For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Friday, March 30, 2018 USDL-18-0486
Technical information: (202) 691-6569 * email@example.com * www.bls.gov/oes
Media contact: (202) 691-5902 * PressOffice@bls.gov
OCCUPATIONAL EMPLOYMENT AND WAGES -- MAY 2017
Production occupations had employment of 9 million in May 2017, representing 6.3 percent
of total national employment, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The
largest production occupation was assemblers and fabricators, all other, including team
assemblers (1.3 million) and the highest paying production occupation was nuclear power
reactor operators ($94,350). The annual mean wage across all production occupations was
$38,070, compared with the U.S. average wage of $50,620. (See table 1.)
The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program provides employment and wage
estimates for over 800 occupations in the nation, states, and 600 areas. National
data are available by industry for approximately 415 industry classifications and by
ownership across all industries, schools, and hospitals. This news release features
production, healthcare, and construction and extraction 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.
| Changes to the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Data |
| With the release of the May 2017 estimates, the OES program has |
| introduced several new occupational and industry aggregations. |
| The May 2017 OES estimates are the first to be produced using the |
| 2017 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). |
| See the box notes at the end of this news release for more |
| information on current and upcoming changes to the OES data. |
Highlights from the May 2017 OES data:
--The largest production occupations also included first-line supervisors of
production and operating workers (611,800) and inspectors, testers, sorters,
samplers, and weighers (537,500).
--Other than nuclear power reactor operators, the highest paying production
occupations were power distributors and dispatchers ($82,310) and power plant
--The lowest paying production occupations were pressers, textile, garment,
and related materials ($23,080) and laundry and dry-cleaning workers
($23,770). (See table 1.)
--The state with the highest share of production occupations employment was
Indiana (12 percent), nearly twice the national employment share.
--Metropolitan areas with the highest shares of production occupation
employment included Elkhart-Goshen, Ind. (36 percent); Dalton, Ga.
(26 percent); and Columbus, Ind. (25 percent).
--Pay for production occupations in manufacturing industries varied widely.
Industries with the highest wages were petroleum and coal products
manufacturing ($63,620) and aerospace product and parts manufacturing
--Manufacturing industries with the lowest wages for production occupations
included seafood product preparation and packaging ($27,710) and several
apparel, textile, and leather products industries.
--Assemblers and fabricators, all other, including team assemblers earned
an annual mean wage of $33,180 across all industries. Motor vehicle
manufacturing ($46,510) was the highest paying manufacturing industry for
OES data by state and metropolitan/nonmetropolitan area are available at
www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcst.htm and www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm,
OES national industry-specific data are available at www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrci.htm.
--Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations had employment of 8.5
million, and healthcare support occupations had employment of 4.1 million.
Both healthcare occupational groups combined made up nearly 9 percent of
U.S. employment. (See table 1.)
--Registered nurses, with 2.9 million jobs, was the largest healthcare
occupation. (See table 1.) Most registered nurses worked in the general
medical and surgical hospitals industry (1,685,820).
--Other than registered nurses, the largest healthcare occupations were
nursing assistants (1.5 million), home health aides (820,960), and
licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (702,700).
(See table 1.)
--Many of the highest paying occupations were healthcare occupations,
including several physician and dentist occupations and nurse
anesthetists ($169,450). (See table 1.)
--The lowest paying healthcare occupations were home health aides
($24,280), veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers
($27,570), and physical therapist aides ($27,910). (See table 1.)
--Annual mean wages for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations,
the larger of the two healthcare occupational groups, varied by state
from $64,620 in Mississippi to $98,020 in Alaska, compared with $80,760
--Several areas in California, including San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara
($115,280), were among the highest paying metropolitan areas for
healthcare practitioners and technical occupations.
--The lowest paying areas for this occupational group included Lake
Charles, La. ($57,580), and Morristown, Tenn. ($57,670).
Construction and extraction occupations
--Construction and extraction occupations had total employment of 5.7 million
and an annual mean wage of $49,930 across all industries. (See table 1.)
--The largest construction and extraction occupations were construction
laborers (962,060), carpenters (693,050), and electricians (631,080).
(See table 1.)
--The highest paying construction and extraction occupations were elevator
installers and repairers ($77,130) and first-line supervisors of construction
trades and extraction workers ($69,200). (See table 1.)
--The lowest paying construction and extraction occupations included helpers
of roofers ($29,710) and helpers of painters, paperhangers, plasterers, and
stucco masons ($30,570).
--By industry, specialty trade contractors (2.8 million) accounted for almost
half of employment in construction and extraction occupations. An additional
26 percent of employment was in construction of buildings (915,340) and
heavy and civil engineering construction (574,960). Local government
(330,490) was the industry with the highest employment of construction
and extraction occupations outside of the construction sector.
--States with the highest percentage of construction and extraction occupations
were Wyoming (10 percent) and North Dakota (8 percent), compared with 4
percent of national employment.
--Metropolitan areas with the highest concentrations of construction and
extraction occupations included Lake Charles, La. (17 percent); Odessa,
Texas (13 percent); and Farmington, N.M., and Greeley, Colo. (11 percent
--Annual mean wages for construction and extraction occupations varied by
state from $37,660 in Arkansas to $67,450 in Hawaii.
--Urban Honolulu, Hawaii ($68,800), and Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-
Wis. ($68,770), were among the highest paying areas for construction and
extraction occupations. The lowest paying areas for this occupational
group included Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas ($31,820), and Sebring, Fla.
Typical entry-level education
--Occupations that typically require postsecondary education for entry made
up 37 percent of employment. The largest postsecondary category, occupations
that typically require a bachelor's degree for entry, made up 21.5 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.
--Occupations that typically require a high school diploma or the equivalent
for entry made up 39 percent of employment, and occupations that require no
formal educational credential for entry made up 24 percent of employment.
These two educational categories include most production and construction
occupations, as well as large occupations such as retail salespersons,
cashiers, and general office clerks.
--The share of employment in occupations typically requiring an associate's
degree for entry ranged from 1.8 percent of employment in Nevada to 2.9
percent in Vermont, compared with 2.3 percent of national employment.
--Average wages were generally higher for occupations that require more
education. Annual mean wages were $26,910 for occupations that typically
require no formal educational credential for entry, $41,920 for occupations
typically requiring a high school diploma or the equivalent, $56,140 for
occupations typically requiring an associate's degree, and $85,450 for
occupations typically requiring a bachelor's degree.
--The highest paying occupations that typically require less than a bachelor's
degree for entry included air traffic controllers ($120,260), which typically
require an associate's degree for entry; and transportation, storage, and
distribution managers ($100,740) and nuclear power reactor operators
($94,350), both of which typically require a high school diploma or the
--The annual mean wage for occupations that typically require an associate's
degree for entry varied from $45,310 in South Dakota to $73,500 in the
District of Columbia.
--The highest paying metropolitan areas for occupations that typically require
an associate's degree for entry included California-Lexington Park, Md.
($77,450), and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. ($72,070). The lowest
paying metropolitan areas for this educational category included Valdosta,
Ga. ($43,100), and Johnstown, Pa. ($43,560).
Data on employment by the typical education level required to enter an occupation
are based on education and training categories from the BLS Employment Projections
program. Education and training levels assigned to each occupation are available
at www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_112.htm. Additional charts are available at
--There were nearly 8.9 million science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
(STEM) jobs representing 6.2 percent of total U.S. employment.
--Seven of the 10 largest STEM occupations were related to computers and included
applications software developers (849,230) and computer user support specialists
(613,780). (See table 1.)
--Areas with the highest employment shares of STEM occupations were California-
Lexington Park, Md. (26.2 percent), and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
--Areas with the lowest employment shares of STEM occupations included Gadsden,
Ala., and Ocean City, N.J. (approximately 1 percent of employment each).
--STEM occupations had an annual mean wage of $91,310, compared with $47,890 for
non-STEM occupations. Ninety-two of the 99 STEM occupations had mean wages
significantly above the all-occupations average of $50,620. (See table 1.)
--The highest paying STEM occupations were petroleum engineers ($154,780) and
the 3 STEM-related management occupations. (See table 1.)
--The lowest paying STEM occupations were forest and conservation technicians
($39,180) and agricultural and food science technicians ($42,910). (See
A list of occupations included in the STEM definition used for this release is
available at www.bls.gov/oes/stem_list_2017.xlsx. Additional STEM charts are
available at www.bls.gov/oes/current/overview_2017.htm.
--The largest occupations overall were retail salespersons (4.4 million),
combined food preparation and serving workers (3.6 million), and cashiers
(3.6 million). The next largest occupations nationally were general office
clerks (3.0 million), registered nurses (2.9 million), and customer service
representatives (2.8 million). (See table 1.)
--Retail salespersons was the largest occupation in 29 of the 50 states.
--Eight of the 10 largest occupations had below-average wages. Retail
salespersons ($27,460), combined food preparation and serving workers
($21,230), and cashiers ($22,130) had annual mean wages significantly below
the all-occupations average of $50,620. (See table 1.)
--Registered nurses ($73,550) and general and operations managers ($123,460)
were the largest 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,
including elementary school teachers, except special education (public
sector employment of 1.3 million); teacher assistants (1.0 million); and
secondary school teachers, except special and career/technical education
--Police and sheriff's patrol officers (656,000), general office clerks
(553,830), and registered nurses (475,810) also were among the occupations
with the highest public sector employment.
OES data by ownership are available at www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrci.htm.
| Notes on the May 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Data |
| With the release of the May 2017 estimates, the OES program has replaced 21 |
| detailed occupations found in the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification |
| (SOC) with 10 new aggregations of those occupations. In addition, selected |
| 4- and 5-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) |
| industries previously published by OES will no longer be published separately. |
| Some of the 4-digit NAICS industries that are no longer being published |
| separately will instead be published as OES-specific industry aggregations. |
| More information about the new occupational and industry aggregations is |
| available at www.bls.gov/oes/changes_2017.htm. |
| The May 2017 estimates include for the first time some establishments that |
| were previously classified in private households. Beginning in May 2013, the |
| Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), from which the OES sample is |
| drawn, began coding some establishments that were historically found in NAICS |
| 814110 (Private Households) to NAICS 624120 (Services for the Elderly and |
| Persons with Disabilities). The establishments that changed NAICS codes caused |
| a scope increase for OES because NAICS 814110 is out of scope and NAICS 624120 |
| is in scope for OES. These newly in-scope units were removed from the survey |
| data and not used for the May 2015 and May 2016 estimates. Now that OES has |
| six survey panels collected under the new scope, these newly in-scope units |
| are included in the May 2017 estimates, aligning the scope of the OES |
| estimates for NAICS 624120 with that of the QCEW frame. |
| The May 2017 OES estimates are the first to be produced using the 2017 NAICS. |
| Information about the 2017 NAICS is available at www.bls.gov/bls/naics.htm. |
| Upcoming Changes to the May 2018 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Data |
| OES will no longer publish data for metropolitan divisions and will publish |
| data for fewer nonmetropolitan areas beginning with the May 2018 estimates, |
| to be released in March or April of 2019. For the 11 large metropolitan |
| statistical areas (MSAs) that are broken down into metropolitan divisions, |
| OES will publish data at the MSA level only. In addition, the number of |
| nonmetropolitan areas will be reduced in some states. OES will continue to |
| cover the entire geography of each state, but some areas will no longer be |
| at the same level of detail. |