Occupational Employment and Wages in Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa MSA – May 2011
Workers in the Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $21.18 in May 2011, about 3 percent below the nationwide average of $21.74, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. 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 2 of the 22 major occupational groups. Fourteen groups had significantly lower wages than their respective national averages, including architecture and engineering; arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; and life, physical, and social science.
When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 5 of the 22 occupational groups, including business and financial operations; office and administrative support; and computer and mathematical. Conversely, 11 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including food preparation and serving related; education, training, and library; and architecture and engineering occupations. (See table A and box note at end of release.)
|Major occupational group||Percent of total employment||Mean hourly wage|
|United States||Des Moines||United States||Des Moines||Percent difference (1)|
Total, all occupations
Business and financial operations
Computer and mathematical
Architecture and engineering
Life, physical, and social science
Community and social services
Education, training, and library
Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media
Healthcare practitioner and technical
Food preparation and serving related
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance
Personal care and service
Sales and related
Office and administrative support
Farming, fishing, and forestry
Construction and extraction
Installation, maintenance, and repair
Transportation and material moving
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 24,190 jobs in business and financial operations, accounting for 7.6 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 4.8-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $29.21, measurably below the national wage of $33.05.
With employment of 3,220, accountants and auditors was the largest occupation within the business and financial operations group, followed by management analysts (2,200) and claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators (2,160). Among the higher paying jobs were financial examiners and financial analysts, with mean hourly wages of $37.63 and $35.58, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were credit counselors ($19.40) and meeting, convention, and event planners ($21.94). (Detailed occupational data for business and financial operations are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_19780.htm)
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 Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the business and financial operations group. For instance, insurance underwriters were employed at 4.8 times the national rate in Des Moines, and claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators, at 3.3 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, accountants and auditors had a location quotient of 1.2 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, Iowa Workforce Development. The OES survey provides estimates of employment and hourly and annual wages for wage and salary workers in 22 major occupational groups and nearly 800 detailed occupations for the nation, states, metropolitan statistical areas, metropolitan divisions, and nonmetropolitan areas.
OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Des Moines 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.
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 also are surveyed, but their data are not included in this release. OES estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.2 million establishments. Forms are mailed to approximately 200,000 establishments in May and November of each year for a 3-year period. The nationwide response rate for the May 2011 survey was 77.3 percent based on establishments and 73.3 percent based on employment. May 2011 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2011, November 2010, May 2010, November 2009, May 2009, and November 2008. The sample in the Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area included 2,939 establishments with a response rate of 72 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.
The May 2011 OES estimates mark the first set of estimates based in part on data collected using the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. Nearly all the occupations in this release are 2010 SOC occupations; however, some are not. The May 2012 OES data will reflect the full set of detailed occupations in the 2010 SOC. For a list of all occupations, including 2010 SOC occupations, and how data collected on two structures were combined, see the OES Frequently Asked Questions online at www.bls.gov/oes/oes_ques.htm#Ques41.
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.
OES data are available on our regional web page at www.bls.gov/ro5/home.htm. If you have additional questions, contact the Chicago Economic Analysis and Information Unit at (312) 353-1880. Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; TDD message referral phone number: 1-800-877-8339.
|Occupation (1)||Employment||Mean wages|
|Level (2)||Location quotient (3)||Hourly||Annual(4)|
Business and Financial Operations Occupations
Buyers and Purchasing Agents, Farm Products
Wholesale and Retail Buyers, Except Farm Products
Purchasing Agents, Except Wholesale, Retail, and Farm Products
Claims Adjusters, Examiners, and Investigators
Insurance Appraisers, Auto Damage
Human Resources, Training, and Labor Relations Specialists, All Other
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners
Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists
Training and Development Specialists
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists
Business Operations Specialists, All Other
Accountants and Auditors
Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate
Personal Financial Advisors
Financial Specialists, All Other
Last Modified Date: July 10, 2012