News Release Information
Tuesday, June 06, 2017
Occupational Employment and Wages in Charleston-North Charleston – May 2016
Workers in the Charleston-North Charleston Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $21.39 in May 2016, about 10 percent below the nationwide average of $23.86, 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 lower than their respective national averages in 16 of the 22 major occupational groups, including arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; construction and extraction; and sales and related. Two groups had significantly higher wages than their respective national averages: farming, fishing, and forestry; and production.
When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 7 of the 22 occupational groups, including food preparation and serving related; healthcare practitioners and technical; and sales and related. Conversely, 12 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including business and financial operations; transportation and material moving; and office and administrative support. (See table A and box note at end of release.)
|Major occupational group||Percent of total employment||Mean hourly wage|
|United States||Charleston||United States||Charleston||Percent difference (1)|
Total, all occupations
Business and financial operations
Computer and mathematical
Architecture and engineering
Life, physical, and social science
Community and social service
Education, training, and library
Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media
Healthcare practitioners 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—food preparation and serving related—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Charleston-North Charleston had 35,410 jobs in food preparation and serving related, accounting for 10.8 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 9.2-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $10.75, significantly below the national wage of $11.47.
Some of the larger detailed occupations within the food preparation and serving related group included combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food (8,660), waiters and waitresses (6,320), and restaurant cooks (4,290). Among the higher paying jobs were first-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers, and chefs and head cooks, with mean hourly wages of $17.17 and $14.60, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food ($8.78) and fast food cooks ($8.91). (Detailed occupational data for food preparation and serving related are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_16700.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 Charleston-North Charleston Metropolitan Statistical Area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in some of the occupations within the food preparation and serving related group. For instance, restaurant, lounge, and coffee shop hosts and hostesses were employed at 1.7 times the national rate in Charleston, and restaurant cooks, at 1.5 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, dishwashers had a location quotient of 1.0 in Charleston, 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 South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.
Note on Occupational Employment Statistics Data
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. The OES data available from BLS include cross-industry occupational employment and wage estimates for the nation; over 650 areas, including states and the District of Columbia, metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), metropolitan divisions, nonmetropolitan areas, and territories; national industry-specific estimates at the NAICS sector, 3-, 4-, 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 www.bls.gov/oes/tables.htm.
OES estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.2 million establishments. Each year, two semiannual panels of approximately 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 2016 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2016, November 2015, May 2015, November 2014, May 2014, and November 2013. The overall national response rate for the six panels, based on the 50 states and the District of Columbia, is 73 percent based on establishments and 69 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The unweighted employment of sampled establishments across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 58 percent of total national employment. The sample in the Charleston-North Charleston Metropolitan Statistical Area included 2,675 establishments with a response rate of 64 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.
The May 2016 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.
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 Charleston-North Charleston, S.C. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester 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/current/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)|
Food preparation and serving related occupations
Chefs and head cooks
First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers
Cooks, fast food
Cooks, institution and cafeteria
Cooks, short order
Food preparation workers
Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food
Counter attendants, cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shop
Waiters and waitresses
Food servers, nonrestaurant
Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers
Hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge, and coffee shop
Last Modified Date: Tuesday, June 06, 2017