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News Release Information

Thursday, June 12, 2014

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  • (312) 353-1138

Occupational Employment and Wages in Fargo, N.D.-Minn. MSA – May 2013

Workers in the Fargo Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $19.63 in May 2013, about 12 percent below the nationwide average of $22.33, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Charlene Peiffer noted that among the 22 major occupational groups for which wages were available, healthcare practitioner and technical workers earned $33.38 per hour, business and financial operations jobs paid $26.57 per hour, and workers in office and administrative support positions averaged $15.55 per hour.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 3 of the 22 occupational groups: construction and extraction; personal care and service; and transportation and material moving. Conversely, seven groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including protective service; management; and education, training and library. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Fargo Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2013
Major occupational groupPercent of total employmentMean hourly wage
United StatesFargoUnited StatesFargoPercent difference (1)

Total, all occupations




Business and financial operations*-22

Computer and mathematical


Architecture and engineering


Life, physical, and social science


Community and social services




Education, training, and library


Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media


Healthcare practitioner and technical*-7

Healthcare support


Protective service


Food preparation and serving related

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance


Personal care and service


Sales and related


Office and administrative support*-7

Farming, fishing, and forestry


Construction and extraction


Installation, maintenance, and repair*-7


Transportation and material moving


(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Fargo 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—construction and extraction—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Fargo had 6,630 jobs in construction and extraction, accounting for 5.1 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 3.8-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $19.48, measurably below the national wage of $21.94.

With employment of 840, carpenters was the largest occupation within the construction and extraction group, followed by construction laborers (830) and cement masons and concrete finishers (710). Among the higher paying jobs were first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers and brickmasons and blockmasons, with mean hourly wages of $27.57 and $26.53, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were helpers--electricians ($12.60) and construction laborers ($14.22). (Detailed occupational data for construction and extraction 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 Fargo Metropolitan Statistical Area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the construction and extraction group. For instance, cement masons and concrete finishers were employed at 5.2 times the national rate in Fargo, and sheet metal workers, at 1.7 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, construction laborers had a location quotient of 1.0 in Fargo, 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, Job Service North Dakota and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Fargo 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.

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. 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. Forms are mailed to approximately 200,000 sampled establishments in May and November each year for a 3-year period. May 2013 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected in May 2013, November 2012, May 2012, November 2011, May 2011, and November 2010. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 75.3 percent based on establishments and 71.6 percent based on employment. The sample in the Fargo Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,983 establishments with a response rate of 77 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

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 and, respectively.

The May 2013 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

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 Fargo, N.D. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Cass County of North Dakota and Clay County of Minnesota.

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: 1-800-877-8339.

Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Fargo Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2013
Occupation (1)EmploymentMean wages
Level (2)Location quotient (3)HourlyAnnual(4)

Construction and Extraction Occupations


First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers


Brickmasons and Blockmasons




Carpet Installers


Floor Layers, Except Carpet, Wood, and Hard Tiles


Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers


Construction Laborers


Paving, Surfacing, and Tamping Equipment Operators


Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators


Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers




Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall


Painters, Construction and Maintenance




Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters




Sheet Metal Workers


Structural Iron and Steel Workers


Helpers--Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters






Helpers, Construction Trades, All Other


Highway Maintenance Workers


Construction and Related Workers, All Other


(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in Fargo, ND-MN, 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.
(5) Estimate not released.


Last Modified Date: Thursday, June 12, 2014