Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

News Release Information

Thursday, April 09, 2015

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

Occupational Employment and Wages in Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, May 2014

Workers in the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $24.44 in May 2014, about 8 percent above 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 12 of the 22 major occupational groups, including architecture and engineering; life, physical, and social science; and legal. Six groups had wages that were measurably lower than their respective national averages; included in this grouping were personal care and service, as well as protective service.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Houston employment was more highly concentrated in 6 of the 22 occupational groups including construction and extraction; architecture and engineering; and transportation and material moving. Conversely, 10 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including healthcare practitioners and technical; healthcare support; and food preparation and serving related. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2014
Major occupational groupPercent of total employmentMean hourly wage
United StatesHouston-Sugar Land-BaytownUnited StatesHouston-Sugar Land-BaytownPercent difference(1)

Total, all occupations

100.0%100.0% $22.71$24.44*8



Business and financial operations


Computer and mathematical

2.82.9 40.3742.42*5

Architecture and engineering


Life, physical, and social science


Community and social service



0.80.8 48.6158.48*20

Education, training, and library

6.25.6*25.1024.66 -2

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media


Healthcare practitioners and technical


Healthcare support

2.92.0*13.8613.77 -1

Protective service

2.42.4 21.1419.04*-10

Food preparation and serving related


Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance


Personal care and service

3.13.0 12.0110.48*-13

Sales and related

10.510.6 18.5921.63*16

Office and administrative support

16.016.2 17.0817.57*3

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.30.1*12.0913.21 9

Construction and extraction


Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.94.2*21.7421.85 1



Transportation and material moving


(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown 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 – architecture and engineering – was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Houston had 92,550 jobs in architecture and engineering, accounting for 3.3 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 1.8-percent national share. The local average hourly wage for this occupational group was $49.68, more than 25 percent above the national average of $39.19.

With employment of 11,570, petroleum engineers was one of the largest occupations within the architecture and engineering group, as were civil engineers (10,850) and mechanical engineers (9,260). Among the higher paying jobs were petroleum engineers and chemical engineers, with mean hourly wages of $80.91 and $61.72, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were surveying and mapping technicians ($22.31) and civil engineering technicians ($23.69). (Detailed occupational data for the architecture and engineering group are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations 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 Houston metropolitan area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the detailed occupations within the architecture and engineering group. For instance, petroleum engineers were employed at 16.3 times the national rate in Houston, while marine engineers and naval architects were employed at 10.2 times the U.S. average. Both location quotients were among the highest in all metropolitan areas for these particular occupations. On the other hand, environmental engineers had a location quotient of 0.9 in Houston, 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 Texas 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 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan Statistical Area included 9,934 establishments with a response rate of 51 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 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes includes Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto, and Waller Counties in Texas.

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, Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2014
Occupation(1)EmploymentMean wages


Architecture and engineering occupations

Architects, except landscape and naval


Landscape architects


Cartographers and photogrammetrists




Aerospace engineers


Biomedical engineers


Chemical engineers


Civil engineers


Electrical engineers


Electronics engineers, except computer


Environmental engineers


Health and safety engineers, except mining safety engineers and inspectors


Industrial engineers


Marine engineers and naval architects


Materials engineers


Mechanical engineers


Mining and geological engineers, including mining safety engineers


Nuclear engineers


Petroleum engineers


Engineers, all other


Architectural and civil drafters


Electrical and electronics drafters


Mechanical drafters


Drafters, all other


Aerospace engineering and operations technicians


Civil engineering technicians


Electrical and electronics engineering technicians


Electro-mechanical technicians


Environmental engineering technicians


Industrial engineering technicians


Mechanical engineering technicians


Engineering technicians, except drafters, all other


Surveying and mapping technicians


(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown 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, April 09, 2015