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News Release Information

Friday, August 05, 2022

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  • (312) 353-1138

Occupational Employment and Wages in Des Moines-West Des Moines — May 2021

Workers in the Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $27.50 in May 2021, 2 percent below the nationwide average of $28.01, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Jason Palmer noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were lower than their respective national averages in 15 of the 22 major occupational groups, including legal; architecture and engineering; and arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media. Four groups had significantly higher wages than their respective national averages, including office and administrative support, transportation and material moving, and healthcare support.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Des Moines area employment was more highly concentrated in 9 of the 22 occupational groups, including business and financial operations, computer and mathematical, and management. Twelve groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including production, healthcare support, and healthcare practitioners and technical. (See table A.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Des Moines metropolitan area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2021
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Des Moines United States Des Moines Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0 100.0 $28.01 $27.50* -2


6.3 7.3* 59.31 55.13* -7

Business and financial operations

6.4 9.0* 39.72 36.99* -7

Computer and mathematical

3.3 4.7* 48.01 45.26* -6

Architecture and engineering

1.7 1.3* 44.10 37.51* -15

Life, physical, and social science

0.9 0.7* 38.81 33.86* -13

Community and social service

1.6 1.4* 25.94 25.33 -2


0.8 0.9* 54.38 45.59* -16

Educational instruction and library

5.8 5.7 29.88 24.80* -17

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 1.5* 31.78 25.82* -19

Healthcare practitioners and technical

6.2 5.3* 43.80 40.82* -7

Healthcare support

4.7 3.5* 16.02 16.25* 1

Protective service

2.4 1.6* 25.68 25.74 0

Food preparation and serving related

8.0 7.4* 14.16 13.34* -6

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

2.9 2.7* 16.23 15.73* -3

Personal care and service

1.8 2.0* 16.17 14.30* -12

Sales and related

9.4 10.0* 22.15 21.81 -2

Office and administrative support

13.0 13.7* 20.88 21.72* 4

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.2* 16.70 17.82* 7

Construction and extraction

4.2 4.8* 26.87 26.32* -2

Installation, maintenance, and repair

4.0 3.7* 25.66 24.82* -3


6.0 4.6* 20.71 19.80* -4

Transportation and material moving

9.0 8.2* 19.88 20.28* 2

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in the Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA 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. Des Moines had 31,970 jobs in business and financial operations, accounting for 9.0 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 6.4-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $36.99, significantly below the national wage of $39.72.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the business and financial operations group included accountants and auditors (3,940) and management analysts (3,430). Among the higher-paying jobs in this group were personal financial advisors and credit analysts, with mean hourly wages of $52.76 and $50.84, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were tax preparers ($22.99) and credit counselors ($23.61). (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 Des Moines area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the business and financial operations group. For instance, financial risk specialists were employed at 6.7 times the national rate in Des Moines, and insurance underwriters, at 4.1 times the U.S. average. Buyers and purchasing agents had a location quotient of 0.9 in Des Moines, indicating that this particular occupation’s local and national employment shares were similar.

These statistics are from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, a federal-state cooperative program between BLS and State Workforce Agencies, in this case, the Iowa Workforce Development.

Changes to the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) Data

With the May 2021 estimates release, the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program has implemented a new model-based (MB3) estimation method. For more information, see the May 2021 Survey Methods and Reliability Statement at and the Monthly Labor Review article at OEWS estimates for the years 2015-19 were recalculated using the new estimation method and are available as research estimates at

The May 2021 OEWS estimates are also the first estimates based entirely on survey data collected using the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. To improve data quality, the OEWS program aggregates some occupations to the SOC broad occupation level or as OEWS-specific combinations of 2018 SOC detailed occupations.

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. OEWS data are available at

The OEWS survey is a cooperative effort between BLS and the State Workforce Agencies (SWAs). BLS funds the survey and provides the procedures and technical support, while the State Workforce Agencies collect most of the data. OEWS estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.1 million establishments. Each year, two semiannual panels of approximately 179,000 to 187,000 sampled establishments are contacted, one panel in May and the other in November. Responses are obtained by Internet or other electronic means, mail, email, telephone, or personal visit. The May 2021 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2021, November 2020, May 2020, November 2019, May 2019, and November 2018. The unweighted sampled employment of 82 million across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 62 percent of total national employment. The overall national response rate for the six panels, based on the 50 states and the District of Columbia, is 67.2 percent based on establishments and 64.5 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The sample in the Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA Metropolitan Statistical Area included 2,939 establishments with a response rate of 64 percent. For more information about OEWS concepts and methodology, go to

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 Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Dallas County, Guthrie County, Madison County, Polk County, and Warren County.

For more information

Answers to frequently asked questions about the OEWS data are available at Detailed information about the OEWS program is available at

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, Des Moines metropolitan area, May 2021
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Business and financial operations occupations

31,970 1.4 $36.99 $76,940

Buyers and purchasing agents

1,020 0.9 31.07 64,620

Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators

1,780 2.5 31.24 64,970

Compliance officers

1,010 1.2 34.12 70,970

Cost estimators

600 1.1 34.54 71,840

Human resources specialists

2,050 1.1 32.00 66,560

Labor relations specialists

210 1.3 39.50 82,150


370 0.8 32.01 66,580

Project management specialists

1,470 0.8 42.68 88,770

Management analysts

3,430 1.8 44.61 92,780

Meeting, convention, and event planners

290 1.2 25.05 52,100


230 1.1 27.73 57,670

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists

310 1.4 34.72 72,220

Training and development specialists

1,290 1.5 31.76 66,060

Market research analysts and marketing specialists

2,530 1.4 34.25 71,230

Business operations specialists, all other

3,050 1.2 34.70 72,180

Accountants and auditors

3,940 1.2 37.03 77,010

Property appraisers and assessors

410 2.8 37.63 78,270

Budget analysts

150 1.2 39.25 81,630

Credit analysts

400 2.3 50.84 105,740

Financial and investment analysts

1,220 1.7 44.24 92,010

Personal financial advisors

530 0.8 52.76 109,730

Insurance underwriters

1,120 4.1 35.87 74,600

Financial risk specialists

920 6.7 (5) (5)

Financial examiners

720 4.7 42.25 87,870

Credit counselors

190 2.5 23.61 49,110

Loan officers

1,660 1.9 36.49 75,890

Tax preparers

180 0.9 22.99 47,830

Financial specialists, all other

660 2.1 33.02 68,680

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA 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: Friday, August 05, 2022