Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

News Release Information

18-708-ATL
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Contacts

Technical information:
Media contact:
  • (404) 893-4220

Occupational Employment and Wages in Memphis – May 2017

Workers in the Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $21.13 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, wages in the local area were lower than their respective national averages in 19 of the 22 major occupational groups, including computer and mathematical; construction and extraction; and management. One group—farming, fishing, and forestry—had a significantly higher wage than its respective national average.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 4 of the 22 occupational groups, including transportation and material moving and office and administrative support. Conversely, 15 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including computer and mathematical; business and financial operations; and food preparation and serving related. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2017
Major occupational groupPercent of total employmentMean hourly wage
United StatesMemphisUnited StatesMemphisPercent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0100.0$24.34$21.13*-13

Management

5.15.4*57.6548.58*-16

Business and financial operations

5.23.9*36.7031.62*-14

Computer and mathematical

3.01.6*43.1834.18*-21

Architecture and engineering

1.81.0*41.4434.73*-16

Life, physical, and social science

0.80.5*35.7632.53*-9

Community and social service

1.51.1*23.1021.08*-9

Legal

0.80.5*51.6248.23-7

Education, training, and library

6.15.3*26.6725.19-6

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.40.8*28.3422.85*-19

Healthcare practitioners and technical

6.06.238.8336.24*-7

Healthcare support

2.92.3*15.0514.21*-6

Protective service

2.43.2*22.6918.65*-18

Food preparation and serving related

9.38.5*11.8810.21*-14

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.12.6*13.9112.79*-8

Personal care and service

3.62.8*13.1111.50*-12

Sales and related

10.29.6*19.5618.66*-5

Office and administrative support

15.417.1*18.2417.29*-5

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.30.1*13.8715.05*9

Construction and extraction

4.03.2*24.0119.13*-20

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.94.023.0221.87*-5

Production

6.36.018.3016.27*-11

Transportation and material moving

7.014.2*17.8216.28*-9

Footnotes:
(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in the Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.
* The percent share of employment or mean hourly wage for this area is significantly different from the national average of all areas at the 90-percent confidence level.

One occupational group—transportation and material moving—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Memphis had 87,600 jobs in transportation and material moving occupations, accounting for 14.2 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 7.0-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $16.28, significantly below the national wage of $17.82.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the transportation and material moving group included hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers (39,640), heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (15,590), and industrial truck and tractor operators (5,390). Among the higher paying jobs in this group were transportation inspectors and first-line supervisors of transportation and material moving workers, except aircraft cargo handling supervisors, with mean hourly wages of $44.25 and $27.05, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were parking lot attendants ($9.90) and ambulance drivers and attendants, except emergency medical technicians ($10.99). (Detailed data for transportation and material moving occupations are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available, go to www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_32820.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 Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in some of the occupations within the transportation and material moving group. For instance, hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers were employed at 3.4 times the national rate in Memphis, and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, at 2.1 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, cleaners of vehicles and equipment had a location quotient of 1.0 in Memphis, 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 Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development.

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.


Technical Note

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 Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area included 4,620 establishments with a response rate of 72 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 Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Benton, DeSoto, Marshall, Tate, and Tunica Counties in Mississippi; Crittenden County in Arkansas; Fayette, Shelby, and Tipton Counties in Tennessee.

Additional information

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.

Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2017
Occupation (1)EmploymentMean wages
Level (2)Location quotient (3)HourlyAnnual (4)

Transportation and material moving occupations

87,6002.0$16.28$33,860

First-line supervisors of transportation and material moving workers, except aircraft cargo handling supervisors

4,3502.527.0556,260

Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers

700.2(5)73,140

Commercial pilots

1300.8(5)83,420

Ambulance drivers and attendants, except emergency medical technicians

701.110.9922,860

Bus drivers, transit and intercity

6300.818.5738,630

Driver/sales workers

2,0401.113.0827,210

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

15,5902.120.3142,250

Light truck or delivery services drivers

5,3601.418.1937,840

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

9201.111.4123,730

Motor vehicle operators, all other

2100.914.6630,490

Sailors and marine oilers

2401.813.2827,610

Captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels

2401.620.1241,840

Parking lot attendants

3500.69.9020,580

Automotive and watercraft service attendants

6701.312.3325,650

Transportation inspectors

800.644.2592,030

Transportation workers, all other

2301.415.2231,650

Conveyor operators and tenders

(6)(6)17.0135,370

Crane and tower operators

600.323.0247,880

Excavating and loading machine and dragline operators

2801.417.3736,130

Industrial truck and tractor operators

5,3902.216.3534,010

Cleaners of vehicles and equipment

1,5701.012.0825,120

Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand

39,6403.413.7528,610

Machine feeders and offbearers

1700.513.3427,750

Packers and packagers, hand

4,1101.411.7424,430

Refuse and recyclable material collectors

4100.815.4732,170

Material moving workers, all other

700.615.4232,070

Footnotes:
(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area, see www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_32820.htm.
(2) Estimates for detailed occupations do not sum to the totals because the totals include occupations 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) 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.
(6) Estimate not released.

 

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2018