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16-1330-DAL
Tuesday, July 05, 2016

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Occupational Employment and Wages in Fort Smith, May 2015

Workers in the Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $16.79 in May 2015, about 28 percent below the nationwide average of $23.23, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Stanley W. Suchman noted that, after testing for statistical significance, all 22 of the local major occupational groups had hourly wages significantly lower than their respective national averages. Among the local groups with larger wage disparities were legal; arts design, entertainment, sports, and media; and management.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 4 of the 22 occupational groups, including production; transportation and material moving; and construction and extraction. Conversely, 11 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including business and financial operations; computer and mathematical; and education, training, and library. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

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

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0%   $23.23 $16.79 * -28

Management

5.0 4.2 * 55.30 37.85 * -32

Business and financial operations

5.1 2.6 * 35.48 26.32 * -26

Computer and mathematical

2.9 1.0 * 41.43 28.86 * -30

Architecture and engineering

1.8 0.8 * 39.89 29.29 * -27

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 0.3 * 34.24 26.01 * -24

Community and social service

1.4 1.4   22.19 16.71 * -25

Legal

0.8 0.3 * 49.74 28.46 * -43

Education, training, and library

6.2 5.0 * 25.48 20.13 * -21

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 0.6 * 27.39 17.46 * -36

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.8 5.9   37.40 29.97 * -20

Healthcare support

2.9 3.1   14.19 11.52 * -19

Protective service

2.4 2.1 * 21.45 15.33 * -29

Food preparation and serving related

9.1 8.6 * 10.98 9.21 * -16

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.2 2.7 * 13.02 10.91 * -16

Personal care and service

3.1 3.1   12.33 9.68 * -21

Sales and related

10.5 10.4   18.90 14.02 * -26

Office and administrative support

15.8 15.4   17.47 14.24 * -18

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.7   12.67 11.82 * -7

Construction and extraction

4.0 4.6 * 22.88 17.45 * -24

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 4.4 * 22.11 17.74 * -20

Production

6.6 12.8 * 17.41 14.37 * -17

Transportation and material moving

6.9 10.1 * 16.90 15.04 * -11

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Fort Smith is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.

Note: * 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–production–was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Fort Smith had 14,010 jobs in production, accounting for 12.8 percent of local area employment, nearly double the 6.6-percent national share. However, the local average hourly wage for this occupational group was $14.37, significantly below the national average of $17.41.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the production group included production workers’ helpers (1,530), team assemblers (1,480), and meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers (1,240). Among the higher paying jobs were petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers, as well as gas plant operators, with mean hourly wages of $31.35 and $29.66, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were laundry and dry-cleaning workers ($8.86) and meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers ($10.16). (Detailed occupational data for the production group are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_22900.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 Fort Smith metropolitan area, above average concentrations of employment were found in the majority of occupations within the production group. For instance, meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers were employed at 10.1 times the national rate in Fort Smith, and production workers’ helpers, at 4.4 times the U.S. average. Both location quotients were among the highest in all metropolitan areas for these particular occupations.

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 Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.

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 www.bls.gov/oes/current/msa_def.htm.

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 www.bls.gov/oes/tables.htm.

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 Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,731 establishments with a response rate of 84 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.

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 www.bls.gov/soc and information about the 2012 NAICS is available at www.bls.gov/bls/naics.htm.

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 Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Crawford and Sebastian Counties in Arkansas, and Le Flore and Sequoyah Counties in Oklahoma.

Additional information

OES data are available on our regional web page at www.bls.gov/regions/southwest. 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/current/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: (800) 877-8339.

Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2015
Occupation(1) Employment Mean wages
Level(2) Location
quotient(3)
Hourly Annual(4)

Production occupations

14,010 2.0 $14.37 $29,900

First-line supervisors of production and operating workers

950 2.0 23.07 47,980

Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers

320 1.9 19.02 39,560

Structural metal fabricators and fitters

170 2.6 16.31 33,920

Team assemblers

1,480 1.7 13.79 28,680

Assemblers and fabricators, all other

110 0.6 13.69 28,470

Bakers

120 0.9 10.31 21,450

Butchers and meat cutters

130 1.2 11.47 23,870

Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers

1,240 10.1 10.16 21,120

Food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators and tenders

100 6.2 8.46 17,600

Food batchmakers

430 4.0 11.73 24,400

Food processing workers, all other

320 9.0 9.65 20,070

Computer-controlled machine tool operators, metal and plastic

250 2.1 20.68 43,010

Cutting, punching, & press machine setters, operators, & tenders, metal & plastic

280 1.8 15.95 33,170

Milling and planing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

30 2.1 20.49 42,620

Machinists

220 0.7 18.77 39,050

Molding, coremaking, & casting machine setters, operators, & tenders, metal & plastic

90 0.8 16.15 33,580

Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

130 1.6 12.20 25,380

Tool and die makers

110 1.8 21.01 43,690

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers

580 1.9 18.89 39,290

Welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders

60 1.5 17.86 37,140

Tool grinders, filers, and sharpeners

30 3.7 13.99 29,090

Print binding and finishing workers

100 2.5 14.09 29,320

Laundry and dry-cleaning workers

130 0.8 8.86 18,420

Sewing machine operators

100 0.9 12.30 25,580

Upholsterers

40 1.7 10.50 21,830

Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters

(5) (5) 15.48 32,200

Sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood

50 1.4 9.39 19,520

Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing

(5) (5) 10.69 22,240

Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators

230 2.5 15.65 32,550

Gas plant operators

70 5.0 29.66 61,690

Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers

60 1.9 31.35 65,210

Crushing, grinding, and polishing machine setters, operators, and tenders

(5) (5) 12.53 26,070

Mixing and blending machine setters, operators, and tenders

230 2.3 14.86 30,900

Cutting and slicing machine setters, operators, and tenders

220 4.4 14.39 29,920

Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers

730 1.8 14.40 29,950

Medical appliance technicians

(5) (5) 16.86 35,070

Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders

630 2.1 11.79 24,510

Coating, painting, and spraying machine setters, operators, and tenders

120 1.7 16.63 34,600

Cleaning, washing, and metal pickling equipment operators and tenders

90 6.8 10.65 22,160

Molders, shapers, and casters, except metal and plastic

50 1.7 14.00 29,120

Paper goods machine setters, operators, and tenders

90 1.3 16.23 33,760

Helpers-production workers

1,530 4.4 10.53 21,910

Production workers, all other

370 1.9 16.02 33,320

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Fort Smith MSA, see www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_22900.htm.
(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: Tuesday, July 05, 2016