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Handbook of Methods Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics Presentation

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics: Presentation

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program publishes cross-industry occupational data for the United States as a whole, for individual U.S. states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas, along with U.S. industry-specific estimates by 2-, 3-, most 4-, and some 5- and 6-digit NAICS levels. OES publishes employment and wage estimates aggregated by typical entry-level education requirements and by occupations categorized as Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). OES also publishes a research dataset of estimates by state and industry.

Available data elements include estimates of employment, hourly and annual mean wages, and hourly and annual percentile wages by occupation, as well as relative standard errors (RSEs) for the employment and mean wage estimates.

OES data are updated on an annual basis. When updated estimates become available, a BLS news release makes an announcement featuring highlights from the data.


For many years, the OES survey has been a major source of detailed occupational employment data for the nation, states, and areas, and by industry at the national level. This survey provides information for many data users, including individuals and organizations engaged in planning vocational education programs, higher education programs, and employment and training programs. OES data also are used to prepare information for career counseling, for job placement activities performed at state workforce agencies, and for personnel planning and market research conducted by private enterprises.

Occupational employment data are used to develop information regarding current and projected employment needs and job opportunities. This information is used in the production of state education and workforce development plans. These data enable users to analyze the occupational composition of different industries, and the comparison of occupational composition across states and local areas, including analysis for economic development purposes. OES employment estimates also are used as job placement aids by helping to identify industries that employ the skills gained by enrollees in career-technical training programs. In addition, OES survey data serve as primary inputs into occupational information systems designed for those who are exploring career opportunities or assisting others in career decision making.

OES data are used by several other BLS and government programs, such as the BLS Employment Projections program and the Employment and Training Administration (ETA). OES data are used to establish the fixed employment weights for the Employment Cost Index and in the calculation of occupational rates for the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. OES data also are used by the Department of Labor’s Foreign Labor Certification (FLC) program, which sets the rate at which workers on work visas in the United States must be paid.

Employment and wage data for detailed science, engineering, mathematical, and other occupations are provided to the National Science Foundation, along with the complete staffing patterns for all industries.

Occupational wage data are used by jobseekers and employers to determine salary ranges for different occupations in different locations and in different industries. OES employment and wage data also can be found in ETA's CareerOneStop.

Many users of OES data use data provided by the State Labor Market Information programs. OES data are used by workforce investment boards and economic development programs to attract businesses. The data provide information on labor availability by occupation as well as average wages. OES is frequently cited as the most popular labor market information program within the United States.

Finally, employment and wage data are used by academic and government researchers to study labor markets and wage and employment trends. These data inform the so-called "good-jobs/bad-jobs" debate on how business cycles and structural economic change affect wages and employment across the range of occupations; and how many and what types of jobs are affected by off-shore outsourcing.

Data correction

If an error is found in a published OES data product (news release, data table, etc.), the product is corrected and republished or incorrect data products are removed. A record of the error is added to the list of BLS errata, a special notice describing the error is posted on the OES website, and data users who have signed up to receive notifications from the OES program are alerted via email.

Accessing OES data

OES data are available in several formats from the OES home page at The OES database search tool ( allows customers to create customized HTML or Excel tables using the most recent OES estimates. OES data are also published as HTML tables or can be downloaded as zipped XLS files at research dataset of OES estimates by state and industry is available at BLS does not publish OES estimates by metropolitan/nonmetropolitan area and industry, but these data may be available from individual state workforce agencies:

For additional information, contact the OES staff at (202) 691-6569 or send e-mail to

Last Modified Date: August 31, 2020