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News Release Information

Wednesday, April 22, 2020


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Occupational Employment and Wages in Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin — May 2019

Workers in the Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $23.98 in May 2019, about 7 percent below the nationwide average of $25.72, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Janet S. Rankin noted that, after testing for statistical significance, 17 of the 22 major occupational groups had average wages in the local area that were significantly lower than their respective national averages, including architecture and engineering, computer and mathematical, and healthcare practitioners and technical.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Nashville area employment was more highly concentrated in 6 of the 22 occupational groups, including transportation and material moving, management, and office and administrative support. Ten groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including healthcare support, educational instruction and library, 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 Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2019
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Nashville United States Nashville Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0 100.0 $25.72 $23.98* -7


5.5 7.1* 58.88 52.87* -10

Business and financial operations

5.6 (2) 37.56 31.92* -15

Computer and mathematical

3.1 2.8* 45.08 37.71* -16

Architecture and engineering

1.8 1.2* 42.69 35.58* -17

Life, physical, and social science

0.9 0.7* 37.28 30.49* -18

Community and social service

1.5 1.1* 24.27 21.67* -11


0.8 0.7* 52.71 45.65* -13

Educational instruction and library

6.1 4.7* 27.75 25.49* -8

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.4 1.5 29.79 29.20 -2

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.9 6.5* 40.21 35.74* -11

Healthcare support

4.4 2.9* 14.91 15.05 1

Protective service

2.4 2.3 23.98 19.19* -20

Food preparation and serving related

9.2 9.5* 12.82 11.38* -11

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.0 2.4* 15.03 13.89* -8

Personal care and service

2.2 2.0* 15.03 14.10* -6

Sales and related

9.8 9.4 20.70 20.74 0

Office and administrative support

13.3 14.1* 19.73 19.49* -1

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 (2) 15.07 (2)

Construction and extraction

4.2 3.4* 25.28 21.46* -15

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 4.0 24.10 22.62* -6


6.2 6.9* 19.30 18.93 -2

Transportation and material moving

8.5 10.3* 18.23 16.74* -8

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in the Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.
(2) Estimate not released
* The mean hourly wage or percent share of employment 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. Nashville had 102,930 jobs in transportation and material moving occupations, accounting for 10.3 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 8.5-percent share nationally. The local average hourly wage for this occupational group was $16.74, significantly lower than the national wage of $18.23.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the transportation and material moving group included laborers and hand freight, stock, and material movers (26,610); stockers and order fillers (21,270); and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (18,840). Among the higher paying jobs were transportation inspectors and captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels, with mean hourly wages of $40.48 and $35.75, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were automotive and watercraft service attendants ($12.02) and parking attendants ($12.07). (Detailed data for the transportation and material moving occupations 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 Nashville area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in some of the occupations within the transportation and material moving group. For instance, parking attendants and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers were each employed at 1.5 times the national rate in Nashville. Light truck drivers had a location quotient of 1.0 in Nashville, indicating that this particular occupation’s location 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.

Changes to the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Data

With the May 2019 estimates, the OES program has begun implementing the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. Each set of OES estimates is calculated from six panels of survey data collected over three years. Because the May 2019 estimates are based on a combination of survey data collected using the 2010 SOC and survey data collected using the 2018 SOC, these estimates use a hybrid of the two classification systems that contains some combinations of occupations that are not found in either the 2010 or 2018 SOC. These combinations may include occupations from more than one 2018 SOC minor group or broad occupation. Therefore, OES will not publish data for some 2018 SOC minor groups and broad occupations in the May 2019 estimates. The May 2021 estimates, to be published in Spring 2022, will be the first OES estimates based entirely on survey data collected using the 2018 SOC.

In addition, the OES program has replaced some 2018 SOC detailed occupations with SOC broad occupations or OES-specific aggregations. These include home health aides and personal care aides, for which OES will publish only the 2018 SOC broad occupation 31-1120 Home Health and Personal Care Aides.

For more information on the occupational classification system used in the May 2019 OES estimates, please see and

The May 2019 OES estimates use the metropolitan area definitions delineated in Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Bulletin 17-01, which add a new Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) for Twin Falls, Idaho. For more information on the area definitions used in the May 2019 estimates, please see


Technical Note

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey is a semiannual 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 580 areas, including states and the District of Columbia, metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), nonmetropolitan areas, and territories; national industry-specific estimates at the NAICS sector, 3-digit, most 4-digit, 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

The OES survey is a cooperative effort between BLS and the State Workforce Agencies (SWAs). BLS funds the survey and provides the procedures and technical support, while the State Workforce Agencies collect most of the data. OES estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.1 million establishments. Each year, two semiannual panels of approximately 180,000 to 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 2019 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2019, November 2018, May 2018, November 2017, May 2017, and November 2016. The unweighted sampled employment of 83 million across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 57 percent of total national employment. The overall national response rate for the six panels, based on the 50 states and the District of Columbia, is 71 percent based on establishments and 68 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The sample in the Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area included 4,817 establishments with a response rate of 70 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

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 May 2019 OES estimates are the first set of OES estimates to be based in part on survey data collected using the 2018 SOC. These estimates use a hybrid of the 2010 and 2018 SOC systems. More information on the hybrid classification system is available at

The May 2019 OES estimates are based on the 2017 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). More information about the 2017 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 Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Cannon, Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Maury, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson Counties.

Additional information

Answers to frequently asked questions about the OES data are available at Detailed information about the OES program is available 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 for transportation and material moving occupations, Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2019
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Transportation and material moving occupations

102,930 1.2 $16.74 $34,820

Aircraft cargo handling supervisors

70 1.1 33.36 69,400

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

4,170 1.4 25.78 53,610

Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers

80 0.1 (5) 89,270

Commercial pilots

60 0.2 (5) 107,720

Airfield operations specialists

60 0.8 15.89 33,060

Driver/sales workers

2,230 0.7 12.22 25,420

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

18,840 1.5 23.19 48,230

Light truck drivers

6,430 1.0 17.29 35,960

Bus drivers, transit and intercity

1,190 1.0 19.88 41,340

Passenger vehicle drivers, except bus drivers, transit and intercity

3,540 0.7 15.62 32,480

Motor vehicle operators, all other

540 1.4 15.08 31,380

Sailors and marine oilers

80 0.4 16.83 35,010

Captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels

(6) (6) 35.75 74,370

Parking attendants

1,530 1.5 12.07 25,110

Automotive and watercraft service attendants

730 0.9 12.02 25,000

Transportation inspectors

(6) (6) 40.48 84,190

Aircraft service attendants and transportation workers, all other

(6) (6) 15.71 32,680

Conveyor operators and tenders

30 0.2 19.38 40,320

Crane and tower operators

180 0.6 28.16 58,560

Industrial truck and tractor operators

5,740 1.3 16.97 35,310

Cleaners of vehicles and equipment

2,610 1.0 13.92 28,950

Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand

26,610 1.3 14.79 30,770

Machine feeders and offbearers

590 1.4 15.06 31,330

Packers and packagers, hand

4,480 1.0 12.50 26,010

Stockers and order fillers

21,270 1.5 13.12 27,300

Gas compressor and gas pumping station operators

50 2.1 21.16 44,020

Refuse and recyclable material collectors

630 0.8 12.81 26,640

Material moving workers, all other

290 1.5 18.47 38,420

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN 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) 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: Wednesday, April 22, 2020