Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Workers in the Charleston Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $20.62 in May 2016, 14 percent below the nationwide average of $23.86, 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 19 of the 22 major occupational groups, including computer and mathematical; business and financial operations; and protective service.
When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 8 of the 22 occupational groups including office and administrative support; healthcare practitioners and technical; and installation, maintenance, and repair. Conversely, 12 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation; these groups included production; education, training, and library; and food preparation and serving related. (See table A and box note at end of release.)
|Major occupational group||Percent of total employment||Mean hourly wage|
|United States||Charleston||United States||Charleston||Percent difference (1)|
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
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 5,680 jobs in the construction and extraction group, accounting for 5.0 percent of local area employment, significantly above the 4.0-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $23.55, similar to the national average of $23.51.
With employment of 1,100, construction laborers was the largest detailed occupation within the construction and extraction group, followed by operating engineers and other construction equipment operators (840). Among the higher-paying jobs were first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers with a mean hourly wage of $34.56 and plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters with a wage of $29.87. At the lower end of the wage scale were highway maintenance workers ($15.98) and construction laborers ($18.10). (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, oil and gas roustabouts were employed at 3.0 times the national rate in Charleston, and continuous mining machine operators at 14.8 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, electricians had a location quotient of 1.0 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.
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. The OES program produces employment and wage estimates for over 800 occupations for all industries combined in the nation; the 50 states and the District of Columbia; 432 metropolitan areas and divisions; 167 nonmetropolitan areas; and Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. National estimates are also available by industry for NAICS sectors, 3-, 4-, and selected 5- and 6-digit industries, and by ownership across all industries and for schools and hospitals. OES data are available at www.bls.gov/oes/tables.htm.
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. The May 2016 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2016, November 2015, May 2015, November 2014, May 2014, and November 2013. The overall national response rate for the six panels, based on the 50 states and the District of Columbia, is 73 percent based on establishments and 69 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The unweighted employment of sampled establishments across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 58 percent of total national employment. The sample in the Charleston Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,433 establishments with a response rate of 70 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.
The May 2016 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.
Metropolitan 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 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 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: (800) 877-8339.
|Occupation (1)||Employment (2)||Mean wage|
|Level||Location quotient (3)||Hourly||Annual (4)|
Construction and extraction occupations
First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
Cement masons and concrete finishers
Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators
Painters, construction and maintenance
Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
Helpers, construction trades, all other
Construction and building inspectors
Highway maintenance workers
Service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining
Earth drillers, except oil and gas
Continuous mining machine operators
Roustabouts, oil and gas
Last Modified Date: Tuesday, May 30, 2017