News Release Information
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Occupational Employment and Wages in Columbia – May 2017
Workers in the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $21.08 in May 2017, about 13 percent below the nationwide average of $24.34, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Janet S. Rankin noted that, after testing for statistical significance, 20 groups had significantly lower wages than their respective national averages, including legal; arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; and computer and mathematical.
When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 5 of the 22 occupational groups, including office and administrative support; installation, maintenance, and repair; and sales and related. Conversely, 11 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including personal care and service; business and financial operations; and food preparation and serving related. (See table A and box note at end of release.)
|Major occupational group||Percent of total employment||Mean hourly wage|
|United States||Columbia||United States||Columbia||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—office and administrative support—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Columbia had 61,300 jobs in office and administrative support occupations, accounting for 16.6 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 15.4-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $16.96, significantly below the national wage of $18.24.
Some of the larger detailed occupations within the office and administrative support group included customer service representatives (10,760), secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive (7,780), and first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers (6,910). Among the higher paying jobs in this group were executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants and first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers, with mean hourly wages of $24.89 and $24.50, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks ($10.17) and stock clerks and order fillers ($11.95). (Detailed data for office and administrative support occupations are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available, go to www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_17900.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 Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in several of the occupations within the office and administrative support group. For instance, insurance claims and policy processing clerks were employed at 2.0 times the national rate in Columbia, and first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers, at 1.8 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, tellers had a location quotient of 0.9 in Columbia, 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.
Notes on Occupational Employment Statistics Data
With the release of the May 2017 estimates, the OES program has replaced 21 detailed occupations found in the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) with 10 new aggregations of those occupations. In addition, selected 4- and 5-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industries previously published by OES will no longer be published separately. Some of the 4-digit NAICS industries that are no longer being published separately will instead be published as OES-specific industry aggregations. More information about the new occupational and industry aggregations is available at www.bls.gov/oes/changes_2017.htm.
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 2017 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2017, November 2016, May 2016, November 2015, May 2015, and November 2014. The overall national response rate for the six panels, based on the 50 states and the District of Columbia, is 72 percent based on establishments and 68 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The unweighted sample employment of 82 million across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 58 percent of total national employment. The sample in the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area included 2,762 establishments with a response rate of 64 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_tec.htm.
The May 2017 OES estimates are based on the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system and the 2017 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 2017 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 Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Calhoun, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Richland, and Saluda Counties in South Carolina.
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)|
Office and administrative support occupations
First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers
Switchboard operators, including answering service
Bill and account collectors
Billing and posting clerks
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
Payroll and timekeeping clerks
Court, municipal, and license clerks
Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks
Customer service representatives
Eligibility interviewers, government programs
Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks
Interviewers, except eligibility and loan
Library assistants, clerical
Loan interviewers and clerks
New accounts clerks
Human resources assistants, except payroll and timekeeping
Receptionists and information clerks
Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks
Information and record clerks, all other
Couriers and messengers
Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers
Dispatchers, except police, fire, and ambulance
Meter readers, utilities
Postal service clerks
Postal service mail carriers
Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators
Production, planning, and expediting clerks
Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks
Stock clerks and order fillers
Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, recordkeeping
Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants
Secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive
Data entry keyers
Insurance claims and policy processing clerks
Mail clerks and mail machine operators, except postal service
Office clerks, general
Last Modified Date: Thursday, May 17, 2018