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Thursday, April 23, 2015


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Occupational Employment and Wages in Anchorage, May 2014

Workers in the Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $26.30 in May 2014, about 16 percent above the nationwide average of $22.71, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were higher than their respective national averages in 16 of the 22 major occupational groups, including architecture and engineering; transportation and material moving; and construction and extraction. Three groups had significantly lower wages than their respective national averages: computer and mathematical; arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; and sales and related.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 9 of the 22 occupational groups, including personal care and service; construction and extraction; and architecture and engineering. Conversely, seven groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including production; sales and related; and computer and mathematical. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2014
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Anchorage United States Anchorage Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0% $22.71 $26.30* 16


5.0 5.7* 54.08 52.80 -2

Business and financial operations

5.1 4.7* 34.81 36.91* 6

Computer and mathematical

2.8 1.8* 40.37 36.40* -10

Architecture and engineering

1.8 2.9* 39.19 50.30* 28

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 1.6* 33.69 38.29* 14

Community and social services

1.4 1.8* 21.79 24.57* 13


0.8 0.9 48.61 45.00 -7

Education, training, and library

6.2 5.7* 25.10 25.78 3

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 1.2 26.82 25.24* -6

Healthcare practitioner and technical

5.8 5.7 36.54 42.48* 16

Healthcare support

2.9 2.9 13.86 19.24* 39

Protective service

2.4 2.2 21.14 24.38* 15

Food preparation and serving related

9.1 8.9 10.57 12.43* 18

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.2 2.8* 12.68 14.23* 12

Personal care and service

3.1 4.8* 12.01 14.14* 18

Sales and related

10.5 9.4* 18.59 17.61* -5

Office and administrative support

16.0 17.0* 17.08 19.94* 17

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1* 12.09 15.81* 31

Construction and extraction

3.9 5.5* 22.40 30.69* 37

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 4.9* 21.74 27.35* 26


6.6 1.9* 17.06 22.65* 33

Transportation and material moving

6.8 7.4* 16.57 26.27* 59

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Anchorage 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—construction and extraction—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Anchorage had 9,690 jobs in construction and extraction, accounting for 5.5 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 3.9-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $30.69, significantly above the national wage of $22.40.

Some of the largest detailed occupations within the construction and extraction group included construction laborers (1,470), carpenters (1,370), and operating engineers and other construction equipment operators (1,280). Among the higher paying jobs were first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers; and oil, gas, and mining service unit operators, with mean hourly wages of $45.44 and $40.34, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were electrician helpers ($18.75) and carpenter helpers ($19.69). (Detailed occupational data for construction and extraction 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 than it does nationally. In the Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the construction and extraction group. For instance, pile-driver operators were employed at 43.9 times the national rate in Anchorage, and hazardous materials removal workers, at 3.4 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, construction and maintenance painters had a location quotient of 1.1 in Anchorage, 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 Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development.


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. 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 weighted sampled employment. The unweighted employment of sampled establishments across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 57.1 percent of total national employment. (Response rates are slightly lower for these estimates due to the federal shutdown in October 2013.) The sample in the Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area included 2,121 establishments with a response rate of 80 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 Anchorage, Alaska Metropolitan Statistical Area  includes Anchorage Borough and Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

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, Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2014
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Construction and Extraction Occupations

9,690 1.4 $30.69 $63,830

First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers

520 0.8 45.44 94,520


1,370 1.7 31.91 66,380

Floor Layers, Except Carpet, Wood, and Hard Tiles

(5) (5) 29.31 60,960

Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers

120 0.6 26.40 54,910

Construction Laborers

1,470 1.3 20.48 42,590

Pile-Driver Operators

200 43.9 31.27 65,040

Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators

1,280 2.9 31.85 66,250


1,130 1.5 37.67 78,350


80 1.4 22.98 47,800

Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall

(5) (5) 24.80 51,590

Painters, Construction and Maintenance

280 1.1 23.23 48,320


(5) (5) 31.90 66,360

Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters

970 2.0 32.36 67,300


200 1.4 27.49 57,190

Sheet Metal Workers

160 1.0 29.73 61,850

Structural Iron and Steel Workers

100 1.3 30.91 64,290


170 3.3 19.69 40,950


110 1.3 18.75 38,990

Construction and Building Inspectors

190 1.7 38.16 79,380

Hazardous Materials Removal Workers

190 3.4 25.58 53,210

Construction and Related Workers, All Other

80 1.9 29.46 61,270

Derrick Operators, Oil and Gas

130 5.0 37.60 78,200

Rotary Drill Operators, Oil and Gas

150 4.2 37.85 78,720

Service Unit Operators, Oil, Gas, and Mining

110 1.4 40.34 83,900

Earth Drillers, Except Oil and Gas

30 1.2 27.03 56,220

Roustabouts, Oil and Gas

(5) (5) 25.67 53,400

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in Anchorage, AK, 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, April 23, 2015