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News Release Information

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

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  • (972) 850-4800

Occupational Employment and Wages in Las Cruces, May 2016

Workers in the Las Cruces Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $19.94 in May 2016, about 16 percent below the nationwide average of $23.86, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Stanley W. Suchman noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were lower than their respective national averages in 18 of the 22 major groups including management; legal; and construction and extraction. Las Cruces’s education, training, and library group was the only local occupational group to have wages that were significantly higher than the corresponding national average.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 10 of the 22 occupational groups, including personal care and service; education, training, and library; and protective service. Conversely, eight groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including transportation and material moving; production; and sales and 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 Las Cruces, NM Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2016
Major occupational groupPercent of total employmentMean hourly wage
Las Cruces,
Las Cruces,

Total, all occupations

100.0100.0 $23.86$19.94*-16



Business and financial operations


Computer and mathematical

3.02.6 42.2537.11*-12

Architecture and engineering


Life, physical, and social science


Community and social service

1.41.7*22.6922.96 1



Education, training, and library


Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media


Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.95.5 38.0636.07 -5

Healthcare support


Protective service

2.44.0*22.0322.87 4

Food preparation and serving related


Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.23.0 13.4710.63*-21

Personal care and service


Sales and related


Office and administrative support

15.715.5 17.9114.44*-19

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 the Las Cruces, NM Metropolitan Statistical Area 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. Las Cruces had 1,980 jobs in architecture and engineering, accounting for 2.8 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 1.8-percent national share. However, the local average hourly wage for this occupational group was $37.38, measurably lower than the national average of $40.53.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the architecture and engineering group included electronics engineers, except computer (330) and electrical and electronics engineering technicians (270). Among the higher-paying jobs were aerospace engineers and electrical engineers, with mean hourly wages of $50.27 and $47.32, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were architectural and civil drafters ($20.74) and mapping technicians ($20.89). (Detailed occupational data for the architecture and engineering group are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of all 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 Las Cruces metropolitan area, above average concentrations of employment were found in most of the occupations within the architecture and engineering group. For instance, electronics engineers, except computer, were employed at 5.0 times the national average in Las Cruces, and electrical and electronics engineering technicians, at 4.0 times the national rate. Both location quotients were among the highest in all metropolitan areas for these particular occupations. On the other hand, civil engineers had a location quotient of 0.9 in Las Cruces, indicating that this particular 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 New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.


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. 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

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 Las Cruces Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,087 establishments with a response rate of 79 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

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 and information about the 2012 NAICS is available at

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 Las Cruces Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Doña Ana County in New Mexico.

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 the 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, Las Cruces, NM Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2016
Occupation(1)EmploymentMean wages

Architecture and engineering occupations


Architects, except landscape and naval


Aerospace engineers


Civil engineers


Computer hardware engineers


Electrical engineers


Electronics engineers, except computer


Industrial engineers


Materials engineers


Mechanical engineers


Engineers, all other


Architectural and civil drafters


Civil engineering technicians


Electrical and electronics engineering technicians


Engineering technicians, except drafters, all other


Surveying and mapping technicians


(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Las Cruces, NM Metropolitan Statistical Area, 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.


Last Modified Date: Tuesday, July 18, 2017