News Release Information

14-1248-ATL

Thursday, July 31, 2014

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Occupational Employment and Wages in Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, May 2013

Workers in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $17.63 in May 2013, 21 percent below 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 lower than their respective national averages in 21 of the 22 major occupational groups, including education, training, and library; construction and extraction; and sales and related.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 5 of the 22 occupational groups, including production, transportation and material moving, and healthcare practitioners and technical. Conversely, 15 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including office and administrative support, business and financial operations, and management. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

One occupational group—production—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton had 29,630 jobs in production, accounting for 20.6 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 6.6-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $14.85, measurably below the national wage of $16.79.

With employment of 4,180, team assemblers was the largest occupation within the production group, followed by upholsterers (2,590) and sewing machine operators (1,900). Among the higher paying jobs were first-line supervisors of production and operating workers, and upholsterers, with mean hourly wages of $23.93 and $18.34, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were team assemblers ($12.51) and production workers helpers ($12.78). (Detailed occupational data for production are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_25860.htm.)

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

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0% $22.33 $17.63* -21

Management

4.9 3.4* 53.15 50.44* -5

Business and financial operations

5.0 2.3* 34.14 28.68* -16

Computer and mathematical

2.8 0.8* 39.43 31.09* -21

Architecture and engineering

1.8 0.9* 38.51 30.21* -22

Life, physical, and social science

0.9 0.4* 33.37 27.59* -17

Community and social services

1.4 1.4 21.50 18.26* -15

Legal

0.8 0.3* 47.89 36.65* -23

Education, training, and library

6.3 5.7* 24.76 19.05* -23

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 0.5* 26.72 18.00* -33

Healthcare practitioner and technical

5.8 7.0* 35.93 30.91* -14

Healthcare support

3.0 4.0* 13.61 12.07* -11

Protective service

2.5 2.7* 20.92 14.84* -29

Food preparation and serving related

9.0 8.3* 10.38 9.27* -11

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.2 2.3* 12.51 11.08* -11

Personal care and service

3.0 1.9* 11.88 10.47* -12

Sales and related

10.6 9.3* 18.37 15.24* -17

Office and administrative support

16.2 12.8* 16.78 14.98* -11

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1* 11.70 12.32 5

Construction and extraction

3.8 2.0* 21.94 16.93* -23

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 4.1 21.35 18.19* -15

Production

6.6 20.6* 16.79 14.85* -12

Transportation and material moving

6.8 9.3* 16.28 14.62* -10

1 A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Hickory 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.

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 Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the production group. For instance, upholsterers were employed at 82.9 times the national rate in Hickory, and sewing machine operators, at 12.2 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, butchers and meat cutters had a location quotient of 1.0 in Hickory, 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 North Carolina Department of Commerce.

OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Hickory 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 Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,696 establishments with a response rate of 91 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.

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 www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcst.htm and www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm , 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 www.bls.gov/soc and information about the 2012 NAICS is available at www.bls.gov/bls/naics.htm .

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 Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, N.C. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba Counties.

Additional information

OES data are available on our regional web page at www.bls.gov/ro4. Answers to frequently asked questions about the OES data are available at www.bls.gov/oes/oes_ques.htm. Detailed technical information about the OES survey is available in our Survey Methods and Reliability Statement on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/oes/2013/may/methods_statement.pdf. 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, Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2013
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Production Occupations

29,6303.1$14.85$30,890

First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers

1,7402.823.9349,770

Coil Winders, Tapers, and Finishers

1006.114.0129,140

Electrical and Electronic Equipment Assemblers

1500.713.6528,380

Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters

901.014.1329,380

Team Assemblers

4,1803.712.5126,010

Assemblers and Fabricators, All Other

1100.411.6424,220

Bakers

2401.39.8720,530

Butchers and Meat Cutters

1601.013.4828,030

Food Batchmakers

(5)(5)9.5319,810

Extruding and Drawing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

6007.518.5138,500

Cutting, Punching, and Press Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

4702.313.0027,040

Machinists

8602.015.2231,650

Molding, Coremaking, and Casting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

2301.715.4032,030

Tool and Die Makers

1101.321.0443,760

Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers

4001.114.6630,480

Welding, Soldering, and Brazing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

400.718.1737,790

Heat Treating Equipment Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

703.113.6028,280

Plating and Coating Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

501.213.4928,050

Prepress Technicians and Workers

(5)(5)15.6332,510

Printing Press Operators

2801.616.1133,500

Print Binding and Finishing Workers

1101.914.7730,730

Laundry and Dry-Cleaning Workers

3001.49.7020,180

Pressers, Textile, Garment, and Related Materials

1202.110.0720,950

Sewing Machine Operators

1,90012.214.4129,960

Tailors, Dressmakers, and Custom Sewers

(5)(5)8.8118,330

Textile Bleaching and Dyeing Machine Operators and Tenders

52041.512.6126,230

Textile Cutting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

29017.616.0733,430

Textile Knitting and Weaving Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

67027.712.9626,960

Textile Winding, Twisting, and Drawing Out Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

29010.212.2225,410

Extruding and Forming Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Synthetic and Glass Fibers

23011.013.9429,000

Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers

25038.319.2940,130

Upholsterers

2,59082.918.3438,150

Cabinetmakers and Bench Carpenters

3403.814.8630,900

Furniture Finishers

85054.213.8828,880

Model Makers, Wood

140106.217.3736,120

Patternmakers, Wood

8088.817.7536,920

Sawing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Wood

47010.313.5028,080

Woodworking Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Except Sawing

1,12015.512.7926,590

Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant and System Operators

1401.216.0433,360

Grinding and Polishing Workers, Hand

35010.212.8626,750

Mixing and Blending Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

3402.713.7528,590

Cutters and Trimmers, Hand

58038.915.5232,280

Cutting and Slicing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

5608.814.1629,450

Extruding, Forming, Pressing, and Compacting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

1001.316.1033,500

Furnace, Kiln, Oven, Drier, and Kettle Operators and Tenders

502.417.0635,480

Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers

1,2402.413.7828,670

Dental Laboratory Technicians

401.017.7736,970

Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders

7001.713.0427,120

Coating, Painting, and Spraying Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

4004.314.3229,790

Painting, Coating, and Decorating Workers

(5)(5)16.5534,430

Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators

701.7(5)(5)

Adhesive Bonding Machine Operators and Tenders

23011.712.5226,040

Molders, Shapers, and Casters, Except Metal and Plastic

(5)(5)11.4923,890

Paper Goods Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

2002.016.4834,280

Helpers-Production Workers

1,7703.812.7826,580

Production Workers, All Other

5502.416.9535,250

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, see www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_25860.htm.
(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: July 31, 2014