News Release Information

13-1784-DAL

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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Occupational Employment and Wages in Brownsville-Harlingen, May 2012


Workers in the Brownsville-Harlingen Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $15.44 in May 2012, about 30 percent below the nationwide average of $22.01, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Stanley W. Suchman noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were significantly lower than their respective national averages in 20 of the 22 major occupational groups, including legal, management, and computer and mathematical.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 5 of the 22 occupational groups, including personal care and service; education, training, and library; and office and administrative support. Conversely, 11 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including production, business and financial operations, and computer and mathematical. (See table A and box note at end of release.)


Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Brownsville-Harlingen Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2012
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Brownsville-
Harlingen
United States Brownsville-
Harlingen
Percent
difference(1)

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0% $22.01 $15.44 * -30

Management

4.9 3.0 * 52.20 37.54 * -28

Business and financial operations

4.9 2.5 * 33.44 27.33 * -18

Computer and mathematical

2.7 0.6 * 38.55 26.37 * -32

Architecture and engineering

1.8 0.5 * 37.98 28.62 * -25

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 0.2 * 32.87 25.34 * -23

Community and social service

1.4 1.7 21.27 19.24 * -10

Legal

0.8 0.5 * 47.39 30.13 * -36

Education, training, and library

6.4 9.7 * 24.62 19.90 * -19

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 0.6 * 26.20 16.91 * -35

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.9 5.6 35.35 34.32 -3

Healthcare support

3.0 3.7 * 13.36 10.48 * -22

Protective service

2.5 3.6 * 20.70 21.53 4

Food preparation and serving related

8.9 8.7 10.28 9.08 * -12

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.3 3.0 12.34 9.43 * -24

Personal care and service

2.9 12.0 * 11.80 8.50 * -28

Sales and related

10.6 10.1 18.26 12.41 * -32

Office and administrative support

16.4 18.1 * 16.54 12.15 * -27

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.2 11.65 9.44 * -19

Construction and extraction

3.8 2.5 * 21.61 13.15 * -39

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 3.6 * 21.09 15.58 * -26

Production

6.6 3.6 * 16.59 13.06 * -21

Transportation and material moving

6.7 6.0 * 16.15 12.26 * -24

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


One occupational group–office and administrative support–was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Brownsville had 22,790 jobs in office and administrative support, accounting for 18.1 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 16.4-percent national share. However, the average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $12.15, more than 25 percent below the national wage of $16.54.

With employment of 4,810, general office clerks was the largest occupation within the office and administrative support group, followed by customer service representatives (3,310). Among the higher paying jobs were first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers and executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants, with mean hourly wages of $21.28 and $20.80, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were receptionists and information clerks ($9.55) and customer service representatives ($10.07). (Detailed data for office and administrative support are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of occupations www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_15180.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 Brownsville area, above average concentrations of employment were found in some of the occupations within the office and administrative support group. For instance, general office clerks were employed at 1.8 times the national rate in Brownsville, and medical secretaries at 2.2 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, stock clerks and order fillers had a location quotient of 1.0 in Brownsville, 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 Texas Workforce Commission.

With the release of the May 2012 estimates, OES data are based on the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system for the first time. The OES survey provides estimates of employment and hourly and annual wages for wage and salary workers in 22 major occupational groups and more than 800 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 for the first time. Information about the 2010 SOC is available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/soc/.

The May 2012 OES estimates are the first to be produced using the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Information about the 2012 NAICS is available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/bls/naics.htm.



OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Brownsville-Harlingen 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 2012 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected in May 2012, November 2011, May 2011, November 2010, May 2010, and November 2009. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 76.6 percent based on establishments and 72.9 percent based on employment. The sample in the Brownsville-Harlingen Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,475 establishments with a response rate of 66 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.

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 Brownsville-Harlingen Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Cameron County in Texas.


Additional information

OES data are available on our regional web page at www.bls.gov/ro6. 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/2012/may/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: 1-800-877-8339.


Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation,
Brownsville-Harlingen Metropolitan Statistical Area Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2012
Occupation(1) Employment Mean wages
Level(2) Location
quotient(3)
Hourly Annual(4)

Office and administrative support occupations

22,790 1.1 $12.15 $25,280

First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers

1,270 1.0 21.28 44,250

Switchboard operators, including answering service

90 0.8 9.59 19,940

Bill and account collectors

200 0.6 12.35 25,690

Billing and posting clerks

560 1.2 12.28 25,540

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

1,110 0.7 13.75 28,590

Payroll and timekeeping clerks

140 0.8 12.68 26,360

Procurement clerks

40 0.6 13.49 28,050

Tellers

580 1.1 10.84 22,550

Court, municipal, and license clerks

90 0.7 11.69 24,320

Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks

(5) (5) 14.40 29,950

Customer service representatives

3,310 1.5 10.07 20,940

File clerks

160 1.0 10.00 20,800

Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks

360 1.6 8.74 18,180

Interviewers, except eligibility and loan

60 0.3 13.38 27,820

Library assistants, clerical

70 0.7 10.30 21,430

Loan interviewers and clerks

200 1.1 13.96 29,030

New accounts clerks

(5) (5) 13.20 27,450

Order clerks

210 1.0 11.36 23,630

Human resources assistants, except payroll and timekeeping

110 0.8 13.00 27,050

Receptionists and information clerks

650 0.7 9.55 19,850

Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks

40 0.3 16.95 35,260

Information and record clerks, all other

(5) (5) 12.63 26,280

Cargo and freight agents

230 3.0 13.14 27,330

Couriers and messengers

60 0.9 9.84 20,470

Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers

100 1.1 11.22 23,340

Dispatchers, except police, fire, and ambulance

170 1.0 10.66 22,180

Meter readers, utilities

50 1.3 13.59 28,260

Postal service clerks

40 0.6 24.24 50,420

Postal service mail carriers

210 0.7 25.09 52,180

Production, planning, and expediting clerks

90 0.3 20.79 43,240

Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks

580 0.9 12.14 25,240

Stock clerks and order fillers

1,660 0.9 10.41 21,650

Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants

610 0.8 20.80 43,270

Legal secretaries

170 0.8 16.13 33,540

Medical secretaries

1,090 2.2 11.95 24,870

Secretaries & administrative assistants, except legal, medical, & executive

2,450 1.2 11.61 24,140

Data entry keyers

240 1.2 10.08 20,970

Mail clerks and mail machine operators, except postal service

(5) (5) 12.22 25,410

Office clerks, general

4,810 1.8 10.14 21,090

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Browsville-Harlingen MSA, see www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_15180.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) Estimate not available.

Last Modified Date: August 27, 2013