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June 05, 2014


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Occupational Employment And Wages In Huntsville, May 2013

Workers in the Huntsville Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $24.44 in May 2013, 9 percent above the nationwide average of $22.33, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Janet S. Rankin noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were significantly higher than their respective national averages in 4 of the 22 major occupational groups, including architecture and engineering, and business and financial operations. Twelve groups had significantly lower wages than their respective national averages, including construction and extraction; education, training, and library; and transportation and material moving.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 4 of the 22 occupational groups, including architecture and engineering, and computer and mathematical. Conversely, 15 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including office and administrative support, transportation and material moving, and food preparation and serving related. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

One occupational group—architecture and engineering—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Huntsville had 15,990 jobs in architecture and engineering, accounting for 7.6 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 1.8-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $45.31, measurably above the national wage of $38.51.

With employment of 2,450, aerospace engineers was one of the largest occupations within the architecture and engineering group, as were electrical engineers (2,040) and electronics engineers, except computer (1,220). Among the higher paying jobs were aerospace engineers and electronics engineers, except computer, with mean hourly wages of $51.18 and $50.51, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were electrical and electronics engineering technicians ($25.54) and industrial engineering technicians ($29.15). (Detailed occupational data for architecture and engineering are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to

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

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0% $22.33 $24.44* 9


4.9 4.5* 53.15 58.09* 9

Business and financial operations

5.0 7.6* 34.14 38.40* 12

Computer and mathematical

2.8 6.5* 39.43 41.57* 5

Architecture and engineering

1.8 7.6* 38.51 45.31* 18

Life, physical, and social science

0.9 0.7* 33.37 35.24 6

Community and social services

1.4 0.6* 21.50 20.35* -5


0.8 0.4* 47.89 47.27 -1

Education, training, and library

6.3 4.7* 24.76 21.18* -14

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 1.0* 26.72 23.95 -10

Healthcare practitioner and technical

5.8 5.4* 35.93 33.65* -6

Healthcare support

3.0 2.1* 13.61 12.34* -9

Protective service

2.5 1.8* 20.92 18.21* -13

Food preparation and serving related

9.0 7.5* 10.38 9.51* -8

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.2 3.0 12.51 10.50* -16

Personal care and service

3.0 2.2* 11.88 10.23* -14

Sales and related

10.6 10.4 18.37 16.16* -12

Office and administrative support

16.2 13.8* 16.78 15.42* -8

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 2* 11.70 12.70 9

Construction and extraction

3.8 3.3* 21.94 18.76* -14

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 3.9 21.35 20.72 -3


6.6 7.6* 16.79 16.90 1

Transportation and material moving

6.8 5.1* 16.28 14.15* -13

1 A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Huntsville is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.
2 Indicates a value of less than 0.05 percent
* 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.

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 than it does nationally. In the Huntsville Metropolitan Statistical Area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the architecture and engineering group. For instance, aerospace engineers were employed at 21.6 times the national rate in Huntsville, and electrical engineers, at 7.7 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, civil engineers had a location quotient of 0.8 in Huntsville, 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 Alabama Department of Labor.

OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Huntsville 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 Huntsville Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,936 establishments with a response rate of 79 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 Huntsville, Ala. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Limestone and Madison 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: 800-877-8339.

Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Huntsville Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2013
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Architecture and Engineering Occupations

15,990 4.2 $45.31 $94,250

Architects, Except Landscape and Naval

100 0.8 37.41 77,800


60 1.0 22.90 47,630

Aerospace Engineers

2,450 21.6 51.18 106,440

Chemical Engineers

(5) (5) 42.99 89,430

Civil Engineers

330 0.8 37.30 77,590

Computer Hardware Engineers

890 7.2 49.55 103,070

Electrical Engineers

2,040 7.7 48.64 101,160

Electronics Engineers, Except Computer

1,220 5.7 50.51 105,050

Environmental Engineers

170 2.0 38.11 79,270

Health and Safety Engineers, Except Mining Safety Engineers and Inspectors

130 3.4 48.77 101,440

Industrial Engineers

1,040 2.8 42.93 89,290

Materials Engineers

210 5.5 49.60 103,170

Mechanical Engineers

1,060 2.6 44.97 93,540

Nuclear Engineers

60 2.2 (5) (5)

Engineers, All Other

3,230 16.9 53.49 111,250

Architectural and Civil Drafters

70 0.5 20.71 43,080

Electrical and Electronics Drafters

230 4.8 34.44 71,630

Mechanical Drafters

160 1.6 30.22 62,850

Drafters, All Other

30 1.5 24.49 50,950

Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians

170 10.4 28.94 60,200

Civil Engineering Technicians

80 0.7 16.95 35,260

Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians

920 4.1 25.54 53,130

Electro-Mechanical Technicians

50 2.0 24.29 50,530

Environmental Engineering Technicians

180 6.4 23.95 49,820

Industrial Engineering Technicians

210 2.0 29.15 60,620

Mechanical Engineering Technicians

240 3.3 26.60 55,320

Engineering Technicians, Except Drafters, All Other

240 2.3 34.65 72,070

Surveying and Mapping Technicians

70 1.0 18.77 39,040

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in Huntsville, 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) Estimate not released.


Last Modified Date: Thursday, June 05, 2014