The internet has become a widely used source of data for regional labor market information, but that doesn't always mean it provides the level of detail needed to make reliable decisions.
Finding the required workers is at the top of the list of most growing businesses. For example, an expanding firm may require production workers. If this firm were to rely on an overall count of production workers to gauge the supply of skilled labor, it could miss badly since there are over 100 different types of production workers.
Just a few examples of production workers are electromechanical equipment assembles, food batch makers, and computer-controlled machine tool operators—all with vastly different skills. Wages vary as well for production occupations, from a high of $78,400 for nuclear power reactor operators to a low of $20,900 for pressers, textile, garment, and related materials workers (National average wages as of 2013).
Labor costs are also critical to ensuring that an expanding firm meets profitability goals. From that perspective, using the mean wage for an occupation to estimate overall labor costs may be misleading. For example, the mean wage for a tool and die maker in San Bernardino, California, is $50,500. However, entry-level workers in this occupation are typically paid $30,600 and experienced workers earn $60,500. Consequently, a firm could overestimate or underestimate labor costs if it assumes the mean wage instead of the RIGHT wage for the required workers.