Occupational Employment and Wages in Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton,
Workers in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $17.42 in May 2012, about 21 percent below the nationwide average of $22.01, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Janet S. Rankin noted that, after testing for statistical significance, twenty-one groups had significantly lower wages than their respective national averages, including construction and extraction; education, training, and library; 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 support. Conversely, 15 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including office and administrative support, management, and food preparation and serving related. (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 28,000 jobs in production, accounting for 19.6 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 6.6-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $14.75, measurably below the national wage of $16.59.
With employment of 3,340, team assemblers was the largest occupation within the production group, followed by upholsterers (2,380) and sewing machine operators (1,950). Among the higher paying jobs were first-line supervisors of production and operating workers and upholsterers, with mean hourly wages of $23.31 and $18.81, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were team assemblers ($12.53) and production workers helpers ($12.96). (Detailed occupational data for production are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to www.bls.gov/oes/2012/may/oes_25860.htm.)
|Major occupational group||Percent of total employment||Mean hourly wage|
|United States||Hickory||United States||Hickory||Percent difference (1)|
Total, all occupations
Business and financial operations
Computer and mathematical
Architecture and engineering
Life, physical, and social science
Community and social services
Education, training, and library
Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media
Healthcare practitioner and technical
Food preparation and serving related
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance
Personal care and service
Sales and related
Office and administrative support
Farming, fishing, and forestry
Construction and extraction
Installation, maintenance, and repair
Transportation and material moving
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 77.9 times the national rate in Hickory, and sewing machine operators, at 12.5 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, electrical and electronic equipment assemblers had a location quotient of 1.1 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.
With the release of the May 2012 estimates, OES data are based on the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system for the first time. The OES survey provides estimates of employment and hourly and annual wages for wage and salary workers in 22 major occupational groups and more than 800 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 for the first time. Information about the 2010 SOC is available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/soc.
The May 2012 OES estimates are the first to be produced using the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Information about the 2012 NAICS is available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/bls/naics.htm .
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.
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 2012 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected in May 2012, November 2011, May 2011, November 2010, May 2010, and November 2009. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 76.6 percent based on establishments and 72.9 percent based on employment. The sample in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,698 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 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.
OES data are available on our regional web page at www.bls.gov/ro4/home.htm. 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 atwww.bls.gov/oes/2012/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.
|Occupation (1)||Employment||Mean wages|
|Level (2)||Location quotient (3)||Hourly||Annual (4)|
First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers
Coil Winders, Tapers, and Finishers
Electrical and Electronic Equipment Assemblers
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters
Assemblers and Fabricators, All Other
Butchers and Meat Cutters
Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic
Cutting, Punching, and Press Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
Drilling and Boring Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
Grinding, Lapping, Polishing, and Buffing Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
Milling and Planing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
Molding, Coremaking, and Casting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
Multiple Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
Tool and Die Makers
Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers
Welding, Soldering, and Brazing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
Heat Treating Equipment Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
Prepress Technicians and Workers
Printing Press Operators
Print Binding and Finishing Workers
Laundry and Dry-Cleaning Workers
Pressers, Textile, Garment, and Related Materials
Sewing Machine Operators
Textile Bleaching and Dyeing Machine Operators and Tenders
Textile Cutting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
Textile Knitting and Weaving Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
Textile Winding, Twisting, and Drawing Out Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
Extruding and Forming Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Synthetic and Glass Fibers
Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers
Cabinetmakers and Bench Carpenters
Model Makers, Wood
Sawing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Wood
Woodworking Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Except Sawing
Power Plant Operators
Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant and System Operators
Grinding and Polishing Workers, Hand
Mixing and Blending Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
Cutters and Trimmers, Hand
Cutting and Slicing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
Extruding, Forming, Pressing, and Compacting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
Furnace, Kiln, Oven, Drier, and Kettle Operators and Tenders
Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers
Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders
Coating, Painting, and Spraying Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
Painting, Coating, and Decorating Workers
Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators
Adhesive Bonding Machine Operators and Tenders
Paper Goods Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
Production Workers, All Other
Last Modified Date: July 11, 2013