In my last blog, I mapped where the Coachella Valley’s working population is concentrated. Now let’s look more closely at the types of occupations valley workers occupy. We will explore a ranking of occupation classes derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. We’ll rank the classes by the total number of jobs in which Coachella Valley residents are employed. Since this list is based on resident occupations, their jobs could be based outside the Coachella Valley, like those of long commuters or remote workers.
More Coachella Valley residents have management positions than any other occupation class. Nationally, this is the highest-paid sector, with mean annual worker earnings of $131,200. But our next four highest occupation classes are not near number one. Our second highest sector, Sales, is number 15 nationally, with average wages of $50,370. Office/Admin ranks 9th nationally, with wages of $65,510. And our final in the top five – Food Prep, and Building/Grounds Maintenance – are at the bottom of the distribution. Food Prep comes in dead last, with annual wages of $32,130. And Building/Grounds Maintenance is third to last nationally (Healthcare Support Occupations is lower) with $35,560 annual wages.
As in all things in the Coachella Valley, the distribution of the occupation classes of resident workers is unevenly distributed. This map shows the occupation class with the most resident workers within each census tract. Note that in the predominantly management classes in the wealthier cities of Palm Springs and Palm Desert, there are still substantial pockets of the lower-wage professions.