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News Release Information

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

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Occupational Employment and Wages in Oklahoma City, May 2014

Workers in the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $20.80 in May 2014, about 8 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 19 of the 22 major occupational groups, including legal; arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; and computer and mathematical occupations. Local wages were not statistically different from the national averages in the three remaining groups.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Oklahoma City employment was more highly concentrated in 8 of the 22 occupational groups, including construction and extraction; management; and healthcare practitioners and technical. Conversely, seven groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including production; personal care and service; and education, training, and library. (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 2014
Major occupational groupPercent of total employmentMean hourly wage
United StatesOklahoma CityUnited StatesOklahoma CityPercent difference(1)

Total, all occupations

100.0%100.0% $22.71$20.80*-8



Business and financial operations

5.15.1 34.8130.13*-13

Computer and mathematical


Architecture and engineering

1.82.1*39.1939.66 1

Life, physical, and social science

0.80.9 33.6931.62 -6

Community and social service




Education, training, and library

6.25.4 25.1020.82*-17

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media


Healthcare practitioners and technical


Healthcare support

2.92.9 13.8612.57*-9

Protective service


Food preparation and serving related


Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance


Personal care and service


Sales and related

10.510.2 18.5917.02*-8

Office and administrative support

16.016.3 17.0816.10*-6

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.30.1*12.0913.05 8

Construction and extraction


Installation, maintenance, and repair




Transportation and material moving

6.86.5 16.5715.83*-4

(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.

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 – construction and extraction – was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Oklahoma City had 29,830 jobs in construction and extraction, accounting for 5.0 percent of area employment, significantly higher than the 3.9-percent national share. However, the local wage for this occupational group was significantly below the U.S. average. At $19.83 an hour, the mean wage for Oklahoma City construction and extraction workers was 11 percent below the $22.40 national average.

With employment of 3,590, construction laborers was one of the largest occupations within the construction and extraction group, as were first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers (3,000) and sheet metal workers (2,390). Among the higher paying jobs was oil and gas rotary drill operators and first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers, with mean hourly wages of $29.51 and $29.39 per hour, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were carpenters’ helpers ($11.03) and  pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters’ helpers ($12.93). (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 derrick operators were employed at 6.4 times the national average in Oklahoma City, and oil and gas rotary drill operators, at 5.5 times the national rate. 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.


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 Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area included 4,057 establishments with a response rate of 75 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 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: 800-877-8339.

Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2014
Occupation(1)EmploymentMean wages


Construction and extraction occupations

First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers


Brickmasons and blockmasons






Carpet installers


Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles


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


Insulation workers, mechanical


Painters, construction and maintenance




Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters


Reinforcing iron and rebar workers




Sheet metal workers


Structural iron and steel workers






Helpers--painters, paperhangers, plasterers, and stucco masons


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: Wednesday, April 29, 2015