News Release Information


Thursday, May 2, 2013


May 2012

Workers in the Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $23.46 in May 2012, about 7 percent above 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 15 of the 22 major occupational groups, including protective service; healthcare practitioners and technical; and education, training, and library.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 8 of the 22 occupational groups, including food preparation and serving related, building and grounds cleaning and maintenance, and architecture and engineering. Conversely, eight groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including production, transportation and material moving, and office and administrative support. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

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

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0% $22.01 $23.46* 7


4.9 5.5* 52.20 55.08* 6

Business and financial operations

4.9 4.3 33.44 35.63* 7

Computer and mathematical

2.7 2.6 38.55 39.30 2

Architecture and engineering

1.8 2.6* 37.98 42.08* 11

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 1.4* 32.87 33.73 3

Community and social services

1.4 1.7* 21.27 22.80 7


0.8 0.5* 47.39 50.34 6

Education, training, and library

6.4 6.8 24.62 30.40* 23

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 1.9* 26.20 29.39* 12

Healthcare practitioner and technical

5.9 4.7 35.35 41.70* 18

Healthcare support

3.0 2.7 13.36 14.95* 12

Protective service

2.5 2.2* 20.70 27.38* 32

Food preparation and serving related

8.9 11.0* 10.28 10.88* 6

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.3 4.4* 12.34 13.01* 5

Personal care and service

2.9 2.4* 11.80 13.13* 11

Sales and related

10.6 9.7* 18.26 16.81* -8

Office and administrative support

16.4 15.2* 16.54 18.29* 11

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 3.8* 11.65 9.62* -17

Construction and extraction

3.8 3.7 21.61 24.35* 13

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 2.8* 21.09 23.18* 10


6.6 4.6* 16.59 17.49* 5

Transportation and material moving

6.7 5.3* 16.15 15.36* -5

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Santa Barbara 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—architecture and engineering—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta had 4,370 jobs in architecture and engineering, accounting for 2.6 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 1.8-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $42.08, measurably above the national wage of $37.98.

With employment of 430, mechanical engineers was the largest occupation within the architecture and engineering group, followed by civil engineers (420) and aerospace engineers (350). Among the higher paying jobs were petroleum engineers and computer hardware engineers, with mean hourly wages of $59.60 and $58.21, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were surveying and mapping technicians ($22.49) and environmental engineering technicians ($23.40). (Detailed occupational data for architecture and engineering 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 Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta Metropolitan Statistical Area, above average concentrations of employment were found in some of the occupations within the architecture and engineering group. For instance, health and safety engineers, except mining safety engineers and inspectors, were employed at 3.5 times the national rate in Santa Barbara, and aerospace engineers, at 3.4 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, electrical and electronics engineering technicians had a location quotient of 1.0 in Santa Barbara, 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 Santa Barbara 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 Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta Metropolitan Statistical Area included 2,105 establishments with a response rate of 76 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 Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, Calif. Metropolitan Statistical Area  includes Santa Barbara 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, Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2012
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual(4)

Architecture and Engineering Occupations


Architects, Except Landscape and Naval


Landscape Architects


Cartographers and Photogrammetrists




Aerospace Engineers


Civil Engineers


Computer Hardware Engineers


Electrical Engineers


Electronics Engineers, Except Computer


Environmental Engineers


Health and Safety Engineers, Except Mining Safety Engineers and Inspectors


Industrial Engineers


Mechanical Engineers


Petroleum Engineers


Engineers, All Other


Architectural and Civil Drafters


Electrical and Electronics Drafters


Mechanical Drafters


Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians


Civil Engineering Technicians


Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians


Electro-Mechanical Technicians


Environmental Engineering Technicians


Industrial Engineering Technicians


Mechanical Engineering Technicians


Surveying and Mapping Technicians


(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, 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 2, 2013