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News Release Information

Monday, July 27, 2015

Contacts Technical information: Media contact:
  • (972) 850-4800

Occupational Employment and Wages in Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, May 2014

Workers in the Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $20.77 in May 2014, about 9 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 higher than their respective national averages in 2 of the 22 major occupational groups, transportation and material moving; and production. Local wages were measurably lower in 14 groups, including computer and mathematical; protective service; and healthcare support. 

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 4 of the 22 occupational groups, including transportation and material moving; production; and construction and extraction. Conversely, 16 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including office and administrative support; education, training, and library; 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 Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2014
Major occupational groupPercent of total employmentMean hourly wage
United StatesHouma-
Bayou Cane-
United StatesHouma-
Bayou Cane-

Total, all occupations

100.0%100.0% $22.71$20.77*-9



Business and financial operations


Computer and mathematical


Architecture and engineering

1.81.7 39.1934.15*-13

Life, physical, and social science

0.80.5*33.6930.99 -8

Community and social service



0.80.2*48.6150.70 4

Education, training, and library


Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.30.6*26.82(2) (2)

Healthcare practitioners and technical


Healthcare support


Protective service

2.42.1 21.1415.95*-25

Food preparation and serving related

9.18.0*10.579.91 -6

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance


Personal care and service


Sales and related


Office and administrative support


Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.30.1*12.0912.82 6

Construction and extraction


Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.97.9*21.7420.87 -4



Transportation and material moving


(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Houma is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.
(2) Estimates not released.

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–transportation and material moving–was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Houma had 15,200 jobs in transportation and material moving, accounting for 15.3 percent of local area employment, more than double the 6.8-percent national share. More importantly, the local average hourly wage for this occupational group was $26.55, about 60 percent above the national wage of $16.57.

With employment of 3,790, captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels was one of the largest occupations within the transportation and material moving group, as were sailors and marine oilers (2,100) and hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers (2,080). Interestingly, the Houma area, along with New Orleans and Lafayette, ranked among the top metropolitan areas in the country for the largest numbers of captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels. Among the higher paying Houma area jobs were ship engineers, and captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels, with mean hourly wages of $49.32 and $41.55, respectively. At the lower end of the Houma wage scale were hand packers and packagers ($10.53) and hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers ($11.82). (Detailed occupational data for transportation and material moving are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of all 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 Houma metropolitan area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the transportation and material moving group. For instance, captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels were employed at 168.6 times the national rate. Similarly, ships engineers, as well as sailors and marine oilers, had location quotients that were more than 100 times the U.S. average, at 125.0 and 103.7, respectively. The location quotients for these three occupations were among the highest in all metropolitan areas for these particular occupations. On the other hand, industrial truck and tractor operators had a location quotient of 0.9 in Houma, indicating that this 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 Louisiana Workforce Commission.


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. 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 Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,376 establishments with a response rate of 77 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 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 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 Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes in Louisiana.

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, Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2014
Occupation(1)EmploymentMean wages

Transportation and material moving occupations


First-line supervisors of helpers, laborers, and material movers, hand


First-line supervisors of transportation and material-moving machine and vehicle operators


Commercial pilots


Bus drivers, school or special client


Driver/sales workers


Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers


Light truck or delivery services drivers


Taxi drivers and chauffeurs


Sailors and marine oilers


Captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels


Ship engineers


Crane and tower operators


Industrial truck and tractor operators


Cleaners of vehicles and equipment


Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand


Packers and packagers, hand


Pump operators, except wellhead pumpers


Tank car, truck, and ship loaders


(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux 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: Monday, July 27, 2015