The Labor Department says workers in Greater Houston earned an average of $22.83 an hour in May of 2011. That put the region 5 percent above the national average of $21.74.
The study measured 22 broad occupational groups. Houston wages were significantly ahead of the national average in 9 of those groups. The biggest lead came in the field of architecture and engineering, where Houston employers paid 24 percent more than the national average.
Cheryl Abbot is regional economist for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in Dallas.
“The engineering component there is substantial, so you’re going to be paying high wages to get the best people in those positions.”
At the other end of the spectrum, Houston wages in construction and extraction industries were 10 percent below the national average. That gap was almost entirely due to wages in the construction sector. Within that broad category, pay for oil and gas industry jobs such as rotary drill operators ran well above the mean.