Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Workers in the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $21.14 in May 2014, about 7 percent below the nationwide average of $22.71, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Janet S. Rankin 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. Sixteen groups had significantly lower wages than their respective national averages, including building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; computer and mathematical; and construction and extraction.
When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 6 of the 22 occupational groups, including healthcare practitioners and technical; sales and related; and office and administrative support. Conversely, 12 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including food preparation and serving related; education, training, and library; and management. (See table A and box note at end of release.)
|Major occupational group||Percent of total employment||Mean hourly wage|
|United States||Birmingham||United States||Birmingham||Percent difference (1)|
Total, all occupations
Business and financial operations
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
Food preparation and serving related
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance
Personal care and service
Sales and related
Office and administrative support
Farming, fishing, and forestry
Construction and extraction
Installation, maintenance, and repair
Transportation and material moving
One occupational group—healthcare practitioners and technical—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Birmingham-Hoover had 38,460 jobs in healthcare practitioners and technical, accounting for 7.8 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 5.8-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $31.65, significantly below the national wage of $36.54.
Some of the largest detailed occupations within the healthcare practitioners and technical group included registered nurses (15,240), licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (3,570), and pharmacy technicians (2,050). Among the higher paying jobs were family and general practitioners and pharmacists, with mean hourly wages of $86.19 and $53.74, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were pharmacy technicians ($12.47) and emergency medical technicians and paramedics ($13.39). (Detailed occupational data for healthcare practitioners and technical are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to www.bls.gov/oes/2014/may/oes_13820.htm.)
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 Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in some of the occupations within the healthcare practitioners and technical group. For instance, medical and clinical laboratory technologists were employed at 1.7 times the national rate in Birmingham, and registered nurses, at 1.6 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, physical therapists had a location quotient of 1.1 in Birmingham, 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 Alabama Department of Labor.
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 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. May 2014 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2014, November 2013, May 2013, November 2012, May 2012, and November 2011. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 74.3 percent based on establishments and 70.5 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The unweighted employment of sampled establishments across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 57.1 percent of total national employment. (Response rates are slightly lower for these estimates due to the federal shutdown in October 2013.) The sample in the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area included 3,509 establishments with a response rate of 75 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.
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 www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcst.htm and www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm, respectively.
The May 2014 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 www.bls.gov/soc and information about the 2012 NAICS is available at www.bls.gov/bls/naics.htm.
The substate area data published in this release reflect the standards and definitions established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
The Birmingham-Hoover, Ala. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair, and Walker Counties.
OES data are available on our regional web page at www.bls.gov/regions/southeast. Answers to frequently asked questions about the OES data are available at www.bls.gov/oes/oes_ques.htm. Detailed technical information about the OES survey is available in our Survey Methods and Reliability Statement on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/oes/2014/may/methods_statement.pdf.
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.
|Occupation (1)||Employment||Mean wages|
|Level (2)||Location quotient (3)||Hourly||Annual (4)|
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations
Dietitians and Nutritionists
Family and General Practitioners
Physicians and Surgeons, All Other
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians
Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
Nuclear Medicine Technologists
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists
Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics
Respiratory Therapy Technicians
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians
Ophthalmic Medical Technicians
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
Orthotists and Prosthetists
Health Technologists and Technicians, All Other
Occupational Health and Safety Specialists
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Workers, All Other
Last Modified Date: Tuesday, June 16, 2015