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Monday, June 27, 2016


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Occupational Employment and Wages in Des Moines-West Des Moines — May 2015

Workers in the Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $22.68 in May 2015, about 2 percent below the nationwide average of $23.23, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Charlene Peiffer noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were lower than their respective national averages in 10 of the 22 major occupational groups including legal; management; and arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media. Two groups had significantly lower wages than their respective national averages.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 5 of the 22 occupational groups, including business and financial operations; management; and office and administrative support. Conversely, eight groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including production; food preparation and serving related; and protective service. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2015
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Des Moines United States Des Moines Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0% $23.23 $22.68* -2


5.0 6.6* 55.30 48.90* -12

Business and Financial Operations

5.1 7.2* 35.48 31.98* -10

Computer and Mathematical

2.9 3.4* 41.43 37.40* -10

Architecture and Engineering

1.8 1.0* 39.89 33.96* -15

Life, Physical, and Social Science

0.8 0.7* 34.24 30.92* -10

Community and Social Services

1.4 1.3 22.19 21.69 -2


0.8 0.8 49.74 42.88* -14

Education, Training, and Library

6.2 5.7* 25.48 22.09* -13

Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media

1.3 1.5* 27.39 21.07* -23

Healthcare Practitioner and Technical

5.8 5.2 37.40 36.12 -3

Healthcare Support

2.9 2.2* 14.19 15.04* 6

Protective Service

2.4 1.5* 21.45 20.05 -7

Food Preparation and Serving Related

9.1 8.2* 10.98 9.92* -10

Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance

3.2 3.1 13.02 12.97 0

Personal Care and Service

3.1 3.0 12.33 11.89 -4

Sales and Related

10.5 10.6 18.90 19.43 3

Office and Administrative Support

15.8 17.0* 17.47 17.73 1

Farming, Fishing, and Forestry

0.3 0.1* 12.67 16.59* 31

Construction and Extraction

4.0 4.0 22.88 22.70 -1

Installation, Maintenance, and Repair

3.9 4.1 22.11 22.05 0


6.6 5.5* 17.41 16.25* -7

Transportation and Material Moving

6.9 7.2 16.90 16.75 -1

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Des Moines is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.
* 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—business and financial operations—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Des Moines-West Des Moines had 25,050 jobs in business and financial operations, accounting for 7.2 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 5.1-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $31.98, significantly below the national wage of $35.48.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the business and financial operations group included accountants and auditors (3,140), loan officers (2,280), and management analysts (1,820). Among the higher paying jobs were management analysts ($40.00) and compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists ($35.47). At the lower end of the wage scale were credit counselors ($21.35) and tax preparers ($21.44). (Detailed occupational data for business and financial operations 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 Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in some of the occupations within the business and financial operations group. For instance, insurance underwriters were employed at 3.9 times the national rate in Des Moines, and loan officers, at 3.0 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, accountants and auditors had a location quotient of 1.0 in Des Moines, 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 Iowa Department of Workforce Development.

Notes on Occupational Employment Statistics Data

With the issuance of data for May 2015, the OES program has incorporated redefined metropolitan area definitions as designated by the Office of Management and Budget. OES data are available for 394 metropolitan areas, 38 metropolitan divisions, and 167 OES-defined nonmetropolitan areas. A listing of the areas and their definitions can be found at

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 program produces employment and wage estimates for over 800 occupations for all industries combined in the nation; the 50 states and the District of Columbia; 432 metropolitan areas and divisions; 167 nonmetropolitan areas; and Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. National estimates are also available by industry for NAICS sectors, 3-, 4-, and selected 5- and 6-digit industries, and 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. Forms are mailed to approximately 200,000 sampled establishments in May and November each year. May 2015 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2015, November 2014, May 2014, November 2013, May 2013, and November 2012. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 73.5 percent based on establishments and 69.6 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The unweighted employment of sampled establishments across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 57.9 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 Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area included 3,085 establishments with a response rate of 73 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

The May 2015 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 Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Dallas, Guthrie, Madison, Polk, and Warren Counties.

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, Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2015
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Business and Financial Operations Occupations

25,050 1.4 $31.98 $66,520

Buyers and Purchasing Agents, Farm Products

40 1.2 32.92 68,470

Wholesale and Retail Buyers, Except Farm Products

190 0.7 25.03 52,050

Purchasing Agents, Except Wholesale, Retail, and Farm Products

500 0.7 27.65 57,500

Claims Adjusters, Examiners, and Investigators

1,580 2.3 27.43 57,050

Compliance Officers

710 1.1 31.54 65,610

Cost Estimators

620 1.1 27.98 58,200

Human Resources Specialists

1,430 1.2 27.07 56,300

Labor Relations Specialists

370 1.9 27.90 58,040


420 1.3 26.21 54,510

Management Analysts

1,820 1.2 40.00 83,200

Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners

330 1.5 23.45 48,770


180 1.1 24.46 50,880

Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists

280 1.4 35.47 73,770

Training and Development Specialists

850 1.3 28.41 59,090

Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists

1,660 1.3 32.66 67,940

Business Operations Specialists, All Other

3,320 1.4 33.71 70,130

Accountants and Auditors

3,140 1.0 32.25 67,090

Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate

140 1.0 28.03 58,300

Budget Analysts

140 1.0 35.12 73,040

Financial Analysts

1,160 1.7 (5) (5)

Personal Financial Advisors

880 1.8 35.04 72,890

Insurance Underwriters

890 3.9 30.72 63,910

Credit Counselors

170 2.2 21.35 44,400

Loan Officers

2,280 3.0 30.33 63,090

Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

140 0.9 29.97 62,330

Tax Preparers

(5) (5) 21.44 44,600

Financial Specialists, All Other

420 1.3 33.59 69,870

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Des Moines-West Des Moines 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.
(5) Estimates not released.


Last Modified Date: Monday, June 27, 2016