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Wednesday, June 24, 2015


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Occupational Employment and Wages in Washington-Arlington-Alexandria – May 2014

Workers in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $31.22 in May 2014, 37 percent above 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 higher than their respective national averages in 21 of the 22 major occupational groups. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Washington employment shares were significantly higher in 9 of the 22 occupational groups including business and financial operations, computer and mathematical, and management. Conversely, 12 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation; these groups included production, transportation and material moving, and office and administrative support.


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

Total, all occupations

100.00% 100.00%   $22.71 $31.22 Yes 37


5.0 7.5 Yes 54.08 64.89 Yes 20

Business and financial operations

5.1 10.0 Yes 34.81 43.01 Yes 24

Computer and mathematical

2.8 7.4 Yes 40.37 47.97 Yes 19

Architecture and engineering

1.8 2.1 Yes 39.19 48.13 Yes 23

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 2.0 Yes 33.69 46.48 Yes 38

Community and social service

1.4 1.3 Yes 21.79 26.80 Yes 23


0.8 2.3 Yes 48.61 63.88 Yes 31

Education, training, and library

6.2 6.3 No 25.10 28.53 Yes 14

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 2.2 Yes 26.82 35.99 Yes 34

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.8 4.7 Yes 36.54 43.51 Yes 19

Healthcare support

2.9 1.9 Yes 13.86 15.40 Yes 11

Protective service

2.4 3.0 Yes 21.14 25.44 Yes 20

Food preparation and serving related

9.1 8.1 Yes 10.57 11.77 Yes 11

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.2 3.5 Yes 12.68 13.40 Yes 6

Personal care and service

3.1 2.8 Yes 12.01 13.99 Yes 16

Sales and related

10.5 8.7 Yes 18.59 20.29 Yes 9

Office and administrative support

16.0 13.7 Yes 17.08 20.33 Yes 19

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.0 Yes 12.09 16.58 Yes 37

Construction and extraction

3.9 3.6 Yes 22.40 22.66 No 1

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 3.0 Yes 21.74 24.98 Yes 15


6.6 1.7 Yes 17.06 19.09 Yes 12

Transportation and material moving

6.8 4.1 Yes 16.57 18.08 Yes 9

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


One occupational group—computer and mathematical—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Washington had 218,260 jobs in the computer and mathematical group, accounting for 7.4 percent of local area employment, significantly larger than the 2.8-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $47.97, significantly higher than the national average of $40.37.

With employment of 34,700, applications software developers was the largest occupation within the computer and mathematical group in the Washington area, followed by systems software developers (29,240) and computer systems analysts (25,930). Among the higher paying jobs were computer and information research scientists and computer network architects, with mean hourly wages of $59.55 and $56.53, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were computer user support specialists ($28.89) and computer network support specialists ($36.64).  (Detailed occupational data for computer and mathematical 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 Washington metropolitan area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in nearly all of the detailed occupations within the computer and mathematical group. For instance, information security analysts were employed at over five-and-a-half times the national rate in Washington, and statisticians, at more than seven times the U.S. average. On the other hand, computer programmers had a location quotient of 1.5 in Washington, meaning the local employment share in this particular occupation was closer to the national share.

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 District of Columbia Department of Employment Services, the Virginia Employment Commission, the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, and WorkForce West Virginia.


OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria 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 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Metropolitan Statistical Area included 16,935 establishments with a response rate of 67 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 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes the District of Columbia; Arlington, Clarke, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Warren Counties, and Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park Cities in Virginia; Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George's Counties in Maryland; and Jefferson County in West 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, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2014
Occupation(1) Employment(2) Mean wage
Level Location quotient(3) Hourly Annual(4)

Computer and mathematical occupations

218,260 2.6 $47.97 $99,770

Computer and information research scientists

2,630 5.0 59.55 123,860

Computer systems analysts

25,930 2.2 48.67 101,240

Information security analysts

9,750 5.6 51.71 107,550

Computer programmers

9,630 1.5 47.45 98,690

Software developers, applications

34,700 2.3 51.72 107,570

Software developers, systems software

29,240 3.5 52.68 109,580

Web developers

5,800 2.2 40.28 83,780

Database administrators

5,450 2.2 45.91 95,490

Network and computer systems administrators

20,140 2.5 46.48 96,680

Computer network architects

10,180 3.3 56.53 117,580

Computer user support specialists

19,500 1.6 28.89 60,090

Computer network support specialists

8,520 2.2 36.64 76,210

Computer occupations, all other

24,970 5.4 51.69 107,510


380 0.8 65.03 135,260


400 5.9 63.85 132,810

Operations research analysts

6,460 3.4 50.56 105,160


4,170 7.1 48.13 100,110

Mathematical science occupations, all other

390 11.1 36.54 76,010

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria 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.


Last Modified Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2015