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News Release Information

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Contacts Technical information: Media contact:
  • (415) 625-2270

Occupational Employment and Wages in Merced — May 2023

Workers in the Merced, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $27.45 in May 2023, compared to the nationwide average of $31.48, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Chris Rosenlund noted that higher paying major occupational groups included management ($58.77), legal ($54.16), and healthcare practitioners and technical ($51.83). Lower paying occupations included healthcare support ($17.74), food preparation and serving related ($17.87), and personal care and service ($19.05). (See table A.)

Occupational groups with the highest employment in the Merced area included transportation and material moving (10.7 percent), educational instruction and library (10.3 percent), and office and administrative support (9.6 percent). Major occupational groups on the lower end of local employment included legal (0.3 percent); architecture and engineering (0.4 percent); and arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media (0.5 percent). (See table A.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Merced metropolitan area, May 2023
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage ($)
United States Merced United States Merced

Total, all occupations

100.0 100.0 31.48 27.45


6.9 4.4 66.23 58.77

Business and financial operations

6.6 3.4 43.55 37.87

Computer and mathematical

3.4 0.9 54.39 43.64

Architecture and engineering

1.7 0.4 47.64 43.00

Life, physical, and social science

0.9 1.0 42.24 36.22

Community and social service

1.6 2.7 28.36 28.81


0.8 0.3 64.34 54.16

Educational instruction and library

5.8 10.3 31.92 36.71

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.4 0.5 36.31 28.59

Healthcare practitioners and technical

6.1 3.8 49.07 51.83

Healthcare support

4.7 7.3 18.37 17.74

Protective service

2.3 2.3 27.74 29.50

Food preparation and serving related

8.7 8.6 16.58 17.87

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

2.9 2.5 18.43 20.78

Personal care and service

2.0 1.4 18.48 19.05

Sales and related

8.8 7.6 25.62 21.76

Office and administrative support

12.2 9.6 23.05 23.71

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 6.6 19.22 17.98

Construction and extraction

4.1 3.3 29.57 30.48

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 4.0 28.13 30.43


5.8 8.6 22.90 22.00

Transportation and material moving

9.1 10.7 22.45 22.02

One occupational group—educational instruction and library—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Merced had 8,020 jobs in educational instruction and library, accounting for 10.3 percent of local area employment, compared to the 5.8-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $36.71, compared to the national wage of $31.92.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the educational instruction and library group included teaching assistants, except postsecondary (1,580), short-term substitute teachers (1,240), and elementary school teachers, except special education (1,230). Among the higher-paying jobs in this group were instructional coordinators and librarians and media collections specialists, with mean hourly wages of $51.61 and $48.45, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were preschool teachers, except special education ($21.69). (Detailed data for the educational instruction and library occupations are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available 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 Merced area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the educational instruction and library group. For instance, short-term substitute teachers were employed at 5.4 times the national rate in Merced, and teaching assistants, except postsecondary, at 2.3 times the U.S. average. Preschool teachers, except special education had a location quotient of 1.0 in Merced, indicating that this particular occupation’s local and national employment shares were similar.

The statistics in this release are from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, a cooperative effort between BLS and the State Workforce Agencies (SWAs). BLS funds the survey and provides the procedures and technical support. State Workforce Agencies collect most of the data: in this case, the California Employment Development Department.

Technical Note

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey is a semiannual survey measuring occupational employment and wage rates for wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments in the United States. The OEWS data available from BLS include cross-industry occupational employment and wage estimates for the nation; over 580 areas, including states and the District of Columbia, metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), nonmetropolitan areas, and territories; national industry-specific estimates at the NAICS sector, 3-digit, most 4-digit, and selected 5- and 6-digit industry levels; and national estimates by ownership across all industries and for schools and hospitals. Full OEWS data tables are available online.

Additional information about the OEWS estimates and methodology are available in the national Technical Notes. The overall national response rate for the six panels, based on the 50 states and the District of Columbia, is 65.8 percent based on establishments and 64.3 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The sample in the Merced, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area included 857 establishments with a response rate of 71 percent.

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.

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 Merced, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Merced County.

For more information

Answers to frequently asked questions about the OEWS data, as well as general program documentation, are available on the OEWS website.

Information in this release will be made available to individuals with sensory impairments upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Telecommunications Relay Service: 7-1-1.

Table 1. Employment and wage data for educational instruction and library occupations, Merced metropolitan area, May 2023
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages ($)
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Educational instruction and library occupations

8,020 1.8 36.71 76,350

Career/technical education teachers, postsecondary

50 0.8 25.83 53,720

Preschool teachers, except special education

220 1.0 21.69 45,120

Kindergarten teachers, except special education

130 2.2 (5) 100,490

Elementary school teachers, except special education

1,230 1.7 (5) 96,980

Middle school teachers, except special and career/technical education

390 1.2 (5) 90,720

Secondary school teachers, except special and career/technical education

800 1.5 (5) 108,510

Special education teachers, kindergarten and elementary school

130 1.2 (5) 84,990

Special education teachers, middle school

50 1.1 (5) 82,990

Special education teachers, secondary school

120 1.5 (5) 104,100

Special education teachers, all other

60 2.7 (5) 107,210

Substitute teachers, short-term

1,240 5.4 23.83 49,570


80 1.0 20.43 42,490

Teachers and instructors, all other

320 5.3 (5) 96,220

Librarians and media collections specialists

30 0.5 48.45 100,780

Library technicians

70 1.8 24.35 50,650

Instructional coordinators

120 1.2 51.61 107,340

Teaching assistants, except postsecondary

1,580 2.3 (5) 41,320

Educational instruction and library workers, all other

260 4.4 27.41 57,000

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Merced, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, see
(2) Estimates for detailed occupations may not sum to the totals due to rounding, and because the totals may include occupations that are 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) Wages for some occupations that do not generally work year-round, full time, are reported either as hourly wages or annual salaries depending on how they are typically paid.


Last Modified Date: Thursday, July 11, 2024