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May 21, 2014


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Occupational Employment and Wages in Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa MSA – May 2013

Workers in the Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $21.78 in May 2013, about 2 percent below the nationwide average of $22.33, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Charlene Peiffer noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were significantly higher than their respective national averages in 2 of the 22 major occupational groups. Twelve groups had significantly lower wages than their respective national averages, including architecture and engineering; management; and arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 6 of the 22 occupational groups, including business and financial operations; office and administrative support; and computer and mathematical occupations. Conversely, nine groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including production; food preparation and serving related; and education, training, and library. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2013
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Des Moines United States Des Moines Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0% $22.33 $21.78* -2


4.9 5.7* 53.15 46.75* -12

Business and financial operations

5.0 7.5* 34.14 30.54* -11

Computer and mathematical

2.8 3.7* 39.43 35.31* -10

Architecture and engineering

1.8 1.1* 38.51 32.07* -17

Life, physical, and social science

0.9 0.9 33.37 30.10* -10

Community and social services

1.4 1.4 21.50 21.04 -2


0.8 0.9* 47.89 46.23 -3

Education, training, and library

6.3 5.4* 24.76 21.64* -13

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 1.8* 26.72 20.96* -22

Healthcare practitioner and technical

5.8 5.2 35.93 34.65 -4

Healthcare support

3.0 2.3* 13.61 13.98 3

Protective service

2.5 1.6* 20.92 19.90 -5

Food preparation and serving related

9.0 7.9* 10.38 9.81* -5

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.2 2.9* 12.51 12.38 -1

Personal care and service

3.0 3.3 11.88 11.23* -5

Sales and related

10.6 10.7 18.37 19.55* 6

Office and administrative support

16.2 18.1* 16.78 16.95 1

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1* 11.70 15.22* 30

Construction and extraction

3.8 3.5 21.94 21.00* -4

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 4.0 21.35 20.87* -2


6.6 5.3* 16.79 15.39* -8

Transportation and material moving

6.8 6.4* 16.28 16.47 1

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Des Moines is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.
* The percent share of employment or mean hourly wage for this area is significantly different from the national average of all areas at the 90-percent confidence level.

One occupational group—business and financial operations—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Des Moines-West Des Moines had 24,940 jobs in business and financial operations, accounting for 7.5 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 5.0-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $30.54, measurably below the national wage of $34.14.

With employment of 3,200, accountants and auditors was one of the largest occupations within the business and financial operations group, as were claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators (2,160) and loan officers (1,920). Among the higher paying jobs were personal financial advisors and financial analysts, with mean hourly wages of $37.60 and $37.58, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were tax preparers ($13.88) and credit counselors ($17.98). (Detailed occupational data for business and financial operations are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to

Location quotients allow for the exploration of an area’s occupational make-up 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 than it does nationally. In the Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the business and financial operations group. For instance, financial examiners were employed at 7.1 times the national rate in Des Moines, and insurance underwriters, at 5.3 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, compliance officers had a location quotient of 1.1 in Des Moines, 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 Iowa Department of Workforce Development.

OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Des Moines 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. Forms are mailed to approximately 200,000 sampled establishments in May and November each year for a 3-year period. May 2013 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected in May 2013, November 2012, May 2012, November 2011, May 2011, and November 2010. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 75.3 percent based on establishments and 71.6 percent based on employment. The sample in the Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area included 3,086 establishments with a response rate of 69 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 2013 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 Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Dallas, Guthrie, Madison, Polk, and Warren Counties.

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, Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2013
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual(4)

Business and Financial Operations Occupations

24,940 1.5 $30.54 $63,530

Buyers and Purchasing Agents, Farm Products

40 1.5 32.03 66,610

Wholesale and Retail Buyers, Except Farm Products

280 1.0 30.68 63,820

Purchasing Agents, Except Wholesale, Retail, and Farm Products

410 0.6 26.47 55,060

Claims Adjusters, Examiners, and Investigators

2,160 3.1 25.14 52,300

Compliance Officers

620 1.1 30.29 63,000

Cost Estimators

520 1.0 27.58 57,370

Human Resources Specialists

1,360 1.3 28.46 59,190

Labor Relations Specialists

400 2.1 19.19 39,900


220 0.7 29.49 61,330

Management Analysts

1,790 1.3 35.67 74,180

Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners

130 0.7 24.69 51,360


170 1.3 22.96 47,750

Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists

380 1.9 33.08 68,800

Training and Development Specialists

830 1.5 27.71 57,640

Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists

1,320 1.2 29.04 60,390

Business Operations Specialists, All Other

3,670 1.6 30.72 63,890

Accountants and Auditors

3,200 1.1 32.54 67,680

Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate

210 1.4 30.12 62,650

Budget Analysts

130 0.9 35.29 73,410

Credit Analysts

530 3.2 35.26 73,350

Financial Analysts

1,270 2.0 37.58 78,160

Personal Financial Advisors

580 1.3 37.60 78,220

Insurance Underwriters

1,210 5.3 30.03 62,460

Financial Examiners

540 7.1 34.79 72,370

Credit Counselors

130 1.9 17.98 37,400

Loan Officers

1,920 2.6 29.78 61,940

Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

150 0.9 30.53 63,510

Tax Preparers

200 1.2 13.88 28,870

Financial Specialists, All Other

530 1.4 30.93 64,340

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA, 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, May 21, 2014