Chart Book, May 2008

Area Focus

Figures 30-31

Eighty-six percent of U.S. employment was found in metropolitan areas, but some occupations were concentrated in nonmetropolitan areas

Occupations found primarily in nonmetropolitan
areas, May 2008

  • Fourteen percent of all U.S. jobs were in nonmetropolitan areas. Most of the occupations with employment concentrated in nonmetropolitan areas were related to mining, extraction, and logging.
  • Postmasters and mail superintendents, and slaughterers and meatpackers, are the only occupations listed that do not directly involve mining, logging, or agriculture.

Occupations with the highest concentration of employment in
metropolitan areas, May 2008

  • When the great majority of an occupation's employment is in metropolitan areas, it may be the result of economies of agglomeration: certain types of employers tend to form clusters of economic activity.
  • Seven of the occupations concentrated almost exclusively in metropolitan areas are related to the performing arts, media, or sports: theatrical and performance makeup artists; sound engineering technicians; agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes; all other entertainers and performers, sports and related workers; multimedia artists and animators; film and video editors; and actors.
  • Other occupations concentrated in metropolitan areas include many IT-related occupations, such as computers systems software engineers, an occupation which is most highly concentrated in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA, metropolitan area.

Figures 32-33

The main factor that caused the average wage in Durham, North Carolina, to exceed the U.S. average by 16 percent was the higher-than-average shares of employment in occupations that paid above-average wages

Distribution of employment in the United States and
in Durham, NC, by occupational group, May 2008

  • Durham, NC, had higher-than-average employment concentrations in six of the seven highest paying occupational groups and lower-than-average employment shares in many of the lower paying occupational groups, such as the food preparation and serving related group and the personal care and service group.
  • The employment share of life, physical, and social science occupations was 4.65 times higher in Durham, NC, than in the Nation as a whole. Only about 1 out of every 100 U.S. jobs was in this occupational group, compared with more than 4 out of every 100 jobs in Durham.
  • Computer and mathematical science occupations had an employment concentration 3 times higher in Durham, NC, than at the national level, as this group accounted for about 7 in 100 Durham jobs and about 2 in 100 U.S. jobs.
  • Transportation and material moving occupations, which has below average wages, accounted for 7 percent of jobs in the United States but only 4 percent of jobs in Durham.
  • Only 4 out of 22 occupational groups had average wages significantly higher in Durham, NC, than at the national level.

Detailed occupations with the highest concentrations of employment in Durham, NC, relative to the occupations' corresponding employment concentrations in the United States, May 2008
Occupation title Durham, NC employment Percent of Durham, NC employment Percent of total U.S. employment Concentration factor

Social scientists and related workers, all other

1,350 0.483 0.021 22.8

Natural sciences managers

1,250 0.449 0.032 14.0

Microbiologists

450 0.160 0.012 13.8

Health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other

980 0.352 0.026 13.6

Biochemists and biophysicists

570 0.204 0.016 12.5

Statisticians

510 0.183 0.015 11.9

Biological technicians

1,750 0.626 0.053 11.7

Loan counselors

700 0.252 0.022 11.5

Medical scientists, except epidemiologists

2,210 0.791 0.074 10.7

Biological scientists, all other

560 0.201 0.021 9.6

Life scientists, all other

230 0.081 0.009 9.3

Life, physical, and social science technicians, all other

1,010 0.362 0.043 8.4

Survey researchers

360 0.131 0.016 8.3

Sociologists

60 0.020 0.003 6.7

Operations research analysts

830 0.296 0.045 6.6

Computer software engineers, systems software

4,860 1.743 0.282 6.2

Chemists

1,040 0.372 0.062 6.1

Social science research assistants

210 0.076 0.013 5.6

Epidemiologists

50 0.017 0.003 5.6

Mathematicians

30 0.012 0.002 5.4

Medical and clinical laboratory technologists

1,730 0.620 0.123 5.0
  • The "concentration factor" column in the table shows how individual occupations' shares of employment in Durham, NC, related to the same occupations' shares of employment at the national level. For example, loan counselors' employment concentration in Durham, NC, was 11.5 times higher than loan counselors' employment concentration at the national level.
  • Of the 21 detailed occupations with the highest employment concentrations in Durham, NC, relative to the United States, over half were life, physical, and social science occupations and 4 were computer and mathematical science occupations.
  • The employment share of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Durham was about one-third of the U.S. employment share for this occupation, making this the only life, physical, and social science occupation with a lower employment share in Durham, NC, than in the United States as a whole.

Figure 34

Occupational mean wages in all metropolitan areas in North Carolina were below national occupational mean wages, but employment was concentrated in higher paying occupations in three metropolitan areas

Differences between North Carolina metropolitan
area wages and the U.S. mean wage, May 2008

  • In the chart, the purple bar shows the difference between average wages in the metropolitan areas in North Carolina and average wage in the United States. The blue bar shows the difference in total wages that is due to differences in occupational wages. The orange bar shows the difference that is due to employment being concentrated in higher or lower paying occupations.
  • Although the wages of individual occupations in Durham, NC, and Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NCSC, were lower overall than the U.S. average wages for the respective occupations, these metropolitan areas had average wages above the U.S. average because they had a greater concentration of employment in higher paying occupations, as indicated by the blue bars in the chart.
  • Durham, NC, had the highest average wage of all metropolitan areas in North Carolina because of Durham's high concentration of employment in higher paying occupations.

Figures 35-36

Transportation and material moving occupations accounted for 16 percent of employment in the Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, LA, metropolitan area, but only 2 percent of employment in the Los Alamos, NM, nonmetropolitan area

Employment in transportation and material moving
occupations, per 1,000 workers, by area, May 2008

  • The areas with the highest concentrations of employment in transportation and material moving occupations were the Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, LA, metropolitan area (163 per 1,000 workers); southwestern Wisconsin nonmetropolitan area (144 per 1,000 workers); Joplin, MO, metropolitan area (129 per 1,000 workers); Dalton, GA, metropolitan area (124 per 1,000 workers); and Linn County, OR, nonmetropolitan area (120 per 1,000 workers).
  • Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, LA, had a total of 15,440 transportation and material moving jobs. Two of the largest transportation and material moving occupations were related to water transportation: captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels (with employment of 3,350); and sailors and marine oilers (with employment of 2,700).
  • The two largest transportation and material moving occupations in the other four areas listed above were heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers and the occupation of laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand.

Employment in computer and mathematical occupations,
per 1,000 workers, by State, May 2008

  • The areas with the highest wages for the transportation and material moving occupations included several nonmetropolitan areas, such as the southeast Alaska nonmetropolitan area ($44,780), railbelt/southwest Alaska nonmetropolitan area ($44,530), and Nantucket Island and Martha's Vineyard nonmetropolitan area ($43,250).
  • In the southeast Alaska nonmetropolitan area, occupations with high wages included ship engineers ($66,860); first-line supervisors/managers of transportation and material-moving machine and vehicle operators ($65,110); commercial pilots ($56,780); first-line supervisors/managers of helpers, laborers, and material movers, hand ($56,670); and captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels ($53,660).

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Last Modified Date: April 2, 2010