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Wednesday, June 21, 2017


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Occupational Employment and Wages in Lexington-Fayette – May 2016

Workers in the Lexington-Fayette Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $20.97 in May 2016, about 12 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 18 of the 22 major occupational groups, including computer and mathematical; management; and sales and related.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 5 of the 22 occupational groups, including production; healthcare practitioners and technical; and transportation and material moving. Conversely, 10 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including business and financial operations; computer and mathematical; and office and administrative support. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Lexington-Fayette Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2016
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Lexington United States Lexington Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0 100.0 $23.86 $20.97* -12


5.1 4.9 56.74 45.86* -19

Business and financial operations

5.2 3.5* 36.09 30.72* -15

Computer and mathematical

3.0 1.8* 42.25 32.79* -22

Architecture and engineering

1.8 1.8 40.53 34.09* -16

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 1.0* 35.06 22.58* -36

Community and social service

1.4 1.2* 22.69 20.87* -8


0.8 0.5* 50.95 38.70* -24

Education, training, and library

6.2 5.8* 26.21 27.56 5

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.4 1.2* 28.07 22.04* -21

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.9 7.6* 38.06 34.42* -10

Healthcare support

2.9 2.9 14.65 14.18* -3

Protective service

2.4 2.3 22.03 16.89* -23

Food preparation and serving related

9.2 9.4 11.47 10.02* -13

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.2 3.0* 13.47 12.27* -9

Personal care and service

3.2 3.1 12.74 11.94* -6

Sales and related

10.4 9.5* 19.50 16.28* -17

Office and administrative support

15.7 14.7* 17.91 16.18* -10

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.6* 13.37 14.24 7

Construction and extraction

4.0 3.2* 23.51 21.14* -10

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 4.0 22.45 21.67 -3


6.5 10.2* 17.88 19.37 8

Transportation and material moving

6.9 7.8* 17.34 16.23* -6

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in the Lexington-Fayette 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—production—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Lexington-Fayette had 27,650 jobs in production, accounting for 10.2 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 6.5-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $19.37, compared to the national wage of $17.88.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the production group included team assemblers (9,430), first-line supervisors of production and operating workers (1,480), and inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers (1,450). Among the higher paying jobs were first-line supervisors of production and operating workers, and tool and die makers, with mean hourly wages of $32.76 and $29.83, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were laundry and dry-cleaning workers ($10.07) and production workers' helpers ($12.46). (Detailed occupational data for production 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 Lexington-Fayette Metropolitan Statistical Area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in some of the occupations within the production group. For instance, team assemblers were employed at 4.4 times the national rate in Lexington, and metal and plastic extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders at 2.0 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, electrical and electronic equipment assemblers had a location quotient of 1.0 in Lexington, 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, Kentucky Department for Workforce Investment.

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.

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

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 Lexington-Fayette Metropolitan Statistical Area included 2,386 establishments with a response rate of 75 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

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 and information about the 2012 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 Lexington-Fayette, Ky. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Bourbon, Clark, Fayette, Jessamine, Scott, and Woodford Counties.

Additional information

OES data are available on our regional web page at Answers to frequently asked questions about the OES data are available at Detailed technical information about the OES survey is available in our Survey Methods and Reliability Statement on the BLS website 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 from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Lexington-Fayette Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2016
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Production occupations

27,650 1.6 $19.37 $40,290

First-line supervisors of production and operating workers

1,480 1.3 32.76 68,130

Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers

400 1.0 18.59 38,680

Structural metal fabricators and fitters

50 0.3 16.19 33,680

Team assemblers

9,430 4.4 22.07 45,900

Assemblers and fabricators, all other

(5) (5) 17.31 36,010


210 0.6 11.15 23,200

Butchers and meat cutters

140 0.5 14.91 31,010

Computer-controlled machine tool operators, metal and plastic

240 0.9 17.05 35,470

Computer numerically controlled machine tool programmers, metal and plastic

30 0.7 24.66 51,280

Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

270 2.0 15.62 32,480

Forging machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

120 3.2 23.21 48,270

Cutting, punching, and press machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

260 0.7 16.28 33,860


600 0.8 20.73 43,130

Molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

(5) (5) 14.34 29,830

Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

200 0.9 18.61 38,710

Tool and die makers

220 1.6 29.83 62,050

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers

410 0.6 23.26 48,370

Heat treating equipment setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

40 1.2 13.23 27,520

Printing press operators

290 0.9 16.83 35,000

Print binding and finishing workers

(5) (5) 16.73 34,790

Laundry and dry-cleaning workers

560 1.4 10.07 20,950

Sewing machine operators

140 0.5 10.13 21,060

Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters

110 0.6 16.15 33,590

Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing

50 0.4 12.44 25,880

Power plant operators

40 0.6 18.12 37,700

Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators

260 1.2 19.77 41,130

Chemical equipment operators and tenders

440 3.1 20.65 42,940

Crushing, grinding, and polishing machine setters, operators, and tenders

270 4.6 18.52 38,530

Mixing and blending machine setters, operators, and tenders

100 0.4 15.45 32,130

Cutting and slicing machine setters, operators, and tenders

130 1.1 13.33 27,730

Extruding, forming, pressing, and compacting machine setters, operators, and tenders

100 0.7 15.78 32,830

Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers

1,450 1.5 16.50 34,330

Dental laboratory technicians

90 1.3 25.00 52,000

Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders

570 0.8 13.89 28,900

Coating, painting, and spraying machine setters, operators, and tenders

150 0.9 17.11 35,580

Painters, transportation equipment

70 0.7 21.69 45,120

Painting, coating, and decorating workers

130 4.4 13.18 27,410

Molders, shapers, and casters, except metal and plastic

70 0.9 13.50 28,080

Helpers--production workers

880 1.1 12.46 25,910

Production workers, all other

(5) (5) 13.24 27,540

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Lexington-Fayette, KY Metropolitan Statistical Area, see
(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) Estimate not released.


Last Modified Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2017