Occupational Employment and Wages in Memphis, May 2012
Workers in the Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $19.56 in May 2012, about 11 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, wages in the local area were significantly lower than their respective national averages in 18 of the 22 major occupational groups, including construction and extraction, management, and business and financial operations.
When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 4 of the 22 occupational groups, including transportation and material moving, protective service, and healthcare practitioners and technical. Conversely, 13 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including education, training, and library; food preparation and serving related; and healthcare support. (See table A and box note at end of release.)
One occupational group—transportation and material moving—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Memphis had 83,270 jobs in transportation and material moving, accounting for 14.1 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 6.7-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $15.51, measurably below the national wage of $16.15.
With employment of 33,440, hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers was the largest occupation within the transportation and material moving group, followed by heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (13,590) and light truck or delivery services drivers (5,790). Among the higher paying jobs were first-line supervisors of transportation and material moving machine and vehicle operators, and first-line supervisors of hand helpers, laborers, and material movers, with mean hourly wages of $26.10 and $23.34, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were hand packers and packagers ($10.19) and cleaners of vehicles and equipment ($10.35). (Detailed occupational data for transportation and material moving are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to www.bls.gov/oes/2012/may/oes_32820.htm.)
|Major occupational group||Percent of total employment||Mean hourly wage|
|United States||Memphis||United States||Memphis||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 Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the transportation and material moving group. For instance, hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers were employed at 3.4 times the national rate in Memphis, and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, at 1.9 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, driver/sales workers had a location quotient of 1.2 in Memphis, 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 Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
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 Memphis 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 Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area included 4,626 establishments with a response rate of 78 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 Memphis, Tenn. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Crittenden County, Arkansas; DeSoto, Marshall, Tate, and Tunica Counties of Mississippi, and Fayette, Shelby, and Tipton Counties of Tennessee.
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 at www.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)|
Transportation and Material Moving Occupations
First-Line Supervisors of Helpers, Laborers, and Material Movers, Hand
First-Line Supervisors of Transportation and Material-Moving Machine and Vehicle Operators
Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers
Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Except Emergency Medical Technicians
Bus Drivers, Transit and Intercity
Bus Drivers, School or Special Client
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers
Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers
Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs
Motor Vehicle Operators, All Other
Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators
Sailors and Marine Oilers
Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels
Parking Lot Attendants
Automotive and Watercraft Service Attendants
Transportation Workers, All Other
Crane and Tower Operators
Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators
Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators
Cleaners of Vehicles and Equipment
Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand
Machine Feeders and Offbearers
Packers and Packagers, Hand
Pump Operators, Except Wellhead Pumpers
Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors
Tank Car, Truck, and Ship Loaders
Material Moving Workers, All Other
Last Modified Date: June 6, 2013