hour, Whatcom County was listed as the top-paying metro area for tire repairers and changers in May 2012, according to a report on wages by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

PHILIP A. DWYER — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

For those in the business of changing vehicle tires, Whatcom County is the place to be when it comes to compensation.

With an average wage of $17.98 an hour, Whatcom County was listed as the top-paying metro area for tire repairers and changers in May 2012, followed by the Seattle metro area at $16.97 an hour.

It's one of the trends uncovered in a report on wages by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency looked at a little more than 400 metro areas to come up with its findings.

While local tire repairers were paid well above the national industry average, that was not the case for local workers overall. The average worker in Whatcom County earned $21.30 an hour in May 2012, about 3 percent below the national average of $22.01.

Other specific lines of work locally that pay significantly more than the national average include logisticians, refinery operators and woodworking machine setters.

According to BLS, Whatcom County was significantly higher than the national average in 11 of the 22 major occupational groups, including architecture/engineering and construction/extraction. Several industry groups had significantly lower wages than the national average, including legal and management.

In terms of occupations with the most workers locally, retail sales and cashiers topped the list, followed by food preparation occupations, janitorial work and wait staff.

Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or dave.gallagher@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Business blog at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/business or follow him on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.

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