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Friday, June 19, 2015
Workers in the Charleston Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $19.26 in May 2014, 15 percent below the nationwide average of $22.71, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were significantly lower than their respective national averages in 18 of the 22 major occupational groups, including management, computer and mathematical, and legal. Only one group—production—had an average wage that was measurably higher than its respective national average. (See table A and box note at end of release.)
|Major occupational group||Employment share (percent of total)||Average (mean) hourly wage|
|United States||Charleston||Significant difference (1)||United States||Charleston||Significant difference (1)||Percent difference (2)|
Total, all occupations
Business and financial operations
Computer and mathematical
Architecture and engineering
Life, physical, and social science
Community and social service
Education, training, and library
Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media
Healthcare practitioners and technical
Food preparation and serving related
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance
Personal care and service
Sales and related
Office and administrative support
Farming, fishing, and forestry
Construction and extraction
Installation, maintenance, and repair
Transportation and material moving
When compared to the nationwide distribution, Charleston employment was more highly concentrated in 6 of the 22 occupational groups including construction and extraction and office and administrative support. Conversely, 11 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation; these groups included production; education, training, and library; and computer and mathematical.
One occupational group—construction and extraction—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Charleston had 10,140 jobs in the construction and extraction group, accounting for 7.1 percent of local area employment, significantly above the 3.9-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $22.83, similar to the national average of $22.40.
With employment of 2,040, construction laborers was the largest occupation within the construction and extraction group, followed by operating engineers and other construction equipment operators (1,440). Among the higher-paying jobs were first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers with a mean hourly wage of $32.20 and electricians with a wage of $28.82. At the lower end of the wage scale were highway maintenance workers ($12.45) and construction laborers ($18.08). (Detailed occupational data for construction and extraction are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_16620.htm.)
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 as it does nationally. In the Charleston area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the construction and extraction group. For instance, operating engineers and other construction equipment operators were employed at four times the national rate in Charleston, and mining roof bolters at more than forty-five times the U.S. average. On the other hand, carpenters had a location quotient of 1.2 in Charleston, 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, WorkForce West Virginia.
OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Charleston 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.
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. Each year, forms are mailed to two semiannual panels of approximately 200,000 sampled establishments, one panel in May and the other in November. May 2014 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2014, November 2013, May 2013, November 2012, May 2012, and November 2011. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 74.3 percent based on establishments and 70.5 percent based on employment. The sample in the Charleston Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,767 establishments with a response rate of 68 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.
The OES survey provides estimates of employment and hourly and annual wages for wage and salary workers in 22 major occupational groups and 821 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. OES data by state and metropolitan/nonmetropolitan area are available from www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcst.htm and www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm, respectively.
The May 2014 OES estimates are based on the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system and the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Information about the 2010 SOC is available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/soc and information about the 2012 NAICS is available at www.bls.gov/bls/naics.htm.
The substate area data published in this release reflect the standards and definitions established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
The Charleston Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Boone, Clay, Kanawha, Lincoln, and Putnam Counties in West Virginia.
OES data are available on our regional web page at https://www.bls.gov/regions/mid-atlantic. Answers to frequently asked questions about the OES data are available at www.bls.gov/oes/oes_ques.htm. Detailed technical information about the OES survey is available in our Survey Methods and Reliability Statement on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/oes/current/methods_statement.pdf. 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.
Construction and extraction occupations
First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
Brickmasons and blockmasons
Cement masons and concrete finishers
Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators
Painters, construction and maintenance
Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
Sheet metal workers
Structural iron and steel workers
Helpers--pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
Construction and building inspectors
Highway maintenance workers
Service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining
Earth drillers, except oil and gas
Explosives workers, ordnance handling, experts, and blasters
Continuous mining machine operators
Roof bolters, mining
Roustabouts, oil and gas
Last Modified Date: Friday, June 19, 2015