Baltimore is losing its image as a blue-collar city, with white-collar workers now leading in the work force by a 2-to-1 ratio. But government-dominated Washington still is far ahead in the proportion of people working in offices.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Baltimore metropolitan area in 1980 had 581,000 white-collar jobs, compared with 189,000 in blue-collar manufacturing jobs--plus another 131,000 in service industries. The proportions were similar for the city of Baltimore itself.

To track the trend, 40 percent of Baltimore's work force was classified in 1950 as blue collar, compared with 29 percent in 1980. In the latter year, 56 percent was classified as white-collar, with the balance in other categories.

Exceeding Baltimore's proportion of blue-collar workers in 1980 were Philadelphia, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Milwaukee, Chicago, Portland and Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.

In the Washington area, white-collar employment in 1980 totaled nearly 1.1 million persons, compared with 244,000 in blue-collar occupations and 173,000 in service industries. As in Baltimore, the proportion of white-to-blue-collar workers in the central-city of Washington itself was similar, but there were proportionately more service workers (janitors, waiters, taxicab drivers and the like) in Washington.