News Release Information
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Occupational Employment and Wages in Bellingham, May 2013
Workers in the Bellingham Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $21.08 in May 2013, about 6 percent below the nationwide average of $22.33, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were significantly higher than their respective national averages in 10 of the 22 major occupational groups, including protective service; installation, maintenance, and repair; and construction and extraction. Seven groups had significantly lower wages than their respective national averages, including legal; management; and arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media.
When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 5 of the 22 occupational groups, including sales and related, construction and extraction, and food preparation and serving related. Conversely, six groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including office and administrative support, business and financial operations, and computer and mathematical. (See table A and box note at end of release.)
|Major occupational group||Percent of total employment||Mean hourly wage|
|United States||Bellingham||United States||Bellingham||Percent difference (1)|
Total, all occupations
Business and financial operations
Computer and mathematical
Architecture and engineering
Life, physical, and social science
Community and social services
Education, training, and library
Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media
Healthcare practitioner 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
One occupational group—construction and extraction—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Bellingham had 4,010 jobs in construction and extraction, accounting for 5.2 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 3.8-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $23.67, measurably above the national wage of $21.94.
Some of the largest detailed occupations within the construction and extraction group included carpenters (760), construction laborers (650), and first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers (370). Among the higher paying jobs were pipelayers, and operating engineers and other construction equipment operators, with mean hourly wages of $30.60 and $30.53, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were sheet metal workers ($15.55) and construction and maintenance painters ($17.21). (Detailed occupational data for construction and extraction are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to www.bls.gov/oes/2013/may/oes_13380.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 Bellingham Metropolitan Statistical Area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the construction and extraction group. For instance, carpenters were employed at 2.3 times the national rate in Bellingham, and construction and maintenance painters, at 2.2 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, electricians had a location quotient of 0.8 in Bellingham, 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 Washington Employment Security Department.
OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Bellingham metropolitan statistical area were compared to their respective national averages based on statistical significance testing. Only those occupations with wages or employment shares above or below the national wage or share after testing for significance at the 90-percent confidence level meet the criteria.
NOTE: 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. 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 for a 3-year period. May 2013 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected in May 2013, November 2012, May 2012, November 2011, May 2011, and November 2010. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 75.3 percent based on establishments and 71.6 percent based on employment. The sample in the Bellingham Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,407 establishments with a response rate of 76 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.
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 www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcst.htm and www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm , respectively.
The May 2013 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 .
The substate area data published in this release reflect the standards and definitions established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
The Bellingham, Wash. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Whatcom County.
OES data are available on our regional web page at www.bls.gov/regions/west/home.htm. 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 our Survey Methods and Reliability Statement on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/oes/2013/may/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: 1-800-877-8339.
|Occupation (1)||Employment||Mean wages|
|Level (2)||Location quotient (3)||Hourly||Annual(4)|
Construction and Extraction Occupations
First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers
Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers
Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators
Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers
Painters, Construction and Maintenance
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters
Sheet Metal Workers
Structural Iron and Steel Workers
Construction and Building Inspectors
Highway Maintenance Workers
Last Modified Date: Thursday, June 12, 2014