Cincinnati-Indianapolis-Louisville Wage Rates for Production Workers and Other High-Ranking Clusters

A region’s workforce is a critical measure of its economic success. An examination of a community’s workforce has three distinct components: the size, unemployment rate, and education level of the workforce; the occupation and earnings of the workforce; and the commuting patterns of the workforce. The data collected for this analysis is the 2021 annual location quotient averages, which represent the most recent full year of available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN Metro Area has a location quotient score greater than one in six NAICS sectors. These six industry sectors are management of companies and enterprises, arts, entertainment, and recreation, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, wholesale trade, and healthcare and social assistance. These top six sectors represent annual average employment of 432,767 and total annual wages of $31,973,070,445. The civilian labor force in the Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN Metro Area was 1,124,864 for the congruent data year. These top six industries represent approximately 38.5% of the total civilian labor force within the Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN Metro Area. Overall, the top ten NAICS sectors within the Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN Metro Area represent approximately 717,959 in annual average employment or 63.8% of the total civilian labor force and $46,711,364,745 in total annual wages.

Manufacturing Labor Wage Rates
Area of StudyCincinnatiCharlotteIndianapolisLouisville
Industry SectorAnnual Wages Per EmployeeAnnual Wages Per EmployeeAnnual Wages Per EmployeeAnnual Wages Per Employee
NAICS 311 Food manufacturing$66,900$50,921$60,940$60,402
NAICS 312 Beverage and tobacco product manufacturing$60,193$45,873$104,276$50,978
NAICS 325 Chemical manufacturing$143,574$50,921$91,988$167,961
NAICS 331 Primary metal manufacturing$86,488$76,824$82,033$81,443
NAICS 336 Transportation equipment manufacturing$90,737$63,993$62,878$77,240
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

However, the wage rates for this occupation in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Louisville do not compare well to the wage rates for similar jobs in the same industries in southern cities such as Charlotte as illustrated by the table above. Many southern regions remain highly competitive from a manufacturing wage rate standpoint driven by long-term adoption of Right to Work laws which have limited labor union participation.