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June 26, 2014


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Occupational Employment and Wages in Iowa City, Iowa MSA – May 2013

Workers in the Iowa City Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $22.54 in May 2013, compared to the nationwide average of $22.33, 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 significantly higher than their respective national averages in 4 of the 22 major occupational groups, including education, training, and library; healthcare practitioners and technical; and healthcare support. Thirteen 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 life, physical, and social science. 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 2013
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% $22.33 $22.54 1


4.9 5.0 53.15 42.04* -21

Business and financial operations

5.0 4.0 34.14 30.33* -11

Computer and mathematical

2.8 2.5 39.43 33.30* -16

Architecture and engineering

1.8 1.0* 38.51 31.89* -17

Life, physical, and social science

0.9 3.0* 33.37 25.72* -23

Community and social services

1.4 1.9 21.50 19.45* -10


0.8 0.3* 47.89 26.24* -45

Education, training, and library

6.3 8.0 24.76 38.06* 54

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 1.2 26.72 21.70* -19

Healthcare practitioner and technical

5.8 9.1* 35.93 39.59* 10

Healthcare support

3.0 3.1 13.61 15.62* 15

Protective service

2.5 1.5* 20.92 20.06 -4

Food preparation and serving related

9.0 9.4 10.38 9.97* -4

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.2 2.9 12.51 13.59* 9

Personal care and service

3.0 3.4 11.88 10.90* -8

Sales and related

10.6 8.5* 18.37 15.12* -18

Office and administrative support

16.2 14.1 16.78 16.62 -1

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1* 11.70 12.43 6

Construction and extraction

3.8 3.3* 21.94 19.42* -11

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 3.0* 21.35 20.11* -6


6.6 6.2 16.79 16.56 -1

Transportation and material moving

6.8 8.4 16.28 18.05 11

(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.
* 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 8,020 jobs in healthcare practitioners and technical, accounting for 9.1 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 5.8-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $39.59, measurably above the national wage of $35.93.

With employment of 3,200, registered nurses was the largest occupation within the healthcare practitioners and technical group, followed by pharmacists (370) and pharmacy technicians (270). Among the higher paying jobs were family and general practitioners along with dentists, with mean hourly wages of $95.42 and $70.25, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were opticians, dispensing ($15.89) and pharmacy technicians ($16.79). (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 for the exploration of an area’s occupational make-up 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, physician assistants were employed at 2.6 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 1.0 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, the Iowa Department of Workforce Development.

OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Iowa City 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.

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 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 Iowa City Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,166 establishments with a response rate of 69 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 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 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: 1-800-877-8339.

Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Iowa City Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2013
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual(4)

Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations

8,020 1.6 $39.59 $82,340

Dentists, General

30 0.5 70.25 146,120

Dietitians and Nutritionists

50 1.3 26.56 55,250


370 1.9 47.56 98,920

Family and General Practitioners

90 1.1 95.42 198,480

Physicians and Surgeons, All Other

310 1.5 101.07 210,220

Physician Assistants

150 2.6 45.14 93,890

Occupational Therapists

100 1.4 39.66 82,480

Physical Therapists

140 1.1 40.86 84,990

Speech-Language Pathologists

80 1.0 37.09 77,160


50 1.2 36.58 76,090

Registered Nurses

3,200 1.8 29.19 60,720

Nurse Practitioners

180 2.3 42.89 89,220


30 4.4 33.00 68,630

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists

200 1.9 27.89 58,010

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians

100 1.0 23.28 48,430

Dental Hygienists

150 1.2 32.24 67,060

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

60 1.6 29.29 60,920

Radiologic Technologists

170 1.3 25.70 53,470

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists

40 1.8 27.17 56,520

Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics

150 1.0 18.39 38,250

Pharmacy Technicians

270 1.1 16.79 34,920

Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses

260 0.6 20.44 42,510

Medical Records and Health Information Technicians

110 0.9 22.29 46,360

Opticians, Dispensing

70 1.4 15.89 33,040

Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

30 3.6 27.60 57,410

Athletic Trainers

(5) (5) (5) 42,150

(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: Thursday, June 26, 2014