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News Release Information

Thursday, May 01, 2014

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Occupational Employment and Wages in Oklahoma City, May 2013

Workers in the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $20.47 in May 2013, 8 percent below the nationwide average of $22.33, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Stanley W. Suchman noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were significantly lower than their respective national averages in 18 of the 22 major occupational groups, including management and legal occupations. Local wages were not statistically different from the national averages in four groups.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 7 of the 22 occupational groups, including office and administrative support; construction and extraction; and management. Conversely, seven groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including production, personal care and service, and computer and mathematical. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2013
Major occupational groupPercent of total employmentMean hourly wage
United StatesOklahoma City United StatesOklahoma City Percent

Total, all occupations

100.0%100.0% $22.33$20.47*-8



Business and financial operations

5.05.0 34.1429.35*-14

Computer and mathematical


Architecture and engineering

1.82.2*38.5139.66 3

Life, physical, and social science

0.90.9 33.3730.28 -9

Community and social service

1.41.3 21.5018.36*-15



Education, training, and library

6.35.9 24.7621.83*-12

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media


Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.86.4 35.9331.97*-11

Healthcare support

3.02.9 13.6112.31*-10

Protective service


Food preparation and serving related


Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance


Personal care and service


Sales and related

10.610.3 18.3717.19*-6

Office and administrative support


Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.30.1*11.7017.03 46

Construction and extraction


Installation, maintenance, and repair




Transportation and material moving

6.86.5 16.2815.93 -2

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Oklahoma City 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 – construction and extraction – was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Oklahoma City had 28,240 jobs in construction and extraction, accounting for 4.7 percent of area employment, significantly higher than the 3.8-percent national share. However, the local wage for this occupational group was significantly below the U.S. average. At $19.45 an hour, the mean wage for Oklahoma City construction and extraction workers was 11 percent below the $21.94 national average.

With employment of 3,530, construction laborers was one of the largest occupation within the construction and extraction group, as were first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers (2,900) and carpenters (2,430). Among the higher paying jobs was first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers with a mean hourly wage of $29.64. Other high paying jobs included oil and gas rotary drill operators and sheet metal workers at $27.87 and $25.06 per hour, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were construction laborers ($14.26) and electricians’ helpers ($14.84). (Detailed occupational data for construction and extraction workers are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of all detailed occupations, see

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 Oklahoma City metropolitan area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the construction and extraction group. For instance, oil and gas rotary drill operators were employed at 6.0 times the national rate in Oklahoma City, and oil and gas derrick operators, at 6.2 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, construction laborers had a location quotient of 1.0 in Oklahoma City, meaning the local employment share in this particular occupation matched the national average.

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 Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.


OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area were compared to their respective national averages based on statistical significance testing. Only those occupations with wages or employment shares above or below the national wage or share after testing for significance at the 90-percent confidence level meet the criteria.

Note: 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. Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands are also surveyed, but their data are not included in the national estimates. 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 for a 3-year period. May 2013 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected in May 2013, November 2012, May 2012, November 2011, May 2011, and November 2010. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 75.3 percent based on establishments and 71.6 percent based on employment. The sample in the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area included 4,016 establishments with a response rate of 76 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

The OES survey provides estimates of employment and hourly and annual wages for wage and salary workers in 22 major occupational groups and 821 detailed occupations for the nation, states, metropolitan statistical areas, metropolitan divisions, and nonmetropolitan areas. In addition, employment and wage estimates for 94 minor groups and 458 broad occupations are available in the national data. OES data by state and metropolitan/nonmetropolitan area are available from and, respectively.

The May 2013 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

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 Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Canadian, Cleveland, Grady, Lincoln, Logan, McClain, and Oklahoma Counties in Oklahoma.

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: 1-800-877-8339.

Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation,
Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2013
Occupation(1)EmploymentMean wages

Construction and extraction occupations


First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers


Brickmasons and blockmasons




Tile and marble setters


Cement masons and concrete finishers


Construction laborers


Paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators


Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators


Drywall and ceiling tile installers




Insulation workers, floor, ceiling, and wall


Painters, construction and maintenance




Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters


Reinforcing iron and rebar workers




Sheet metal workers


Structural iron and steel workers


Helpers-brickmasons, blockmasons, stonemasons, and tile and marble setters






Helpers-pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters




Construction and building inspectors


Hazardous materials removal workers


Highway maintenance workers


Septic tank servicers and sewer pipe cleaners


Derrick operators, oil and gas


Rotary drill operators, oil and gas


Service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining


Earth drillers, except oil and gas


Explosives workers, ordnance handling experts, and blasters


Roustabouts, oil and gas


Helpers-extraction workers


(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Oklahoma City MSA, 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) Estimates not released.


Last Modified Date: Thursday, May 01, 2014