In this study, researchers from the Federal Reserve Banks of Philadelphia and Cleveland find that opportunity employment — defined as employment accessible to workers without a bachelor’s degree and typically paying above the national annual median wage, adjusted for regional differences in consumer prices — accounts for 21.6 percent of total employment but ranges from a high of 34.0 percent to a low of 14.6 percent in the metro areas analyzed. The report illustrates how the local mix of occupations, employers’ educational expectations, and the cost of living combine to expand or limit local opportunity relative to national conditions, and it finds that some of the largest opportunity occupations became more accessible to sub-baccalaureate workers as the labor market tightened.

  • Metro Area Fact Sheets: This file includes one-page fact sheets describing the 10 largest opportunity occupations in each of the 121 metro areas analyzed.
  • Third District Summary: This three-page report summarizes the findings of the latest opportunity occupations research for eight metro areas in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.
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