Table 3B. Demographic and Labor Market Characteristics of the 30 Colleges
4.2 Industrial Mix
Table 4 describes the industrial mix of the nine major labor market areas included in this study based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The first three columns describe for all nine areas: total employment in 2002, the distribution of employment, and the average earnings (in $1,000s), respectively. The top two lines describe the distribution of employment across the areas and the employment of each area (in 1,000s), respectively. The purpose of this table is to assess differences in employer demand for different types of community college training across the areas. Thus, Westat aggregated the industries into groups that best depict key variation in the employment distributions. Overall, the most notable difference is that only 11.4 percent of employment in the Washington, D.C., metro area was employed in the goods-producing sector. The proportion in the goods-producing sector was also quite low in Orlando but at or above 20 percent in all other areas. Within the goods-producing sector, construction employment was especially high, around 7.4 percent, in Washington, D.C., and Orlando along with Charlotte and San Diego. High levels of construction employment are important measures of overall economic growth.
Elsewhere within the goods-producing sector the proportion of employment in textile manufacturing is greatly above average in Charlotte (2.5 percent compared to an average below 0.4 percent). The proportion of employment in the computer and electronics sector also is substantially above average in San Diego and Dallas (about 2.7 percent compared to an average of about 1.7 percent). Finally, the proportion of employment in the metal producing, machinery, and transportation equipment sector in the Quad Cities and Seattle (8.6 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively, compared to an average of only 3.7 percent nationally). In the service-producing sector, Washington, D.C., again stands out as having 17.4 percent of employment in the professional and technical sector. This is about twice the proportion of employment in this sector as in any other areas. Washington, D.C., and San Diego both have high proportions (17.6 percent) of employment in the restaurant, accommodations, and entertainment sector, but the proportion is even higher in Orlando (24.8 percent). These results reflect the importance of tourism in all three areas, and the considerable amount of business travel to the nation’s capitol.
Overall, only about 4.9 percent of employment is in the information service sector that includes all sorts of media and communications including cable TV and Internet providers. However, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Dallas have well-above average concentrations in this important high-tech sector. Healthcare employment averages around 10 percent. It is unusually low in Charlotte, 7.6 percent and exceptionally high in Springfield, 18.2 percent. These differences probably reflect differences in the proportion of elderly individuals in the two areas, as many young people have been drawn to fast-growing Charlotte in recent years, and many young people left declining Springfield.
Table 4. Employment Distributions for the Nine Major Labor Markets 2002
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, 2002.
Finally, Table 4 indicates that, as expected, Charlotte has a considerably higher than average proportion of employment in the financial, education, and related services sector (22.3 percent compared to less than 18.8 percent in other areas), and Dallas has a higher than average proportion of employment in the transportation and trade sector (25.9 percent compared to less than 22.0 percent in other areas).
Overall, the results are highly consistent with the reputations of these different areas, what Westat learned about the major employers during their interviews, and perhaps most importantly, what college officials told us were the major areas in which they are developing programs and partnering with local employers. However, the broad similarities across the areas might be surprising, along with the relatively small percentage-point deviations from average in the sectors expected to have especially high proportions of employment. These relatively small differences point to a key fact that relatively small increases (or declines) in employment in certain key industries such as aerospace, information technology, and financial services can make enormous differences in the broad range of service industries and construction. Thus, even though community college contributions to the overall skills of the workforce might seem small, they can be a crucial determinant of overall growth or decline in each area.