5. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif.
> Average manufacturing wage: $87,502
> Average wage: $52,193 (19th highest)
> Industry focus: computers and electronics, pharmaceuticals
> Share of total jobs in manufacturing: 10.4% (23rd highest)
> Dollars above expected earnings: $21,483 (7th highest)
Manufacturing in the Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura declined 22.2%, less than the national decline of 33.2%. However, between the beginning of 2010 and the end of 2011, those jobs decreased by 3.3%, more than all but a handful of the largest cities in the country. Oxnard’s manufacturing industry specializes in information technology, with computers and electronics representing 22.5% of manufacturing jobs. Pharmaceuticals come in second, at 20.1%. The average manufacturing wage in the region is $87,502 — roughly $35,000 more than the regional average wage.
4. Austin-Round Rock, Tex.
> Average manufacturing wage: $88,026
> Average wage: $50,115 (24th highest)
> Industry focus: computers and electronics
> Share of total jobs in manufacturing: 6.0% (27th lowest)
> Dollars above expected earnings: $23,707 (4th highest)
While manufacturing jobs in the Austin metro region took a severe dive for most of the past decade, they began to rebound in the past few years. Between the first quarter of 2010 and the fourth quarter of 2011, manufacturing jobs increased 7.2%, more than two and a half times the national growth rate. Austin is one of the most high-tech specialized cities in the country, with 53.6% of manufacturing jobs classified as high-tech compared to the national average of just 16.1%. Those in high-tech manufacturing jobs in the region are paid an average of $118,416, approximately $68,000 more than the average pay across all jobs in the area.
3. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.
> Average manufacturing wage: $91,761
> Average wage: $70,976 (3rd highest)
> Industry focus: computers and electronics, food, pharmaceuticals
> Share of total jobs in manufacturing: 6.0% (26th lowest)
> Dollars above expected earnings: $30,739 (2nd highest)
The San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont area is the largest of the four California metro regions to make it on this list. It also has the third-highest average manufacturing wage in the country of more than $90,000. San Francisco manufacturing jobs are diversified across a variety of sectors, but among the largest of these are computers and electronics, at 21.6%, and food and pharmaceuticals, at 11% and 10.3%, respectively. According to Brooking’s assessment of the composition of San Francisco’s industry, workers are getting paid an average of more than $30,000 more than workers in a city with a similar composition.
2. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.
> Average manufacturing wage: $95,507
> Average wage: $83,030 (2nd highest)
> Industry focus: aerospace, machinery, computers and electronics
> Share of total jobs in manufacturing: 9.0% (36th highest)
> Dollars above expected earnings: $28,062 (3rd highest)
The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut metro region, which comprises all of Fairfield country, has a slightly larger manufacturing industry than the national average. These jobs are diversified, with several different areas of specialization, including machinery production and computers and electronics. By far, the largest is the aerospace sector, which accounts for 23.7% of all manufacturing jobs. Of the region’s 36,914 manufacturing positions, 41.8% of them are high-tech positions. The average pay for a job in this category is $114,071.
1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
> Average manufacturing wage: $144,899
> Average wage: $92,574 (the highest)
> Industry focus: computers and electronics
> Share of total jobs in manufacturing: 17.5% (2nd highest)
> Dollars above expected earnings: $72,544 (the highest)
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, better known as Silicon Valley, is the country’s most important high-tech center. Of the region’s 872,000 jobs, 17.5%, or 153,000, are in manufacturing. About 74.6% of these jobs are classified as high-tech positions, making it the most high-tech specialized major city in the United States. Computers and electronics are by far the region’s largest output, accounting for nearly 70% of all manufacturing jobs. Of the largest metro regions in the U.S., San Jose has the highest average pay in every category. The average salary for a high-tech position is $164,796, more than $70,000 more than the average wage across all positions in the area.
-Michael B. Sauter