Many careers in Honolulu pay more than national average


POSTED: Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Honolulu managers and employees in the legal profession don't get paid as much as their mainland counterparts.

But food service workers and health care practitioners in the state earn considerably more an hour than the national average, according to a report yesterday from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Regional Commissioner Richard Holden said that Honolulu wages were significantly higher than their respective national averages in 11 of 22 major occupational groups. The most recently available data is for May 2008, and showed that the average Honolulu wage of $20.54 during that month was about 1 percent above the U.S. average of $20.32. The data, however, doesn't account for the higher cost of living in Hawaii.

The food service industry, which made up 10.5 percent, or 46,430 people, of Honolulu's total work force during that period, shows that chefs and head cooks made an average of $23.61 an hour, or $49,100 a year. Waiters and waitresses, who comprised the greatest number of workers in the Honolulu food service industry—10,250—averaged $12.01 an hour, or $24,980 a year. The figures don't include tips.

Health care practitioners averaged $39.48 an hour, nearly $7 more an hour than the $32.64 earned nationally.

Managers of Honolulu companies, meanwhile, made an average $43.22 an hour, about $5 less an hour than the national average of $48.23. Those in the legal profession in Honolulu earned an average of $37.63 an hour, compared with the U.S. average of $44.36.

The survey was mailed to 3,488 Honolulu establishments and received a response rate of 77 percent.


The average hourly wage of Honolulu workers during May 2008 was $20.54, about 1 percent more than the nationwide average of $20.32.

 U.S. Hawaii
Business and financial$31.12$27.71
Computer and math science$35.82$31.28
Architecture and engineering$34.34$33.04
Life, physical and social science$30.90$29.58
Community and social services$20.09$22.04
Education, training and library$23.30$22.42
Arts, entertainment, sports, media$24.36$20.71
Health care practitioner$32.64$39.48
Health care support$12.66$14.48
Protective service$19.33$17.45
Food preparation and serving$9.72$11.24
Cleaning and maintenance$11.72$12.83
Personal care and service$11.59$12.57
Sales and related$17.35$15.55
Office and administrative support$15.49$16.01
Farming, fishing, and forestry$11.32$16.61
Construction and extraction$20.36$27.34
Installation, maintenance, and repair$19.82$22.18
Transportation and material moving$15.12$16.45
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics