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News Release Information

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Contacts Technical information: Media contact:

Occupational Employment and Wages in Roanoke – May 2016

Workers in the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $20.98 in May 2016, 12 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 17 of the 22 major occupational groups, including arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; legal; and construction and extraction.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment shares were significantly higher in 6 of the 22 occupational groups including health care practitioners and technical and transportation and material moving. Conversely, 10 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation including management; computer and mathematical; and food preparation and serving related. (See Table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2016
Major occupational groupPercent of total employmentMean hourly wage
United StatesRoanokeUnited StatesRoanokePercent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0100.0 $23.86$20.98*-12



Business and financial operations


Computer and mathematical


Architecture and engineering


Life, physical, and social science


Community and social service




Education, training, and library

6.25.2 26.2124.17 -8

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media


Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.98.0*38.0638.70 2

Healthcare support


Protective service

2.43.0 22.0317.63*-20

Food preparation and serving related


Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.22.9 13.4711.81*-12

Personal care and service

3.22.8*12.7412.07 -5

Sales and related

10.410.7 19.5017.97*-8

Office and administrative support


Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.30.1*13.3714.57 9

Construction and extraction

4.04.3 23.5118.66*-21

Installation, maintenance, and repair



6.57.3 17.8816.65*-7

Transportation and material moving

6.97.8*17.3416.64 -4


(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.

* The percent share of employment or mean hourly wage for this area is significantly different from the national average of all areas at the 90-percent confidence level.

One occupational group—office and administrative support—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Roanoke had 25,220 jobs in the office and administrative group, accounting for 16.5 percent of local area employment, significantly larger than the 15.7-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $16.26, significantly lower than the national average of $17.91.

With employment of 3,860, general office clerks was the largest occupation within the office and administrative support group, followed by customer service representatives (3,010). Among the higher-paying jobs were first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers with a mean hourly wage of $26.08 and postal service mail carriers with a wage of $24.33. At the lower end of the wage scale were hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks ($9.56) and stock clerks and order fillers ($11.96). (Detailed occupational data for office and administrative support are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupaions available go to

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 Roanoke area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in several of the occupations within the office and administrative support group. For instance, insurance claims and policy processing clerks were employed at 2.6 times the national rate in Roanoke, and loan interviewers and clerks at 3.0 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, tellers had a location quotient of 1.0 in Roanoke, 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, the Virginia Employment Commission.

Note on Occupational Employment Statistics Data

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.

Technical Note

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

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 Roanoke, Pa. Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,833 establishments with a response rate of 74 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

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 and information about the 2012 NAICS is available at

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 Roanoke, Va. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Botetourt, Craig, Franklin, and Roanoke Counties and Roanoke and Salem Cities in Virginia.

Additional information

OES data are available on our regional web page at Answers to frequently asked questions about the OES data are available at Detailed technical information about the OES survey is available in our Survey Methods and Reliability Statement on the BLS website at

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.

Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2016
Occupation (1)Employment (2)Mean wage
LevelLocation quotient (3)HourlyAnnual (4)

Office and administrative support occupations


First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers


Switchboard operators, including answering service


Bill and account collectors


Billing and posting clerks


Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks


Payroll and timekeeping clerks


Procurement clerks




Brokerage clerks


Court, municipal, and license clerks


Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks


Customer service representatives


Eligibility interviewers, government programs


File clerks


Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks


Interviewers, except eligibility and loan


Library assistants, clerical


Loan interviewers and clerks


New accounts clerks


Order clerks


Human resources assistants, except payroll and timekeeping


Receptionists and information clerks


Information and record clerks, all other


Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers


Dispatchers, except police, fire, and ambulance


Meter readers, utilities


Postal service clerks


Postal service mail carriers


Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators


Production, planning, and expediting clerks


Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks


Stock clerks and order fillers


Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, recordkeeping


Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants


Legal secretaries


Medical secretaries


Secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive


Data entry keyers


Insurance claims and policy processing clerks


Mail clerks and mail machine operators, except postal service


Office clerks, general


Office and administrative support workers, all other


(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Roanoke MSA, see
(2) Estimates for detailed occupations do not sum to the totals because the totals include occupations not shown separately. Estimates do not include self-employed workers.
(3) The location quotient is the ratio of the area concentration of occupational employment to the national average concentration. A location quotient greater than one indicates the occupation has a higher share of employment than average, and a location quotient less than one indicates the occupation is less prevalent in the area than average.
(4) Annual wages have been calculated by multiplying the hourly mean wage by a "year-round, full-time" hours figure of 2,080 hours; for those occupations where there is not an hourly mean wage published, the annual wage has been directly calculated from the reported survey data.


Last Modified Date: Thursday, May 25, 2017