News Release Information


Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Further information:

Occupational Employment and Wages in Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown
May 2012

Workers in the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $23.49 in May 2012, 7 percent above 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 higher than their respective national averages in 11 of the 22 major occupational groups, including architecture and engineering and management. Seven other groups had wages that were measurably lower than their respective national averages; included in this grouping were protective service and construction and extraction.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Houston employment was more highly concentrated in 6 of the 22 occupational groups including construction and extraction, architecture and engineering, and production. Conversely, nine groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation; these groups included healthcare practitioners and technical and food preparation and serving related. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2012
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Houston-Sugar
United States Houston-Sugar

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0% $22.01 $23.49 * 7


4.9 5.2 * 52.20 57.76 * 11

Business and financial operations

4.9 4.6 * 33.44 37.37 * 12

Computer and mathematical

2.7 2.6 38.55 39.75 * 3

Architecture and engineering

1.8 3.3 * 37.98 48.88 * 29

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 1.1 * 32.87 43.91 * 34

Community and social service

1.4 0.8 * 21.27 22.79 * 7


0.8 0.7 47.39 56.90 * 20

Education, training, and library

6.4 5.9 * 24.62 24.64 0

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 0.9 * 26.20 21.51 * -18

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.9 4.8 * 35.35 36.66 * 4

Healthcare support

3.0 2.0 * 13.36 13.53 1

Protective service

2.5 2.4 20.70 18.31 * -12

Food preparation and serving related

8.9 8.2 * 10.28 9.75 * -5

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.3 2.9 * 12.34 10.41 * -16

Personal care and service

2.9 3.0 11.80 10.27 * -13

Sales and related

10.6 10.7 18.26 20.28 * 11

Office and administrative support

16.4 16.3 16.54 16.75 1

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1 * 11.65 11.67 0

Construction and extraction

3.8 5.9 * 21.61 19.26 * -11

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 4.4 * 21.09 20.71 * -2


6.6 6.9 * 16.59 18.24 * 10

Transportation and material moving

6.7 7.3 16.15 17.53 * 9

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown 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 architecture and engineering illustrates the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Houston had 86,380 jobs in architecture and engineering, accounting for 3.3 percent of local area employment, significantly above the national share of 1.8 percent. The local average hourly wage for this occupational group was $48.88, nearly 30 percent above the national average of $37.98.

With employment of 14,160, petroleum engineers was the largest occupation within the architecture and engineering group, followed by civil engineers (10,050) and mechanical engineers (7,570). Among the higher paying jobs were petroleum engineers and chemical engineers, with mean hourly wages of $75.35 and $63.76, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were mapping technicians ($19.41) and architectural and civil drafters ($22.98). (Detailed occupational data for the architecture and engineering group are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of all detailed occupations go to

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 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metropolitan area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the detailed occupations within the architecture and engineering group. For instance, chemical engineers were employed at almost 6 times the national rate in Houston, and petroleum engineers, at over 19 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, electrical engineers had a location quotient of 1.0 in Houston, meaning the local employment share in this particular occupation matched the national average.

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

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

OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown 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 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan Statistical Area included 9,740 establishments with a response rate of 56 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

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 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes includes Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto, and Waller Counties in Texas.

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, Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2012
Occupation(1) Employment Mean wages
Level(2) Location
Hourly Annual(4)

Architecture and engineering occupations

86,380 1.8 $48.88 $101,680

Architects, except landscape and naval

2,250 1.3 42.63 88,670

Landscape architects

(5) (5) 26.86 55,870

Cartographers and photogrammetrists

250 1.1 33.41 69,500


2,020 2.5 28.01 58,250

Aerospace engineers

2,420 1.5 54.75 113,880

Biomedical engineers

450 1.2 43.81 91,130

Chemical engineers

3,740 5.7 63.76 132,620

Civil engineers

10,050 1.9 51.19 106,480

Computer hardware engineers

1,310 0.8 45.79 95,240

Electrical engineers

3,310 1.0 47.89 99,620

Electronics engineers, except computer

2,650 1.0 47.28 98,340

Environmental engineers

1,150 1.1 58.19 121,040

Health and safety engineers, except mining safety engineers and inspectors

730 1.5 47.02 97,810

Industrial engineers

5,910 1.3 55.00 114,400

Marine engineers and naval architects

820 5.9 51.18 106,460

Materials engineers

510 1.1 43.91 91,330

Mechanical engineers

7,570 1.5 48.51 100,900

Mining and geological engineers, including mining safety engineers

480 3.1 64.46 134,080

Petroleum engineers

14,160 19.2 75.35 156,730

Engineers, all other

3,810 1.5 55.66 115,760

Architectural and civil drafters

3,010 1.8 22.98 47,790

Electrical and electronics drafters

1,170 2.0 31.19 64,880

Mechanical drafters

1,750 1.4 29.74 61,860

Drafters, all other

720 2.4 27.43 57,050

Aerospace engineering and operations technicians

(5) (5) 31.17 64,830

Civil engineering technicians

1770 1.24 25.25 52,520

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians

3,390 1.2 30.84 64,150

Electro-mechanical technicians

1,080 3.1 23.77 49,440

Environmental engineering technicians

730 1.95 25.64 53,320

Industrial engineering technicians

960 0.7 34.31 71,360

Mechanical engineering technicians

1,350 1.4 34.15 71,030

Engineering technicians, except drafters, all other

4,090 3.1 33.45 69,590

Surveying and mapping technicians

2,410 2.5 19.41 40,370

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown MSA, 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 available.

Last Modified Date: May 7, 2013