News Release Information


Friday, May 3, 2013


May 2012

Workers in the Modesto Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $20.64 in May 2012, about 6 percent below the nationwide average of $22.01, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were significantly higher than their respective national averages in 6 of the 22 major occupational groups, including healthcare practitioners and technical; community and social service; and education, training, and library. Eight groups had significantly lower wages than their respective national averages, including management; arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; and computer and mathematical.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 4 of the 22 occupational groups, including transportation and material moving; and education, training, and library. Conversely, 11 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including business and financial operations, computer and mathematical, and architecture and engineering. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Modesto Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2012
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Modesto United States Modesto Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0% $22.01 $20.64* -6


4.9 4.1* 52.20 46.89* -10

Business and financial operations

4.9 2.9* 33.44 29.75* -11

Computer and mathematical

2.7 0.9* 38.55 34.67* -10

Architecture and engineering

1.8 0.7* 37.98 34.64* -9

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 0.6* 32.87 31.16 -5

Community and social services

1.4 2.4* 21.27 24.07* 13


0.8 0.4* 47.39 42.77 -10

Education, training, and library

6.4 7.4* 24.62 26.60* 8

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 0.8* 26.20 22.15* -15

Healthcare practitioner and technical

5.9 6.4 35.35 44.47* 26

Healthcare support

3.0 3.1 13.36 14.30* 7

Protective service

2.5 1.8* 20.70 23.82 15

Food preparation and serving related

8.9 9.2 10.28 10.28 0

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.3 3.1 12.34 13.76* 12

Personal care and service

2.9 2.4* 11.80 12.12 3

Sales and related

10.6 11.1 18.26 15.54* -15

Office and administrative support

16.4 15.4* 16.54 16.16* -2

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 3.8* 11.65 9.67* -17

Construction and extraction

3.8 3.0* 21.61 22.80* 6

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 3.9 21.09 21.02 0


6.6 6.7 16.59 16.31 -2

Transportation and material moving

6.7 9.7* 16.15 16.60 3

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Modesto 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.

One occupational group—transportation and material moving—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Modesto had 14,800 jobs in transportation and material moving, accounting for 9.7 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 6.7-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $16.60, compared to the national wage of $16.15.

With employment of 3,970, laborers and freight, stock, and material movers by hand was the largest occupation within the transportation and material moving group, followed by heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (3,510) and industrial truck and tractor operators (1,480). Among the higher paying jobs were first-line supervisors of transportation and material-moving machine and vehicle operators, and first-line supervisors of helpers, laborers, and material movers by hand, with mean hourly wages of $26.28 and $23.24, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were taxi drivers and chauffeurs ($10.65) and cleaners of vehicles and equipment ($10.90). (Detailed occupational data for transportation and material moving are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available 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 Modesto Metropolitan Statistical Area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the transportation and material moving group. For instance, industrial truck and tractor operators were employed at 2.5 times the national rate in Modesto, and cleaners of vehicles and equipment, at 2.0 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, driver/sales workers had a location quotient of 1.0 in Modesto, 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 California Employment Development Department.

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 Modesto 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 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 Modesto Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,806 establishments with a response rate of 78 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 Modesto, Calif. Metropolitan Statistical Area  includes Stanislaus County.

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.

OOH Earnings Table Extraction Wizard - output frame
Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Modesto Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2012
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


Bus Drivers, Transit and Intercity


Bus Drivers, School or Special Client


Driver/Sales Workers


Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers


Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers


Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs


Motor Vehicle Operators, All Other


Automotive and Watercraft Service Attendants


Conveyor Operators and Tenders


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


Tank Car, Truck, and Ship Loaders


(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in Modesto, CA, 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) Estimate not released.


Last Modified Date: May 3, 2013