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Monday, July 13, 2015
Workers in the Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $16.92 in May 2014, about 25 percent below the nationwide average of $22.71, 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 lower than their respective national averages in 21 of the 22 major occupational groups; local wages for the farming, fishing, and forestry occupational group were not measurably different from the national average.
When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 3 of the 22 occupational groups, including production; transportation and material moving; and installation, maintenance, and repair. Conversely, 12 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.)
|Major occupational group||Percent of total employment||Mean hourly wage|
|United States||Fort Smith||United States||Fort Smith||Percent|
Total, all occupations
Business and financial operations
Computer and mathematical
Architecture and engineering
Life, physical, and social science
Community and social service
Education, training, and library
Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media
Healthcare practitioners and technical
Food preparation and serving related
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance
Personal care and service
Sales and related
Office and administrative support
Farming, fishing, and forestry
Construction and extraction
Installation, maintenance, and repair
Transportation and material moving
(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Fort Smith is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.
Note: * 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. Fort Smith had 14,890 jobs in production, accounting for 13.1 percent of local area employment, more than double the 6.6-percent national share. However, the local average hourly wage for this occupational group was $14.23, significantly below the national average of $17.06.
With employment of 1,470, team assemblers was one of the largest occupations within the production group, as were meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers (1,430) and production worker helpers (1,370). Among the higher paying jobs were first-line supervisors of production and operating workers, as well as metal and plastic computer-controlled machine tool operators, with mean hourly wages of $22.23 and $20.34, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were slaughterers and meat packers ($8.81) and laundry and dry-cleaning workers ($9.23). (Detailed occupational data for the production occupational group are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_22900.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 Fort Smith metropolitan area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the production group. For instance, meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers were employed at 11.4 times the national rate in Fort Smith, and slaughterers and meat packers, at 10.6 times the U.S. average. Both location quotients were among the highest in all metropolitan areas for these particular occupations.
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 Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.
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 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. May 2014 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2014, November 2013, May 2013, November 2012, May 2012, and November 2011. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 74.3 percent based on establishments and 70.5 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The unweighted employment of sampled establishments across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 57.1 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 Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,855 establishments with a response rate of 85 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.
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 www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcst.htm and www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm, respectively.
The May 2014 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 www.bls.gov/soc and information about the 2012 NAICS is available at www.bls.gov/bls/naics.htm.
The substate area data published in this release reflect the standards and definitions established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
The Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties in Arkansas, and Le Flore and Sequoyah Counties in Oklahoma.
OES data are available on our regional web page at www.bls.gov/regions/southwest. 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.
First-line supervisors of production and operating workers
Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers
Structural metal fabricators and fitters
Assemblers and fabricators, all other
Butchers and meat cutters
Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers
Slaughterers and meat packers
Food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators and tenders
Food cooking machine operators and tenders
Food processing workers, all other
Computer-controlled machine tool operators, metal and plastic
Cutting, punching, and press machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic
Grinding, lapping, polishing, & buffing machine tool setters, operators, & tenders, metal & plastic
Molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic
Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic
Tool and die makers
Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers
Welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders
Heat treating equipment setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic
Plating and coating machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic
Print binding and finishing workers
Laundry and dry-cleaning workers
Pressers, textile, garment, and related materials
Sewing machine operators
Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters
Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing
Power plant operators
Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators
Gas plant operators
Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers
Separating, filtering, clarifying, precipitating, and still machine setters, operators, and tenders
Crushing, grinding, and polishing machine setters, operators, and tenders
Mixing and blending machine setters, operators, and tenders
Cutting and slicing machine setters, operators, and tenders
Furnace, kiln, oven, drier, and kettle operators and tenders
Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers
Ophthalmic laboratory technicians
Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders
Coating, painting, and spraying machine setters, operators, and tenders
Cleaning, washing, and metal pickling equipment operators and tenders
Molders, shapers, and casters, except metal and plastic
Paper goods machine setters, operators, and tenders
Production workers, all other
(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Fort Smith MSA, see www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_22900.htm.
Last Modified Date: Monday, July 13, 2015