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Tuesday, July 14, 2015


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Occupational Employment and Wages in Iowa City – May 2014

Workers in the Iowa City Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $22.14 in May 2014, compared to the nationwide average of $22.71, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Charlene Peiffer noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were higher than their respective national averages in 3 of the 22 major occupational groups: education, training, and library; building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; and healthcare support. Ten groups had significantly lower wages than their respective national averages, including legal; management; and life, physical, and social science.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 2 of the 22 occupational groups: healthcare practitioners and technical, and food preparation and serving related. Conversely, seven groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including sales and related; protective service; and installation, maintenance, and repair. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Iowa City Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2014
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Iowa City United States Iowa City Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0% $22.71 $22.14 -3


5.0 5.0 54.08 41.85* -23

Business and financial operations

5.1 4.2 34.81 30.72* -12

Computer and mathematical

2.8 2.7 40.37 33.52* -17

Architecture and engineering

1.8 1.1* 39.19 32.96* -16

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 (2) 33.69 26.57* -21

Community and social services

1.4 2.0 21.79 21.55 -1


0.8 0.3* 48.61 27.38* -44

Education, training, and library

6.2 8.1 25.10 38.01* 51

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 1.2 26.82 21.76* -19

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.8 8.9* 36.54 33.88 -7

Healthcare support

2.9 3.4 13.86 14.83* 7

Protective service

2.4 1.6* 21.14 19.92 -6

Food preparation and serving related

9.1 10.0* 10.57 9.78* -7

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.2 2.9 12.68 13.86* 9

Personal care and service

3.1 3.0 12.01 11.83 -1

Sales and related

10.5 8.4* 18.59 14.56* -22

Office and administrative support

16.0 14.3 17.08 16.92 -1

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1* 12.09 13.13 9

Construction and extraction

3.9 3.5* 22.40 20.51* -8

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 3.0* 21.74 20.89 -4


6.6 5.6 17.06 16.90 -1

Transportation and material moving

6.8 8.6 16.57 18.02 9

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Iowa City is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.
(2) Estimate not released.
* 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—healthcare practitioners and technical—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Iowa City had 7,930 jobs in healthcare practitioners and technical, accounting for 8.9 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 5.8-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $33.88, compared to the national wage of $36.54.

Some of the largest detailed occupations within the healthcare practitioners and technical group included registered nurses (3,320), pharmacists (400), and medical records and health information technicians (400). Among the higher paying jobs were family and general practitioners; and pharmacists, with mean hourly wages of $118.41 and $49.17, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were opticians, dispensing ($14.70) and pharmacy technicians ($16.85). (Detailed occupational data for healthcare practitioners and technical 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 Iowa City Metropolitan Statistical Area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the healthcare practitioners and technical group. For instance, medical records and health information technicians were employed at 3.3 times the national rate in Iowa City, and nurse practitioners, at 2.3 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, emergency medical technicians and paramedics had a location quotient of 1.2 in Iowa City, 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,  Iowa Workforce Development.


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. 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. May 2014 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2014, November 2013, May 2013, November 2012, May 2012, and November 2011. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 74.3 percent based on establishments and 70.5 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The unweighted employment of sampled establishments across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 57.1 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 Iowa City Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,181 establishments with a response rate of 68 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

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 and, respectively.

The May 2014 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

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 Iowa City, Iowa Metropolitan Statistical Area  includes Johnson and Washington 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, Iowa City Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2014
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations

7,930 1.5 $33.88 $70,470


40 2.2 20.67 42,980


400 2.1 49.17 102,260

Family and General Practitioners

(5) (5) 118.41 246,300

Physicians and Surgeons, All Other

310 1.5 102.51 213,220

Physician Assistants

130 2.1 47.62 99,050

Occupational Therapists

100 1.4 36.05 74,980

Physical Therapists

110 0.8 35.83 74,520

Respiratory Therapists

150 1.9 24.96 51,910

Speech-Language Pathologists

90 1.1 36.96 76,870


40 1.0 38.56 80,200

Registered Nurses

3,320 1.9 29.07 60,470

Nurse Practitioners

180 2.3 45.20 94,010


30 3.9 35.15 73,110

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists

110 1.0 28.63 59,540

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians

220 2.1 20.41 42,460

Dental Hygienists

170 1.3 31.93 66,410

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

70 1.9 29.81 62,010

Radiologic Technologists

210 1.6 25.72 53,490

Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics

180 1.2 17.93 37,290

Pharmacy Technicians

310 1.3 16.85 35,050

Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

30 0.5 17.13 35,640

Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses

220 0.5 20.61 42,870

Medical Records and Health Information Technicians

400 3.3 (5) (5)

Opticians, Dispensing

80 1.6 14.70 30,580

Health Technologists and Technicians, All Other

110 1.8 22.76 47,330

Occupational Health and Safety Specialists

30 0.7 31.30 65,100

Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

30 3.6 27.16 56,480

Athletic Trainers

(5) (5) (5) 40,870

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in Iowa City, IA, 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) Estimate not released.


Last Modified Date: Tuesday, July 14, 2015