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News Release Information

Monday, May 20, 2024

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Occupational Employment and Wages in Washington-Arlington-Alexandria — May 2023

Workers in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $42.49 in May 2023, 35 percent above the nationwide average of $31.48, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were higher than their respective national averages in all of the 22 major occupational groups.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Washington area employment was more highly concentrated in 11 of the 22 occupational groups, including business and financial operations, computer and mathematical, and management. Eleven groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including production, transportation and material moving, and office and administrative support. (See table A.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Washington metropolitan area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2023
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage ($)
United States Washington United States Washington Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0 100.0 31.48 42.49* 35


6.9 9.9* 66.23 78.80* 19

Business and financial operations

6.6 12.4* 43.55 56.24* 29

Computer and mathematical

3.4 7.8* 54.39 62.96* 16

Architecture and engineering

1.7 1.8* 47.64 57.11* 20

Life, physical, and social science

0.9 2.0* 42.24 56.94* 35

Community and social service

1.6 1.5* 28.36 32.83* 16


0.8 2.2* 64.34 90.20* 40

Educational instruction and library

5.8 6.2* 31.92 35.40* 11

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.4 2.3* 36.31 46.08* 27

Healthcare practitioners and technical

6.1 4.8* 49.07 55.79* 14

Healthcare support

4.7 3.1* 18.37 20.21* 10

Protective service

2.3 2.9* 27.74 32.61* 18

Food preparation and serving related

8.7 7.9* 16.58 19.26* 16

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

2.9 3.1* 18.43 19.49* 6

Personal care and service

2.0 2.2* 18.48 20.37* 10

Sales and related

8.8 7.2* 25.62 27.17* 6

Office and administrative support

12.2 9.6* 23.05 26.30* 14

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1* 19.22 21.51* 12

Construction and extraction

4.1 3.5* 29.57 30.43* 3

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 2.9* 28.13 31.29* 11


5.8 1.4* 22.90 25.56* 12

Transportation and material moving

9.1 5.4* 22.45 24.91* 11

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.
* The mean hourly wage or percent share of employment is significantly different from the national average of all areas at the 90-percent confidence level.

One occupational group—business and financial operations—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Washington had 384,770 jobs in business and financial operations, accounting for 12.4 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 6.6-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $56.24, significantly above the national wage of $43.55.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the business and financial operations group included management analysts (71,340), accountants and auditors (45,080), and project management specialists (37,810). Among the higher-paying jobs in this group were management analysts and personal financial advisors, with mean hourly wages of $80.38 and $77.46, respectively.  (See chart 1.) At the lower end of the wage scale were credit counselors ($31.92) and tax preparers ($33.21). (Detailed data for the business and financial operations occupations are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations 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 than it does nationally. In the Washington area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the business and financial operations group. For instance, management analysts were employed at 4.2 times the national rate in Washington, and meeting, convention, and event planners, at 2.1 times the U.S. average. Personal financial advisors had a location quotient of 1.0 in Washington, indicating that this particular occupation’s local and national employment shares were similar.

The statistics in this release are from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, a cooperative effort between BLS and the State Workforce Agencies (SWAs). BLS funds the survey and provides the procedures and technical support. State Workforce Agencies collect most of the data: in this case, the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services, the Virginia Employment Commission, the Maryland Department of Labor, and Workforce West Virginia.

Technical Note

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey is a semiannual survey measuring occupational employment and wage rates for wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments in the United States. The OEWS data available from BLS include cross-industry occupational employment and wage estimates for the nation; over 580 areas, including states and the District of Columbia, metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), nonmetropolitan areas, and territories; national industry-specific estimates at the NAICS sector, 3-digit, most 4-digit, and selected 5- and 6-digit industry levels; and national estimates by ownership across all industries and for schools and hospitals. Full OEWS data tables are available online.

Additional information about the OEWS estimates and methodology are available in the national Technical Notes. The overall national response rate for the six panels, based on the 50 states and the District of Columbia, is 65.8 percent based on establishments and 64.3 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The sample in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area included 14,545 establishments with a response rate of 60 percent.

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.

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 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area includes District of Columbia, DC; Calvert County, MD; Charles County, MD; Frederick County, MD; Montgomery County, MD; Prince George's County, MD; Alexandria city, VA; Arlington County, VA; Clarke County, VA; Culpeper County, VA; Fairfax city, VA; Fairfax County, VA; Falls Church city, VA; Fauquier County, VA; Fredericksburg city, VA; Loudoun County, VA; Manassas city, VA; Manassas Park city, VA; Prince William County, VA; Rappahannock County, VA; Spotsylvania County, VA; Stafford County, VA; Warren County, VA; and Jefferson County, WV.


For more information

Answers to frequently asked questions about the OEWS data, as well as general program documentation, are available on the OEWS website.

Information in this release will be made available to individuals with sensory impairments upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Telecommunications Relay Service: 7-1-1.

Table 1. Employment and wage data for business and financial operations occupations, Washington metropolitan area, May 2023
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages ($)
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Business and financial operations occupations

384,770 1.9 56.24 116,970

Agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes

100 0.4 (5) (5)

Buyers and purchasing agents

15,140 1.6 49.28 102,490

Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators

2,000 0.3 38.80 80,700

Insurance appraisers, auto damage

90 0.5 43.23 89,920

Compliance officers

11,920 1.5 46.52 96,750

Cost estimators

4,380 1.0 42.06 87,480

Human resources specialists

27,340 1.5 46.91 97,560

Labor relations specialists

850 0.7 55.89 116,250


6,600 1.4 50.76 105,570

Project management specialists

37,810 2.0 59.29 123,330

Management analysts

71,340 4.2 80.38 167,190

Meeting, convention, and event planners

5,150 2.1 35.15 73,120


4,110 2.0 37.66 78,340

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists

2,220 1.1 46.32 96,340

Training and development specialists

10,070 1.2 41.62 86,570

Market research analysts and marketing specialists

21,670 1.3 44.04 91,600

Business operations specialists, all other

78,850 3.5 51.58 107,290

Accountants and auditors

45,080 1.5 50.41 104,850

Property appraisers and assessors

690 0.5 39.10 81,320

Budget analysts

4,360 4.5 55.56 115,560

Credit analysts

1,240 0.8 52.94 110,120

Financial and investment analysts

10,150 1.5 56.80 118,140

Personal financial advisors

5,290 1.0 77.46 161,110

Insurance underwriters

1,050 0.5 41.38 86,060

Financial risk specialists

1,080 1.0 60.74 126,340

Financial examiners

1,200 0.9 66.49 138,300

Credit counselors

510 0.9 31.92 66,400

Loan officers

5,680 0.9 54.90 114,180

Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents

620 0.6 41.01 85,300

Tax preparers

1,920 1.2 33.21 69,080

Financial specialists, all other

6,260 2.5 55.34 115,110

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area, see
(2) Estimates for detailed occupations may not sum to the totals due to rounding, and because the totals may include occupations that are 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.
(5) Estimate not released.


Last Modified Date: Monday, May 20, 2024