News Release Information

13-914-DAL

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

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Occupational Employment and Wages in Fort Smith, May 2012


Workers in the Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $16.93 in May 2012, more than 20 percent below the nationwide average of $22.04, 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 all but 1 of the 22 major occupational groups; local wages for the transportation and material moving occupational group were not measurably different from the national average.

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, 12 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including office and administrative support, 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 Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2012
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% $22.01 $16.93 * -23

Management

4.9 4.1 * 52.20 40.33 * -23

Business and financial operations

4.9 2.9 * 33.44 27.35 * -18

Computer and mathematical

2.7 0.8 * 38.55 28.15 * -27

Architecture and engineering

1.8 0.9 * 37.98 32.23 * -15

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 0.3 * 32.87 24.28 * -26

Community and social service

1.4 1.2 * 21.27 17.33 * -19

Legal

0.8 0.4 * 47.39 32.48 * -31

Education, training, and library

6.4 5.8 * 24.62 18.79 * -24

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 0.6 * 26.20 16.70 * -36

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.9 5.7 35.35 29.32 * -17

Healthcare support

3.0 3.2 13.36 10.72 * -20

Protective service

2.5 2.2 20.70 15.29 * -26

Food preparation and serving related

8.9 8.8 10.28 8.89 * -14

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.3 2.5 * 12.34 10.84 * -12

Personal care and service

2.9 3.1 11.80 9.48 * -20

Sales and related

10.6 9.8 * 18.26 13.83 * -24

Office and administrative support

16.4 14.2 * 16.54 13.63 * -18

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.3 11.65 10.54 * -10

Construction and extraction

3.8 4.6 * 21.61 17.16 * -21

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 4.5 * 21.09 17.97 * -15

Production

6.6 12.4 * 16.59 14.21 * -14

Transportation and material moving

6.7 11.6 * 16.15 16.92 5

* 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 Fort Smith is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.


One occupational group–production–was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Fort Smith had 14,050 jobs in production, accounting for 12.4 percent of local area employment, nearly double the 6.6-percent national share. The local average hourly wage for this occupational group was $14.21, 14 percent below the national average of $16.59. Still, the wage differential for this local group was much smaller than the overall local difference of 23 percent.

With employment of 1,900, production workers’ helpers was the largest occupation within the production group, followed by team assemblers (1,550) and meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers (1,390). First-line supervisors of production and operating workers, along with tool and die makers, were among the higher paying jobs with mean hourly wages of $23.40 and $19.50, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were slaughters and meat packers ($8.51) and meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers ($9.67). (Detailed occupational data for the production occupational group are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations 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 many of the occupations within the production group. For instance, production workers’ helpers were employed at 5.2 times the national rate in Fort Smith, and meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers, at more than 10 times the U.S. average. Fort Smith’s meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers location quotient of 10.1 ranked third highest in the entire country, followed by another Arkansas area, Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers (9.9).

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.

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 Fort Smith 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 Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,861 establishments with a response rate of 87 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 Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Crawford, Franklin, 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/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,
Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2012
Occupation(1) Employment Mean wages
Level(2) Location
quotient(3)
Hourly Annual(4)

Production occupations

14,050 1.9 $14.21 $29,550

First-line supervisors of production and operating workers

870 1.8 23.40 48,670

Structural metal fabricators and fitters

60 0.8 14.61 30,380

Team assemblers

1,550 1.8 15.63 32,510

Assemblers and fabricators, all other

210 0.9 11.57 24,070

Bakers

130 1.0 10.03 20,870

Butchers and meat cutters

60 0.5 13.45 27,970

Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers

1,390 10.1 9.67 20,110

Slaughterers and meat packers

260 3.8 8.51 17,700

Food batchmakers

90 1.0 10.05 20,910

Food cooking machine operators and tenders

210 7.3 12.55 26,110

Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

80 1.2 16.17 33,630

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

340 2.2 17.86 37,160

Machinists

320 1.0 14.58 30,320

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

170 1.6 17.26 35,910

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

160 2.1 16.95 35,250

Tool and die makers

120 1.9 19.50 40,560

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers

630 2.2 16.75 34,840

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

(5) (5) 16.51 34,330

Plating and coating machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

90 2.9 16.07 33,420

Metal workers and plastic workers, all other

60 3.2 14.13 29,400

Prepress technicians and workers

100 2.7 17.39 36,170

Printing press operators

190 1.3 14.53 30,220

Laundry and dry-cleaning workers

120 0.7 9.24 19,210

Pressers, textile, garment, and related materials

(5) (5) 9.36 19,470

Sewing machine operators

100 0.8 9.79 20,370

Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters

70 1.0 12.92 26,880

Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing

30 0.6 9.73 20,240

Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators

240 2.6 14.88 30,950

Separating, filtering, clarifying, precipitating, & still machine setters, operators, & tenders

50 1.3 13.77 28,650

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

70 2.6 10.14 21,090

Mixing and blending machine setters, operators, and tenders

(5) (5) 13.91 28,940

Cutting and slicing machine setters, operators, and tenders

330 6.6 11.44 23,800

Extruding, forming, pressing, and compacting machine setters, operators, and tenders

60 1.0 16.11 33,520

Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers

640 1.6 15.81 32,880

Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders

580 1.8 13.46 28,000

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

150 2.2 18.48 38,440

Photographic process workers and processing machine operators

50 1.3 10.61 22,080

Cleaning, washing, and metal pickling equipment operators and tenders

60 4.2 11.01 22,910

Paper goods machine setters, operators, and tenders

390 4.7 16.30 33,910

Helpers-production workers

1,900 5.2 10.97 22,810

Production workers, all other

130 0.7 11.35 23,600

(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) Estimate not available.

Last Modified Date: May 21, 2013