News Release Information
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Occupational Employment and Wages in Fort Smith, May 2016
Workers in the Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $16.79 in May 2015, about 28 percent below the nationwide average of $23.23, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Stanley W. Suchman noted that, after testing for statistical significance, all 22 of the local major occupational groups had hourly wages significantly lower than their respective national averages. Among the local groups with larger wage disparities were legal; arts design, entertainment, sports, and media; and management.
When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 4 of the 22 occupational groups, including production; transportation and material moving; and construction and extraction. Conversely, 11 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including business and financial operations; computer and mathematical; and education, training, and library. (See table A and box note at end of release.)
|Major occupational group||Percent of total employment||Mean hourly wage|
|United States||Fort Smith, AR-OK||United States||Fort Smith, AR-OK||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
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 14,010 jobs in production, accounting for 12.8 percent of local area employment, nearly double the 6.6-percent national share. However, the local average hourly wage for this occupational group was $14.37, significantly below the national average of $17.41.
Some of the larger detailed occupations within the production group included production workers’ helpers (2,650), team assemblers (1,230), and first-line supervisors of production and operating workers (980). Among the higher-paying jobs were gas plant operators, as well as first-line supervisors of production and operating workers, with mean hourly wages of $31.07 and $24.17, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were laundry and dry-cleaning workers ($9.49) and production workers’ helpers ($10.11). (Detailed occupational data for the production 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 the majority of occupations within the production group. For instance, meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers were employed at 10.1 times the national rate in Fort Smith, and production workers’ helpers, at 4.4 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. The OES data available from BLS include cross-industry occupational employment and wage estimates for the nation; over 650 areas, including states and the District of Columbia, metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), metropolitan divisions, nonmetropolitan areas, and territories; national industry-specific estimates at the NAICS sector, 3-, 4-, and selected 5- and 6-digit industry levels, and national estimates by ownership across all industries and for schools and hospitals. OES data are available at www.bls.gov/oes/tables.htm.
OES estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.2 million establishments. Each year, two semiannual panels of approximately 200,000 sampled establishments are contacted, one panel in May and the other in November. Responses are obtained by mail, Internet or other electronic means, email, telephone, or personal visit. The May 2016 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2016, November 2015, May 2015, November 2014, May 2014, and November 2013. The overall national response rate for the six panels, based on the 50 states and the District of Columbia, is 73 percent based on establishments and 69 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The unweighted employment of sampled establishments across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 58 percent of total national employment. The sample in the Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,679 establishments with a response rate of 81 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.
The May 2016 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.
Metropolitan 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 Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Crawford 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 the 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
Food processing workers, all other
Computer-controlled machine tool operators, metal and plastic
Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic
Cutting, punching, and press machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and 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
Printing press operators
Print binding and finishing workers
Laundry and dry-cleaning workers
Pressers, textile, garment, and related materials
Sewing machine operators
Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters
Sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood
Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing
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
Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers
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
Cooling and freezing equipment operators and tenders
Molders, shapers, and casters, except metal and plastic
Paper goods machine setters, operators, and tenders
Production workers, all other
Last Modified Date: Thursday, July 13, 2017