News Release Information


Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Further information:

Occupational Employment and Wages in Lake Charles, May 2012

Workers in the Lake Charles Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $17.66 in May 2012, about 20 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 higher than their respective national averages in 2 of the 22 major occupational groups, including production, while eighteen groups had significantly lower wages including management; business and financial operations; and sales and related.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 5 of the 22 occupational groups, including construction and extraction; installation, maintenance, and repair; and protective service. Conversely, 10 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including computer and mathematical; business and financial operations; 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 Lake Charles Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2012
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Lake Charles United States Lake Charles Percent

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0% $22.01 $17.66 * -20


4.9 4.1 * 52.20 40.20 * -23

Business and financial operations

4.9 2.3 * 33.44 25.79 * -23

Computer and mathematical

2.7 0.5 * 38.55 27.57 * -28

Architecture and engineering

1.8 1.9 37.98 38.08 0

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 0.7 * 32.87 28.17 * -14

Community and social service

1.4 1.3 * 21.27 19.10 * -10


0.8 0.5 * 47.39 33.55 * -29

Education, training, and library

6.4 5.8 * 24.62 19.82 * -19

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 0.5 * 26.20 18.20 * -31

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.9 6.1 35.35 27.41 * -22

Healthcare support

3.0 3.2 13.36 10.39 * -22

Protective service

2.5 3.2 * 20.70 14.73 * -29

Food preparation and serving related

8.9 9.7 10.28 9.71 * -6

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.3 3.1 12.34 9.85 * -20

Personal care and service

2.9 4.3 * 11.80 10.42 * -12

Sales and related

10.6 10.5 18.26 13.63 * -25

Office and administrative support

16.4 14.7 * 16.54 13.32 * -19

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1 * 11.65 15.35 * 32

Construction and extraction

3.8 7.5 * 21.61 17.94 * -17

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 5.5 * 21.09 19.27 * -9


6.6 7.2 16.59 21.66 * 31

Transportation and material moving

6.7 7.5 * 16.15 15.65 -3

* 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 Lake Charles 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. Lake Charles had 6,320 jobs in production, accounting for 7.2 percent of local area employment compared to the 6.6-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this group locally was $21.66, about 31 percent higher than the national wage of $16.59.

With employment of 1,000 petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers was the largest occupation within the production group, followed by chemical plant and system operators (730) and welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers (670). Among the higher paying jobs were first-line supervisors of production and operating workers and petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers, with mean hourly wages of $34.21 and $30.29, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were laundry and dry-cleaning workers ($8.99) and production workers’ helpers ($12.97). (Detailed occupational data for construction and extraction are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of 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 Lake Charles metropolitan area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the production group. For instance, chemical plant and system operators were employed at 28.3 times the U.S. average, the third highest location quotient in the country. Local petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers were employed at 36.4 times the national rate in Lake Charles, second only to Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas, among all U.S. metropolitan areas. On the other hand, machinists had a location quotient of 1.3 in Lake Charles, 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 Louisiana 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 Lake Charles 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 Lake Charles Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,330 establishments with a response rate of 73 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 Lake Charles Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes in Lousiana.

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, Lake Charles Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2012
Occupation(1) Employment Mean wages
Level(2) Location quotient(3) Hourly Annual(4)

Production occupations

6,320 1.1 $21.66 $45,060

First-line supervisors of production and operating workers

510 1.3 34.21 71,160

Structural metal fabricators and fitters

90 1.7 21.12 43,930

Team assemblers

140 0.2 14.36 29,870

Assemblers and fabricators, all other

30 0.2 13.83 28,760


110 1.0 11.10 23,090

Butchers and meat cutters

(5) (5) 13.69 28,470

Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers

(5) (5) 9.94 20,680

Computer-controlled machine tool operators, metal and plastic

(5) (5) 19.15 39,830


340 1.3 18.59 38,660

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers

670 3.0 21.98 45,710

Printing press operators

50 0.5 13.16 27,380

Laundry and dry-cleaning workers

220 1.6 8.99 18,700

Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators

70 1.0 17.84 37,110

Chemical plant and system operators

730 28.3 21.69 45,110

Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers

1,000 36.4 30.29 62,990

Chemical equipment operators and tenders

320 8.4 24.60 51,160

Mixing and blending machine setters, operators, and tenders

(5) (5) 21.54 44,800

Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers

380 1.2 21.33 44,370

Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders

90 0.4 10.47 21,770

Helpers-production workers

250 0.9 12.97 26,980

Production workers, all other

(5) (5) 20.43 42,490

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Lake Charles 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: June 26, 2013