News Release Information

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Technical information:
Media contact:

Occupational Employment and Wages in Roanoke – May 2014

Workers in the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $20.20 in May 2014, 11 percent below the nationwide average of $22.71, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were significantly lower than their respective national averages in 17 of the 22 major occupational groups, including legal, computer and mathematical, and architecture and engineering. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Roanoke employment shares were significantly higher in 4 of the 22 occupational groups including health care practitioners and technical and office and administrative support. Conversely, nine groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation; these groups included management, building and grounds cleaning and maintenance, and computer and mathematical.

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2014
Major occupational group Employment share (percent of total) Average (mean) hourly wage
United States Roanoke Significant difference (1) United States Roanoke Significant difference (1) Percent difference (2)

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0%   $22.71 $20.20 Yes -11


5.0 3.6 Yes 54.08 49.58 Yes -8

Business and financial operations

5.1 4.7 No 34.81 29.46 Yes -15

Computer and mathematical

2.8 2.2 Yes 40.37 33.27 Yes -18

Architecture and engineering

1.8 1.2 Yes 39.19 32.37 Yes -17

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 0.4 Yes 33.69 28.52 Yes -15

Community and social service

1.4 1.8 Yes 21.79 21.70 No 0


0.8 0.6 Yes 48.61 38.27 Yes -21

Education, training, and library

6.2 5.3 No 25.10 23.96 No -5

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 1.0 Yes 26.82 21.06 Yes -21

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.8 8.2 Yes 36.54 36.26 No -1

Healthcare support

2.9 3.1 No 13.86 13.17 Yes -5

Protective service

2.4 2.4 No 21.14 16.37 Yes -23

Food preparation and serving related

9.1 8.6 Yes 10.57 9.93 Yes -6

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.2 2.5 Yes 12.68 11.10 Yes -12

Personal care and service

3.1 3.0 No 12.01 11.07 Yes -8

Sales and related

10.5 10.6 No 18.59 17.07 Yes -8

Office and administrative support

16.0 17.2 Yes 17.08 15.77 Yes -8

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1 Yes 12.09 14.30 Yes 18

Construction and extraction

3.9 4.1 No 22.40 17.29 Yes -23

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 4.5 Yes 21.74 18.84 Yes -13


6.6 7.7 No 17.06 15.56 Yes -9

Transportation and material moving

6.8 7.2 No 16.57 15.98 No -4

(1) Statistical significance testing at the 90-percent confidence level.
(2) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Roanoke is above the national mean wage, while a negative percent difference reflects a lower wage.

One occupational group—healthcare practitioners and technical—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Roanoke had 12,350 jobs in the healthcare practitioners and technical group, accounting for 8.2 percent of local area employment, significantly larger than the 5.8-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $36.26, not significantly different from the national average of $36.54.

With employment of 4,150, registered nurses was the largest occupation within the healthcare practitioners and technical group, followed by licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (1,340). Among the higher-paying jobs were surgeons with a mean hourly wage of $94.20 and pharmacists with a wage of $60.30. At the lower end of the wage scale were pharmacy technicians ($14.07) and medical records and health information technicians ($17.46). (Detailed occupational data for healthcare and practitioners are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to

Location quotients allow us to explore the occupational make-up of a metropolitan area by comparing the composition of jobs in an area relative to the national average. (See table 1.) For example, a location quotient of 2.0 indicates that an occupation accounts for twice the share of employment in the area as it does nationally. In the Roanoke area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in several of the occupations within the healthcare practitioners and technical group. For instance, surgeons were employed at over two-and-a-half times the national rate in Roanoke, and general internists at over three times the U.S. average. On the other hand, veterinary technologists and technicians had a location quotient of 1.0 in Roanoke, indicating that this particular occupation’s local and national employment shares were similar.

These statistics are from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey, a federal-state cooperative program between BLS and State Workforce Agencies, in this case, the Virginia Employment Commission.


OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area were compared to their respective national averages based on statistical significance testing. Only those occupations with wages or employment shares above or below the national wage or share after testing for significance at the 90-percent confidence level meet the criteria.

NOTE: A value that is statistically different from another does not necessarily mean that the difference has economic or practical significance. Statistical significance is concerned with the ability to make confident statements about a universe based on a sample. It is entirely possible that a large difference between two values is not significantly different statistically, while a small difference is, since both the size and heterogeneity of the sample affect the relative error of the data being tested.

Technical Note

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey is a semiannual mail survey measuring occupational employment and wage rates for wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments in the United States. Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands are also surveyed, but their data are not included in the national estimates. OES estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.2 million establishments Each year, forms are mailed to two semiannual panels of approximately 200,000 sampled establishments, one panel in May and the other in November. May 2014 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2014, November 2013, May 2013, November 2012, May 2012, and November 2011. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 74.3 percent based on establishments and 70.5 percent based on employment. The sample in the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,841 establishments with a response rate of 73 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

The OES survey provides estimates of employment and hourly and annual wages for wage and salary workers in 22 major occupational groups and 821 detailed occupations for the nation, states, metropolitan statistical areas, metropolitan divisions, and nonmetropolitan areas. In addition, employment and wage estimates for 94 minor groups and 458 broad occupations are available in the national data. OES data by state and metropolitan/nonmetropolitan area are available from and, respectively.

The May 2014 OES estimates are based on the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system and the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Information about the 2010 SOC is available on the BLS website at and information about the 2012 NAICS is available at

Area definitions

The substate area data published in this release reflect the standards and definitions established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

The Roanoke, Va. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Botetourt, Craig, Franklin, and Roanoke Counties and Roanoke and Salem Cities in Virginia.

Additional information

OES data are available on our regional web page at Answers to frequently asked questions about the OES data are available at Detailed technical information about the OES survey is available in our Survey Methods and Reliability Statement on the BLS website at Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request – Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.

Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2014
Occupation (1) Employment (2) Mean wage
Level Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations

12,350 1.4 $36.26 $75,430

Dentists, general

110 1.0 91.70 190,730

Dietitians and nutritionists

80 1.2 26.98 56,110


70 1.9 60.69 126,240


510 1.6 60.30 125,430

Family and general practitioners

180 1.3 71.34 148,390

Internists, general

160 3.0 85.77 178,400

Obstetricians and gynecologists

70 3.0 98.05 203,950

Pediatricians, general

40 1.1 84.85 176,480


130 2.8 94.20 195,940

Physicians and surgeons, all other

660 1.9 107.16 222,900

Physician assistants

190 1.9 44.08 91,680

Occupational therapists

130 1.1 38.72 80,530

Physical therapists

290 1.3 50.52 105,090

Respiratory therapists

200 1.5 25.15 52,310

Speech-language pathologists

150 1.0 34.57 71,900

Exercise physiologists

40 5.1 22.65 47,110


80 1.1 61.82 128,580

Registered nurses

4,150 1.4 28.45 59,170

Nurse practitioners

140 1.1 42.01 87,380


(5) (5) 33.40 69,480

Medical and clinical laboratory technologists

190 1.1 21.05 43,790

Medical and clinical laboratory technicians

270.0 1.5 20.91 43,490

Dental hygienists

170 0.8 34.98 72,760

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians

50 0.9 28.73 59,760

Diagnostic medical sonographers

110 1.6 31.01 64,500

Nuclear medicine technologists

30 1.4 31.39 65,290

Radiologic technologists

290 1.3 23.68 49,250

Magnetic resonance image technologists

(5) (5) 29.60 61,570

Pharmacy technicians

470 1.1 14.07 29,270

Surgical technologists

170.0 1.6 18.42 38,320

Veterinary technologists and technicians

110 1.0 17.49 36,380

Ophthalmic medical technicians

100 2.4 12.58 26,170

Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses

1,340 1.7 19.04 39,610

Medical records and health information technicians

340 1.6 17.46 36,320

Opticians, dispensing

(5) (5) 17.51 36,420

Health technolgists and technicians, all other

90 0.8 (5) (5)

Occupational health and safety specialists

90 1.3 28.17 58,600

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Roanoke MSA, see
(2) Estimates for detailed occupations do not sum to the totals because the totals include occupations not shown separately. Estimates do not include self-employed workers.
(3) The location quotient is the ratio of the area concentration of occupational employment to the national average concentration. A location quotient greater than one indicates the occupation has a higher share of employment than average, and a location quotient less than one indicates the occupation is less prevalent in the area than average.
(4) Annual wages have been calculated by multiplying the hourly mean wage by a ‘year-round, full-time’ hours figure of 2,080 hours; for those occupations where there is not an hourly mean wage published, the annual wage has been directly calculated from the reported survey data.
(5) Estimates not available.


Last Modified Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2015