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Economic News Release
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OEWS OEWS Program Links

Occupational Employment and Wages Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Wednesday, March 31, 2021 			         USDL-21-0581

Technical information:	(202) 691-6569  *  oewsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/oes 
Media contact:		(202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


			OCCUPATIONAL EMPLOYMENT AND WAGES -- MAY 2020


Healthcare support occupations had employment of 6.4 million in May 2020, representing
4.6 percent of total national employment, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported
today. The largest healthcare support occupation was home health and personal care 
aides (3.2 million) and the highest paying healthcare support occupation was occupational
therapy assistants ($63,420). The annual mean wage across all healthcare support 
occupations was $32,250, compared with the U.S. average wage of $56,310. (See table 1.)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program provides employment and
wage estimates for nearly 800 occupations in the nation, states, and approximately 530
areas. National data are available by industry for approximately 415 industry 
classifications and by ownership across all industries and for the educational services
and hospitals industries. This news release features healthcare support, educational 
instruction and library, and food preparation and serving related occupations, in 
addition to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) occupations and 
employment and wages by typical entry-level educational requirement. National 
employment and wage information for all occupations is shown in table 1.

 _______________________________________________________________________________________
|											|
|           Notes on Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) Data            |
|											|
| The BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program has changed its name to 	|
| Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS). See box notes at the end of this  |
| news release for information on the following topics: the OEWS name change, the 	|
| impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on OEWS data, the use of a hybrid 2010 and 2018 	|
| Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system, and upcoming changes to OEWS	|
| methodology.										|
|_______________________________________________________________________________________|


Healthcare support occupations

   --The largest healthcare support occupations were home health and personal care aides
     (3.2 million), nursing assistants (1.4 million), and medical assistants (710,200). 
     Healthcare support workers assist healthcare practitioners and technical occupations,
     such as physicians and nurses. (See table 1.)

   --The largest healthcare support occupation, home health and personal care aides, was
     also the lowest paying, with an annual mean wage of $28,060. The lowest paying 
     healthcare support occupations also included physical therapist aides ($30,110) and
     veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers ($30,980). (See table 1.)

   --The highest paying healthcare support occupations were occupational therapy 
     assistants ($63,420) and physical therapist assistants ($59,440). Both occupations
     typically require an associate's degree for entry. (See table 1.) 

   --Industries with the largest employment of healthcare support occupations were 
     individual and family services (1.5 million), home health care services (959,870),
     general medical and surgical hospitals (702,320), and nursing care facilities 
     (skilled nursing facilities) (630,550).

   --Alaska ($42,080) and Washington ($38,330) were the states with the highest wages 
     for healthcare support occupations.

National industry-specific data are available at www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrci.htm.

State data are available at www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcst.htm.

Educational instruction and library occupations

   --Educational instruction and library occupations had employment of 8.4 million, 
     representing 6.1 percent of U.S. employment, and an annual mean wage of $59,810.
     (See table 1.)

   --Seventy-four percent of educational instruction and library jobs were in the 
     public sector, compared with 15 percent of overall employment. Almost 88 percent 
     of elementary school teachers, except special education were employed in local 
     government.

   --The highest paying educational instruction and library occupations included 
     postsecondary law teachers ($134,760) and postsecondary health specialties teachers
     ($124,890). The lowest paying occupations in this group included teaching assistants,
     except postsecondary ($30,630) and short-term substitute teachers ($36,090). (See 
     table 1.)

   --Elementary school teachers, except special education had an annual mean wage of 
     $65,420 nationally. California ($85,110) and Massachusetts ($84,810) were among the 
     highest paying states for this occupation; Mississippi ($43,280) and South Dakota 
     ($44,790) were the lowest paying states.

Public/private sector ownership data are available at www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrci.htm.

Food preparation and serving related occupations

   --Food preparation and serving related occupations had total employment of 11.3 million,
     representing 8.1 percent of U.S. employment. This was the lowest paying occupational 
     group overall, with an annual mean wage of $27,650. (See table 1.)

   --The largest food preparation and serving related occupations were fast food and 
     counter workers (3.5 million), waiters and waitresses (1.9 million), and restaurant 
     cooks (1.1 million). (See table 1.)

   --Chefs and head cooks ($58,740) was the only food preparation and serving related 
     occupation with a mean wage above the U.S. average of $56,310. The lowest paying food
     preparation and serving related occupations were fast food cooks ($24,300) and fast 
     food and counter workers ($24,540). (See table 1.)

   --Nearly 8.1 million food preparation and serving related jobs were in restaurants and
     other eating places, representing 72 percent of employment in this occupational group.
     After restaurants and other eating places, the industries with the largest employment
     of food preparation and serving related occupations were special food services 
     (447,500), which includes food service contractors and caterers, and food and beverage
     stores (401,770).

   --Food preparation and serving related occupations made up 16.7 percent of employment in
     Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC, compared with 8.1 percent of U.S. 
     employment. Metropolitan areas with the highest shares of food preparation and serving
     related occupations also included Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC, and 
     Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI (both 15.5 percent).

Metropolitan area data are available at www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations

   --There were over 9.3 million STEM jobs representing 6.7 percent of total U.S. 
     employment.

   --Six of the 10 largest STEM occupations were related to computers and included software
     developers and software quality assurance analysts and testers (1.5 million) and 
     computer user support specialists (634,820). (See table 1.)

   --Areas with the highest employment shares of STEM occupations were California-Lexington
     Park, MD (26.0 percent), and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA (22.2 percent).

   --Industries with the highest shares of STEM occupations included computer systems design
     and related services (63.9 percent); architectural, engineering, and related services 
     (63.2 percent); and software publishers (59.1 percent). 

   --STEM occupations had an annual mean wage of $98,340, compared with $53,220 for non-STEM
     occupations. Eighty-eight of the 98 STEM occupations had mean wages significantly above
     the all-occupations average of $56,310. (See table 1.)

   --The highest paying STEM occupations were the three STEM-related management 
     occupations--computer and information systems managers ($161,730), architectural and 
     engineering managers ($158,100), and natural sciences managers ($154,930)--and petroleum
     engineers ($154,330). (See table 1.)

   --The lowest paying STEM occupations were forest and conservation technicians ($42,780) 
     and agricultural and food science technicians ($45,920). (See table 1.)

Occupations included in the STEM definition used for this news release are available at
www.bls.gov/oes/stem_list_2020.xlsx. Additional STEM charts are available at 
www.bls.gov/oes/current/overview_2020.htm.

Largest occupations

   --The largest occupations overall were retail salespersons (3.7 million), fast food
     and counter workers (3.5 million), cashiers (3.3 million), and home health and 
     personal care aides (3.2 million). (See table 1.) 

   --Eight of the 10 largest occupations had below-average wages, including retail 
     salespersons ($30,940) and fast food and counter workers ($24,540). (See table 1.) 

   --Of the 10 largest occupations, registered nurses ($80,010) and general and operations
     managers ($125,740) were the only occupations with above-average wages. (See table 1.)

Public sector occupations

   --The public sector made up 15 percent of employment and had a different occupational 
     mix from the private sector. 

   --Many of the largest public sector occupations were related to education. These 
     occupations included elementary school teachers, except special education (public 
     sector employment of 1.2 million); teaching assistants, except postsecondary (1.0 
     million); secondary school teachers, except special and career/technical education 
     (856,990); and middle school teachers, except special and career/technical education 
     (531,970).

   --Outside of the educational instruction and library group, the occupations with the
     highest public sector employment included police and sheriff's patrol officers 
     (648,040); registered nurses (508,420); and secretaries and administrative 
     assistants, except legal, medical, and executive (483,020).

Typical entry-level education

   --Occupations typically requiring no formal educational credential for entry made up
     23 percent of employment. The largest occupations in this category were retail 
     salespersons (3.7 million) and fast food and counter workers (3.5 million). These 
     were also the two largest occupations overall.

   --Home health and personal care aides (3.2 million) was the largest occupation 
     typically requiring a high school diploma or the equivalent for entry, followed by
     customer service representatives and general office clerks (each 2.8 million). 
     Occupations in this educational category made up about 38 percent of total employment.

   --Occupations typically requiring postsecondary education for entry made up 39 percent
     of employment. The largest postsecondary category, occupations typically requiring a
     bachelor's degree for entry, made up nearly 24 percent of employment. This 
     educational category includes registered nurses; teachers at the kindergarten through
     secondary levels; and many management, business and financial operations, computer, 
     and engineering occupations.

   --Average wages were generally higher for occupations requiring more education. Annual
     mean wages were $30,590 for occupations typically requiring no formal educational 
     credential for entry, $45,630 for occupations typically requiring a high school 
     diploma or the equivalent, $60,430 for occupations typically requiring an associate's
     degree, and $91,140 for occupations typically requiring a bachelor's degree.

   --The highest paying occupations typically requiring a high school diploma or equivalent
     for entry were commercial pilots ($110,830); transportation, storage, and distribution
     managers ($105,100); and nuclear power reactor operators ($104,470).

The typical education level required to enter an occupation is based on education and 
training categories from the BLS Employment Projections program. More information about the
system of education and training categories is available at 
www.bls.gov/emp/documentation/education/tech.htm. Typical entry-level educational 
requirements assigned to each occupation in the May 2020 OEWS estimates are available at 
www.bls.gov/oes/educ_list_2020.xlsx. Additional charts are available at
www.bls.gov/oes/current/overview_2020.htm.


 _______________________________________________________________________________________
|											|
|            Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) Name Change             |
|											|
| The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program has changed its name to 		|
| Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) to better reflect the range of 	|
| data available from the program. Data released on or after March 31, 2021, will 	|
| reflect the new program name. Webpages, publications, and other materials associated  |
| with previous data releases will retain the Occupational Employment Statistics name.	|
|_______________________________________________________________________________________|
 
 
 _______________________________________________________________________________________
|											|
| Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on May 2020 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics |
|											|
| Due to features of the OEWS methodology, the May 2020 OEWS estimates do not fully 	|
| reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The May 2020 OEWS estimates are based on |
| survey panels collected for May 2020, November 2019, May 2019, November 2018, May 	|
| 2018, and November 2017. Because 5 of the 6 survey panels used to produce the 	|
| estimates date from before the COVID-19 pandemic, only the most recent (May 2020) 	|
| survey panel reflects changes in occupational proportions related to the COVID-19 	|
| pandemic. 										|
|											|
| The May 2020 OEWS employment estimates are benchmarked to the average of May 2020 and |
| November 2019 employment from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). 	|
| Although the May 2020 QCEW data reflect the early employment effects of the COVID-19 	|
| pandemic, the November 2019 QCEW employment data precede the pandemic, and therefore 	|
| do not reflect its impact.								|
|											|
| In addition, as a result of the pandemic, response rates for the November 2019 and 	|
| May 2020 panels were lower in some areas. Lower response rates may negatively affect  |
| data availability and data quality. 							|
|											|
| More information is available at www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-	|
| occupational-employment-and-wage-statistics.htm.					|
|_______________________________________________________________________________________|


 _______________________________________________________________________________________
|											|
|        Implementing the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) System        |
|											|
| With the May 2019 estimates, the OEWS program began implementing the 2018 Standard 	|
| Occupational Classification (SOC) system. Because the May 2019 and May 2020 estimates |
| are based on a combination of survey data collected using the 2010 SOC and survey 	|
| data collected using the 2018 SOC, these estimates use a hybrid of the two 		|
| classification systems that contains some combinations of occupations that are not 	|
| found in either the 2010 or 2018 SOC. This is the second and final year that the 	|
| hybrid occupational structure will be used. The May 2021 estimates, to be published 	|
| in Spring 2022, will be the first OEWS estimates based entirely on survey data 	|
| collected using the 2018 SOC. 							|
|											|
| For more information on the occupational classification system used in the May 2019 	|
| and May 2020 estimates, please see 							|
| www.bls.gov/oes/soc_2018.htm and www.bls.gov/oes/oes_ques.htm#qf10. 			|
|_______________________________________________________________________________________|


 _______________________________________________________________________________________
|											|
|    Upcoming Changes to the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics Methodology    |
|											|
| With the May 2021 estimates, to be released in Spring 2022, the OEWS program plans to |
| begin using a new estimation methodology. The new model-based methodology, called	|
| MB3, has advantages over the existing methodology, as described in the Monthly Labor 	|
| Review article at www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2019/article/model-based-estimates-for-the-	|
| occupational-employment-statistics-program.htm. OEWS estimates for the years 2015-	|
| 2018 were recalculated using the new estimation methodology and are available as 	|
| research estimates at www.bls.gov/oes/oes-mb3-methods.htm. 				|
|_______________________________________________________________________________________|



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Last Modified Date: March 31, 2021