News Release Information


Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Further information:

Occupational Employment and Wages in Laredo, May 2012

Workers in the Laredo Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $16.87 in May 2012, about 23 percent below the nationwide average of $22.01, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Stanley W. Suchman 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 legal, computer and mathematical, and architecture and engineering.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 5 of the 22 occupational groups, including office and administrative support, personal care and service, and transportation and material moving. Conversely, 13 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including production, healthcare practitioners and technical, 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 Laredo Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2012
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Laredo United States Laredo Percent

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0% $22.01 $16.87 * -23


4.9 3.6 * 52.20 44.15 * -15

Business and financial operations

4.9 3.6 * 33.44 27.46 * -18

Computer and mathematical

2.7 0.8 * 38.55 28.68 * -26

Architecture and engineering

1.8 1.0 * 37.98 29.45 * -22

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 0.2 * 32.87 28.77 * -12

Community and social service

1.4 1.2 * 21.27 23.77 12


0.8 0.4 * 47.39 35.83 * -24

Education, training, and library

6.4 8.4 * 24.62 20.77 * -16

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 0.7 * 26.20 20.55 * -22

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.9 3.8 * 35.35 32.89 -7

Healthcare support

3.0 3.0 13.36 11.35 * -15

Protective service

2.5 4.9 * 20.70 24.25 17

Food preparation and serving related

8.9 9.1 10.28 8.87 * -14

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.3 2.3 * 12.34 9.92 * -20

Personal care and service

2.9 6.3 * 11.80 8.43 * -29

Sales and related

10.6 11.3 18.26 13.21 * -28

Office and administrative support

16.4 21.0 * 16.54 13.42 * -19

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 NA 11.65 NA

Construction and extraction

3.8 2.9 * 21.61 16.65 * -23

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 3.2 * 21.09 15.80 * -25


6.6 2.2 * 16.59 14.01 * -16

Transportation and material moving

6.7 10.0 * 16.15 14.18 * -12

* 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.
NA=Not Available
(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Laredo is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.

One occupational group–office and administrative support–was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Laredo had 18,930 jobs in office and administrative support, accounting for 21.0 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 16.4-percent national share. However, the average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $13.42, 19 percent below the national wage of $16.54.

With employment of 2,620, general office clerks was the largest occupation within the office and administrative support group, followed by customer service representatives (2,140) and cargo and freight agents (1,710). Among the higher paying jobs were first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers, as well as executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants, with mean hourly wages of $24.20 and $21.82, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks ($8.98) and stock clerks and order fillers ($9.90). (Detailed data for office and administrative support are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations 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 Laredo metropolitan area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the office and administrative support group. For instance, dispatchers (except police, fire, and ambulance) were employed at 3.7 times the national rate in Laredo, and cargo and freight agents at more than 30 times the U.S. average. Laredo’s cargo and freight agents location quotient of 31.4 was the highest for this occupation among all U.S. metropolitan areas, far surpassing the second-highest quotient of 6.1 in Miami. On the other hand, bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks had a location quotient of 1.1 in Laredo, 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 Texas Workforce Commission.

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

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

OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Laredo 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

TThe 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 Laredo Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,072 establishments with a response rate of 65 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

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 Laredo Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Webb County in Texas.

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: 1-800-877-8339.

Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation,
Laredo Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2012
Occupation(1) Employment Mean wages
Level(2) Location
Hourly Annual(4)

Office and administrative support occupations

18,930 1.3 $13.42 $27,910

First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers

1,430 1.5 24.20 50,330

Switchboard operators, including answering service

60 0.7 9.79 20,350

Bill and account collectors

260 1.0 16.26 33,820

Billing and posting clerks

300 0.9 12.88 26,790

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

1,220 1.1 13.13 27,300

Payroll and timekeeping clerks

170 1.4 13.47 28,010

Procurement clerks

(5) (5) 14.07 29,270


370 1.0 10.82 22,510

Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks

(5) (5) 12.09 25,140

Customer service representatives

2,140 1.4 11.00 22,880

Eligibility interviewers, government programs

120 1.4 14.74 30,650

File clerks

140 1.2 10.23 21,270

Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks

130 0.8 8.98 18,670

Interviewers, except eligibility and loan

60 0.5 13.21 27,470

Loan interviewers and clerks

130 1.0 13.00 27,040

Order clerks

180 1.3 15.80 32,860

Human resources assistants, except payroll and timekeeping

100 1.1 14.49 30,130

Receptionists and information clerks

520 0.8 9.27 19,290

Information and record clerks, all other

80 0.7 14.57 30,310

Cargo and freight agents

1,710 31.4 13.92 28,950

Couriers and messengers

150 2.8 8.97 18,660

Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers

50 0.7 14.18 29,500

Dispatchers, except police, fire, and ambulance

470 3.7 13.63 28,360

Postal service mail carriers

120 0.6 25.31 52,640

Production, planning, and expediting clerks

430 2.2 14.04 29,190

Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks

1,050 2.2 12.96 26,950

Stock clerks and order fillers

1,470 1.2 9.90 20,580

Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, recordkeeping

50 1.0 17.34 36,070

Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants

380 0.7 21.82 45,380

Medical secretaries

550 1.6 11.50 23,930

Secretaries & administrative assistants, except legal, medical, & executive

1,580 1.1 13.21 27,480

Data entry keyers

310 2.2 9.59 19,940

Office clerks, general

2,620 1.4 11.73 24,400

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Laredo MSA, 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) Estimates not available.

Last Modified Date: August 27, 2013