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Orange County Workers Are Paid Less Than L.A. Workers--But They're Gaining

February 10, 1988|MARIA L. La GANGA | Times Staff Writer

Although workers in Orange County earn less than their Los Angeles County counterparts, their pay checks tend to get fatter quicker, according to a federal Labor Department study released Tuesday.

Secretaries, word processors, receptionists, truck drivers and forklift operators were among the workers who received less money for their labors in Orange County than did their neighbors to the north, the study said.

The labor department surveyed pay levels for 36 skilled and unskilled occupations, comparing average earnings for the two counties from 1986 and 1987. It found that 29 of those jobs paid better in Los Angeles County than in Orange County.

The pay in Orange County was better only for warehousemen, order fillers, security guards, janitors, key entry operators, computer data librarians and electronics technicians, the survey said.

Checks Grow Faster

But the study also found that paychecks in 21 of the 36 occupations surveyed rose more rapidly in Orange County, said Suzanne Sadowsky, an assistant regional commissioner for the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, which conducted the study.

Los Angeles typists, for example, earned an average of $334 per week in 1987, compared with $275 earned by typists in Orange County. But between 1986 and 1987, the average Orange County typists' wage rose 8.3%, compared with an increase of just 3.9% for Los Angeles typists.

Even though Orange County generally is considered a more affluent--and expensive--locale than Los Angeles, the study's findings did not surprise Sadowsky, she said.

"When you talk about an area being an affluent area, you're usually talking about the people who live there," Sadowsky said. "What we're measuring here is not the wages paid to residents, but the wages paid in the working establishments," often to employees who commute from residences in other areas.

Although full national statistics were not available in the department report, it did say that wages in Orange and Los Angeles counties exceeded national averages.

"On the average, Los Angeles office clerical workers were paid 14% above the national average, while Orange County workers' pay was 6% above the nation's," the study said. "Unskilled plant workers, however, earned 9% less in Orange County and 3% less in Los Angeles County than in the nation."

AVERAGE EARNINGS/HOURLY For maintenance, custodial and material movement occupations

LOS ANGELES COUNTY Occupation Mean Percent (Average weekly change in earnings) mean 1987 1986-87 Maintenance: Maintenance carpenters $14.62 2.5 Maintenance electricians 14.97 2.8 Maintenance painters 14.52 2.8 Maintenance machinists 15.85 0.6 Maintenance mechanics 14.28 2.5 Motor vehicle mechanics 15.72 1.6 Maintenance workers (general) 9.54 5.5 Maintenance trades helpers 9.36 -0.5 Machine-tool operators (toolroom) 13.95 5.2 Tool and die makers 15.66 3.4 Stationary engineers 17.30 6.8 Material Movement and Custodial: Truck drivers 12.32 3.4 Shippers and Receivers 9.18 5.2 Warehousers 9.75 6.7 Order fillers 11.76 6.4 Shipping packers 7.07 7.8 Material handling laborers 9.13 2.8 Forklift operators 11.36 3.3 Guards 5.78 1.9 Janitors, porters, cleaners 5.61 -1.9

ORANGE COUNTY Occupation Mean Percent (Average weekly change earnings) in mean 1987 1986-87 Maintenance: Maintenance carpenters $13.37 10.4 Maintenance electricians 13.95 2.0 Maintenance painters 11.97 -3.7 Maintenance machinists 13.81 7.6 Maintenance mechanics 12.46 3.3 Motor vehicle mechanics 14.07 5.0 Maintenance workers (general) 8.72 -0.2 Maintenance trades helpers 6.85 0.3 Machine-tool operators (toolroom) na na Tool and die makers 13.74 2.6 Stationary engineers na na Material Movement and Custodial: Truck drivers 11.67 8.2 Shippers and Receivers 8.80 8.1 Warehousers 9.87 7.3 Order fillers 11.79 1.2 Shipping packers 6.65 2.3 Material handling laborers 8.22 4.2 Forklift operators 11.28 8.8 Guards 6.64 4.9 Janitors, porters, cleaners 6.05 11.0

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

AVERAGE EARNINGS/WEEKLY For office clerical, professional and technical

LOS ANGELES COUNTY ORANGE COU Occupation Mean Percent Mean (Average weekly change in (Average weekly earnings) mean earnings) 1987 1986-87 1987 Office Clerical: Secretaries $472.50 6.2 $436.50 Typists 334.00 3.9 275.00 Word Processors 388.50 5.4 355.00 File Clerks 277.00 2.0 237.00 Messengers 301.50 5.1 274.00 Receptionists 335.50 6.5 262.00 Switchboard operators 290.50 0.7 274.50 Switchboard/receptionists 297.50 2.9 287.50 Order clerks 353.50 2.5 336.00 Accounting clerks 373.00 3.8 334.50 Payroll clerks 399.50 6.0 336.00 Key entry operators 318.50 1.4 327.50 Professional and Technical: Computer systems analysts 772.00 3.7 699.50 Computer programmers 607.50 7.0 593.50 Computer operators 440.50 4.9 395.50 Computer data librarians 370.50 8.2 377.00 Drafters 497.00 5.0 494.50 Electronics technicians 581.50 1.5 587.50

NTY Occupation Percent change in mean 1986-87 Office Clerical: Secretaries 5.3 Typists 8.3 Word Processors 0.1 File Clerks 3.7 Messengers 0.9 Receptionists 6.5 Switchboard operators 3.6 Switchboard/receptionists 4.4 Order clerks 4.0 Accounting clerks 2.5 Payroll clerks 2.0 Key entry operators 5.5 Professional and Technical: Computer systems analysts 4.2 Computer programmers 4.6 Computer operators 2.6 Computer data librarians 7.0 Drafters 4.1 Electronics technicians 4.0

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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