Workers in the Boulder Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $25.65 in May 2010, roughly 20 percent above the nationwide average of $21.35, 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 higher than their respective national averages in 14 of the 22 major occupational groups, including life, physical, and social science; sales and related; and healthcare support. Only one group had significantly lower wages than their respective national averages: construction and extraction.
When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 7 of the 22 occupational groups, including computer and mathematical, architecture and engineering, and life, physical, and social science. Conversely, 12 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including transportation and material moving, office and administrative support, and production. (See table A and box note at end of release.)
|Major occupational group||Percent of total employment||Average hourly wage|
|United States||Boulder||United States||Boulder|
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
One occupational group—architecture and engineering—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Boulder had 6,530 jobs in architecture and engineering, accounting for 4.3 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 1.8-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $42.06, measurably above the national wage of $36.32.
With employment of 690, computer hardware engineers was the largest occupation within the architecture and engineering group, followed by mechanical engineers (610) and industrial engineers (430). Among the higher paying jobs were computer hardware engineers and mechinal engineers, with mean hourly wages of $57.99 and $48.18, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were industrial engineering technicians ($23.09). (Detailed occupational data for architecture and engineering are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_14500.htm).
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 Boulder Metropolitan Statistical Area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the architecture and engineering group. For instance, aerospace engineering and operations technicians were employed at 13.8 times the national rate in Boulder, and computer hardware engineers, at 8.7 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, civil engineers had a location quotient of 1.2 in Boulder, 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 Colorado Department of Labor & Employment. The OES survey provides estimates of employment and hourly and annual wages for wage and salary workers in 22 major occupational groups and nearly 800 non-military detailed occupations for the nation, states, metropolitan statistical areas, metropolitan divisions, and nonmetropolitan areas.
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 also are surveyed, but their data are not included in this release. OES estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.2 million establishments. Forms are mailed to approximately 200,000 establishments in May and November of each year for a 3-year period. The nationwide response rate for the May 2010 survey was 78.2 percent based on establishments and 74.4 percent based on employment. May 2010 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2010, November 2009, May 2009, November 2008, May 2008, and November 2007. The sample in the Boulder Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,950 establishments with a response rate of 76 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.
The May 2010 OES estimates mark the first set of estimates based in part on data collected using the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. Nearly all the occupations in this release are 2010 SOC occupations; however, some are not. The May 2012 OES data will reflect the full set of detailed occupations in the 2010 SOC. For a list of all occupations, including 2010 SOC occupations, and how data collected on two structures were combined, see the OES Frequently Asked Questions online at www.bls.gov/oes/oes_ques.htm#Ques41.
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 Boulder Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Boulder County in Colorado.
OES data are available on our regional web page at www.bls.gov/ro7/home.htm. If you have additional questions, contact the Mountain-Plains Economic Analysis and Information Unit at (816) 285-7000. Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; TDD message referral phone number: 1 (800) 877-8339.
|Level (1)||Location quotient (2)||Hourly||Annual|
Architecture and Engineering Occupations
Architects, Except Landscape and Naval
Cartographers and Photogrammetrists
Computer Hardware Engineers
Electronics Engineers, Except Computer
Engineers, All Other
Architectural and Civil Drafters
Electrical and Electronics Drafters
Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians
Civil Engineering Technicians
Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians
Industrial Engineering Technicians
Mechanical Engineering Technicians
Engineering Technicians, Except Drafters, All Other
Surveying and Mapping Technicians
Last Modified Date: September 19, 2012