Those who work in production, such as shipbuilding and other manufacturing in South Mississippi, earn much higher wages than the national average for that profession.
A report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows in all other of the 22 job classifications, South Mississippi earnings are the same or below the national average.
The BLS report shows that in May 2016, the average hourly wage in the Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula Statistical Area was $20.16, or $3.70 an hour and 16 percent lower than the nationwide average of $23.86.
Production workers had 30 percent higher wages in South Mississippi, earning an average of $23.32 compared to the national average of $17.88.
Several jobs pay much lower on the Coast, such as the category of Arts, design, entertainment, sports and media, which pays 29 percent below the national average, management (-28 percent), sales and related (-24 percent) and computer and mathematical (-23 percent).
One of the factors that keeps South Mississippi average wages low is the large number of people who work in the restaurant industry, the report says. The Coast had 18,310 jobs in food preparation and serving, or 12.2 percent of jobs in South Mississippi, compared to 9.2 percent nationally. The average hourly wage is $9.98, with chefs in South Mississippi making an average of $22.16 an hour while fast food cooks are paid an average of $8.55, according to the study.
Jobs in architecture, engineering and social science paid the same in South Mississippi as the national average.