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News Release Information

Wednesday, June 03, 2020


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Occupational Employment and Wages in La Crosse-Onalaska — May 2019

Workers in the La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $22.16 in May 2019, about 14 percent below the nationwide average of $25.72, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Charlene Peiffer noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were higher than their respective national averages in 1 of the 22 major occupational groups: construction and extraction. Seventeen groups had significantly lower wages than their respective national averages, including legal; computer and mathematical; and arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, La Crosse area employment was more highly concentrated in 4 of the 22 occupational groups, including healthcare practitioners and technical, production, and sales and related. Conversely, eleven groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including management, business and financial operations, and protective service. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2019
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States La Crosse United States La Crosse Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0 100.0 $25.72 $22.16* -14


5.5 3.8* 58.88 50.83* -14

Business and financial operations

5.6 4.0* 37.56 29.27* -22

Computer and mathematical

3.1 2.2* 45.08 32.85* -27

Architecture and engineering

1.8 1.4* 42.69 36.23* -15

Life, physical, and social science

0.9 0.6* 37.28 35.60 -5

Community and social service

1.5 1.7 24.27 21.15* -13


0.8 0.3* 52.71 31.64* -40

Educational instruction and library

6.1 6.7* 27.75 24.29* -12

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.4 1.1* 29.79 19.92* -33

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.9 8.7* 40.21 35.44* -12

Healthcare support

4.4 5.2 14.91 15.11 1

Protective service

2.4 1.2* 23.98 20.52* -14

Food preparation and serving related

9.2 9.5 12.82 11.48* -10

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.0 2.6* 15.03 13.91* -7

Personal care and service

2.2 2.5 15.03 13.32* -11

Sales and related

9.8 10.6* 20.70 18.03* -13

Office and administrative support

13.3 13.1 19.73 18.12* -8

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1* 15.07 12.62* -16

Construction and extraction

4.2 3.3* 25.28 27.22* 8

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 3.9 24.10 24.46 1


6.2 9.0* 19.30 18.26* -5

Transportation and material moving

8.5 8.4 18.23 18.91 4

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in the La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN 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—healthcare practitioners and technical—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. La Crosse had 6,650 jobs in healthcare practitioners and technical, accounting for 8.7 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 5.9-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $35.44, significantly below the national wage of $40.21.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the healthcare practitioners and technical group included registered nurses (2,990), pharmacy technicians (270), and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians (260). Among the higher-paying jobs in this group were pharmacists and nurse practitioners, with mean hourly wages of $61.76 and $55.48, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were emergency medical technicians and paramedics ($15.64) and opticians, dispensing ($16.16). (Detailed data for the healthcare practitioners and technical 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 La Crosse area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the healthcare practitioners and technical group. For instance, surgical technologists were employed at 2.0 times the national rate in La Crosse, and registered nurses, at 1.9 times the U.S. average. Pharmacists had a location quotient of 1.1 in La Crosse, 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 Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development.

Changes to the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Data

With the May 2019 estimates, the OES program has begun implementing the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. Each set of OES estimates is calculated from six panels of survey data collected over three years. Because the May 2019 estimates are based on a combination of survey data collected using the 2010 SOC and survey data collected using the 2018 SOC, these estimates use a hybrid of the two classification systems that contains some combinations of occupations that are not found in either the 2010 or 2018 SOC. These combinations may include occupations from more than one 2018 SOC minor group or broad occupation. Therefore, OES will not publish data for some 2018 SOC minor groups and broad occupations in the May 2019 estimates. The May 2021 estimates, to be published in Spring 2022, will be the first OES estimates based entirely on survey data collected using the 2018 SOC.

In addition, the OES program has replaced some 2018 SOC detailed occupations with SOC broad occupations or OES-specific aggregations. These include home health aides and personal care aides, for which OES will publish only the 2018 SOC broad occupation 31-1120 Home Health and Personal Care Aides.

For more information on the occupational classification system used in the May 2019 OES estimates, please see and

The May 2019 OES estimates use the metropolitan area definitions delineated in Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Bulletin 17-01, which add a new Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) for Twin Falls, Idaho. For more information on the area definitions used in the May 2019 estimates, please see

Technical Note

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey is a semiannual survey measuring occupational employment and wage rates for wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments in the United States. The OES 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. OES data are available at

The OES 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. OES estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.1 million establishments. Each year, two semiannual panels of approximately 180,000 to 200,000 sampled establishments are contacted, one panel in May and the other in November. Responses are obtained by mail, Internet or other electronic means, email, telephone, or personal visit. The May 2019 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2019, November 2018, May 2018, November 2017, May 2017, and November 2016. The unweighted sample employment of 83 million across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 57 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 71 percent based on establishments and 68 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The sample in the La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,155 establishments with a response rate of 76 percent. For more information about OES 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.

The May 2019 OES estimates are the first set of OES estimates to be based in part on survey data collected using the 2018 SOC. These estimates use a hybrid of the 2010 and 2018 SOC systems. More information on the hybrid classification system is available at

The May 2019 OES estimates are based on the 2017 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). More information about the 2017 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 La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area includes La Crosse County of Wisconsin and Houston County of Minnesota.

For more information

Answers to frequently asked questions about the OES data are available at Detailed information about the OES program is available 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 for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations, La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2019
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations

6,650 1.5 $35.44 $73,720


40 2.0 38.16 79,380

Dietitians and nutritionists

40 1.3 27.62 57,440


170 1.1 61.76 128,450

Physician assistants

(5) (5) 55.19 114,800

Occupational therapists

100 1.5 34.15 71,040

Physical therapists

180 1.5 39.22 81,570

Radiation therapists

50 5.2 35.40 73,640

Recreational therapists

40 4.4 21.19 44,070

Respiratory therapists

120 1.8 30.78 64,010

Speech-language pathologists

30 0.4 32.55 67,700


50 1.2 41.34 85,990

Registered nurses

2,990 1.9 35.03 72,870

Nurse practitioners

80 0.8 55.48 115,390

Family medicine physicians

80 1.4 (5) (5)

Physicians, all other; and ophthalmologists, except pediatric

150 0.8 103.31 214,890

Dental hygienists

150 1.3 33.97 70,660

Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians

260 1.5 25.37 52,780

Radiologic technologists and technicians

200 1.9 29.56 61,480

Emergency medical technicians and paramedics

120 0.9 15.64 32,540

Pharmacy technicians

270 1.3 16.43 34,170

Surgical technologists

110 2.0 26.42 54,940

Veterinary technologists and technicians

50 1.0 16.59 34,500

Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses

180 0.5 22.43 46,640

Opticians, dispensing

30 0.9 16.16 33,620

Medical dosimetrists, medical records specialists, and health technologists and technicians, all other

350 2.1 19.96 41,510

Athletic trainers

60 3.8 (6) 53,550

Health information technologists, medical registrars, surgical assistants, and healthcare practitioners and technical workers, all other

80 3.0 28.26 58,780

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN 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.
(6) Wages for some occupations that do not generally work year-round, full time, are reported either as hourly wages or annual salaries depending on how they are typically paid.


Last Modified Date: Wednesday, June 03, 2020