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Friday, May 27, 2016


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Occupational Employment and Wages in Memphis — May 2015

Workers in the Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $20.14 in May 2015, about 13 percent below the nationwide average of $23.23, 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 20 of the 22 major occupational groups including, computer and mathematical, management, and construction and extraction. One group had a significantly higher wage than its respective national average.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 5 of the 22 occupational groups, including transportation and material moving, management, and healthcare practitioners and technical. Conversely, 14 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including business and financial operations, computer and mathematical, and  construction and extraction. (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 2015
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Memphis United States Memphis Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0% $23.23 $20.14* -13


5.0 5.5* 55.30 45.55* -18

Business and financial operations

5.1 3.4* 35.48 30.10* -15

Computer and mathematical

2.9 1.5* 41.43 33.92* -18

Architecture and engineering

1.8 1.2* 39.89 35.58* -11

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 0.6* 34.24 29.50* -14

Community and social services

1.4 1.0* 22.19 19.74* -11


0.8 0.5* 49.74 45.83 -8

Education, training, and library

6.2 5.4* 25.48 23.27* -9

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 0.7* 27.39 22.63* -17

Healthcare practitioner and technical

5.8 6.3* 37.40 34.02* -9

Healthcare support

2.9 2.4* 14.19 12.81* -10

Protective service

2.4 3.3* 21.45 16.67* -22

Food preparation and serving related

9.1 8.2* 10.98 9.56* -13

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.2 2.9* 13.02 11.65* -11

Personal care and service

3.1 2.9 12.33 10.89* -12

Sales and related

10.5 9.7* 18.90 17.74* -6

Office and administrative support

15.8 16.1 17.47 16.58* -5

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1* 12.67 13.44* 6

Construction and extraction

4.0 3.0* 22.88 19.14* -16

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 4.2* 22.11 20.73* -6


6.6 6.3 17.41 16.43* -6

Transportation and material moving

6.9 14.8* 16.90 15.74* -7

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Memphis 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 89,480 jobs in transportation and material moving, accounting for 14.8 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 6.9-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $15.74, significantly below the national wage of $16.90.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the transportation and material moving group included hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers (40,320), heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (13,600), and hand packers and packagers (6,640). Among the higher paying jobs were first-line supervisors of transportation and material-moving machine and vehicle operators; and first-line supervisors of helpers, hand laborers, and material movers, with mean hourly wages of $28.46 and $25.25, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were cleaners of vehicles and equipment ($11.25) and school or special client bus drivers ($11.83). (Detailed occupational data for transportation and material moving 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 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 3.7 times the national rate in Memphis, and industrial truck and tractor operators, at 2.3 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, drivers/sales workers had a location quotient of 1.1 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 issuance of data for May 2015, the OES program has incorporated redefined metropolitan area definitions as designated by the Office of Management and Budget. OES data are available for 394 metropolitan areas, 38 metropolitan divisions, and 167 OES-defined nonmetropolitan areas. A listing of the areas and their definitions can be found at

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 program produces employment and wage estimates for over 800 occupations for all industries combined in the nation; the 50 states and the District of Columbia; 432 metropolitan areas and divisions; 167 nonmetropolitan areas; and Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. National estimates are also available by industry for NAICS sectors, 3-, 4-, and selected 5- and 6-digit industries, and 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. Forms are mailed to approximately 200,000 sampled establishments in May and November each year. May 2015 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2015, November 2014, May 2014, November 2013, May 2013, and November 2012. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 73.5 percent based on establishments and 69.6 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The unweighted employment of sampled establishments across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 57.9 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 Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area included 4,626 establishments with a response rate of 74 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

The May 2015 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 Memphis, Tn.-Ms.-Ar. Metropolitan Statistical Area  includes Crittenden County, Arkansas; DeSoto, Marshall, Tate, and Tunica Counties of Mississippi, and Fayette, Shelby, and Tipton Counties of Tennessee.

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, Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2015
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Transportation and Material Moving Occupations

89,480 2.2 $15.74 $32,730

Aircraft Cargo Handling Supervisors

(5) (5) 18.77 39,040

First-Line Supervisors of Helpers, Laborers, and Material Movers, Hand

2,420 3.1 25.25 52,530

First-Line Supervisors of Transportation and Material-Moving Machine and Vehicle Operators

1,580 1.8 28.46 59,200

Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

250 0.7 (6) 94,550

Commercial Pilots

60 0.4 (6) 77,480

Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Except Emergency Medical Technicians

40 0.5 11.82 24,590

Bus Drivers, Transit and Intercity

820 1.1 16.66 34,640

Bus Drivers, School or Special Client

2,760 1.3 11.83 24,610

Driver/Sales Workers

2,000 1.1 13.93 28,960

Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers

13,600 1.9 20.48 42,600

Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers

5,130 1.4 16.76 34,860

Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs

800 1.0 11.28 23,450

Motor Vehicle Operators, All Other

240 1.0 14.44 30,030

Sailors and Marine Oilers

330 2.5 17.64 36,690

Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels

250 1.7 31.25 65,010

Parking Lot Attendants

260 0.4 9.59 19,950

Automotive and Watercraft Service Attendants

400 0.8 11.98 24,920

Traffic Technicians

40 1.3 18.14 37,730

Transportation Inspectors

130 1.1 35.11 73,040

Transportation Workers, All Other

130 0.8 16.96 35,270

Conveyor Operators and Tenders

(5) (5) 16.01 33,290

Crane and Tower Operators

120 0.6 22.31 46,400

Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators

220 1.0 15.88 33,020

Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators

5,380 2.3 13.42 27,920

Cleaners of Vehicles and Equipment

1,450 1.0 11.25 23,400

Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand

40,320 3.7 13.40 27,870

Machine Feeders and Offbearers

150 0.3 14.29 29,720

Packers and Packagers, Hand

6,640 2.1 10.33 21,480

Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors

340 0.7 15.19 31,600

Tank Car, Truck, and Ship Loaders

280 5.4 18.32 38,110

Material Moving Workers, All Other

190 2.0 13.33 27,720

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in Memphis, TN-MS-AR, 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.
(6) 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.


Last Modified Date: Friday, May 27, 2016