For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Friday, March 31, 2017 USDL-17-0376
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OCCUPATIONAL EMPLOYMENT AND WAGES -- MAY 2016
Construction and extraction occupations had employment of nearly 5.6 million in
May 2016, representing 4 percent of total national employment, the U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics reported today. Over 4.2 million of these jobs were in construction
trades occupations, including construction laborers (912,100), carpenters (676,980),
and electricians (607,120).
The highest paying construction and extraction occupations were elevator installers
and repairers ($76,860) and first-line supervisors of construction trades and
extraction workers ($68,040). The lowest paying construction and extraction
occupations were roofers' helpers ($28,890) and helpers of painters, paperhangers,
plasterers, and stucco masons ($28,760). The annual mean wage across all construction
and extraction occupations was $48,900, slightly below the U.S. average wage of $49,630
for all occupations combined. National employment and wage information for all
occupations is shown in table 1.
The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program provides estimates for over 800
occupations in the nation, states, and nearly 600 metropolitan and nonmetropolitan
areas. National data are available by industry for more than 430 industry classifications
and by ownership across all industries, schools, and hospitals. This release contains
data on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations and
employment and wages by typical entry-level educational requirement.
Highlights from the May 2016 OES data:
Construction and extraction occupations
--States with the highest percentage of construction and extraction occupations
were Wyoming (10 percent) and North Dakota (8 percent), compared with 4 percent
of national employment.
--Metropolitan areas with the highest concentrations of construction and extraction
occupations included several areas in Texas; Farmington, N.M.; Greeley, Colo.;
and Lake Charles, La.
--Annual mean wages for construction and extraction occupations varied by state
from $36,450 in Arkansas to $67,210 in Alaska.
--The San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, Calif., metropolitan division
($71,960) was one of the highest paying areas for construction and extraction
occupations. The lowest paying areas for this occupational group included
Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas ($31,030), and Sebring, Fla. ($31,270).
--Over one-third of construction laborers worked for specialty trade contractors
(336,030). Most of the remainder were employed in construction of buildings
(224,630) and heavy and civil engineering construction (203,430). Employment
services (53,410), which includes temporary help services, was the industry
with the highest employment of construction laborers outside of the construction
OES data by state and metropolitan/nonmetropolitan area are available at
www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcst.htm and www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm,
OES national industry-specific data are available at www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrci.htm.
--Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations had employment of 8.3
million, and healthcare support occupations had employment of 4.0 million.
Both healthcare occupational groups combined made up nearly 9 percent of U.S.
employment. (See table 1.)
--Registered nurses, with nearly 2.9 million jobs, was the largest healthcare
occupation. (See table 1.) Most registered nurses worked in the general
medical and surgical hospitals industry (1,649,480).
--Other than registered nurses, the largest healthcare occupations were nursing
assistants (1.4 million), home health aides (814,300), and licensed practical
and licensed vocational nurses (702,400). (See table 1.)
--Fourteen of the 15 highest paying occupations were healthcare occupations,
including several physician and dentist occupations and nurse anesthetists
($164,030). (See table 1.)
--The lowest paying healthcare occupations were home health aides ($23,600) and
veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers ($26,810). (See table 1.)
--Annual mean wages for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations, the
larger of the two healthcare occupational groups, varied by state from $63,930
in Louisiana to $95,720 in Alaska, compared with $79,160 nationally.
--Several areas in California, including San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, were
among the highest paying metropolitan areas for healthcare practitioners and
technical occupations. The lowest paying areas for this occupational group
included Lake Charles, La. ($53,540), and Jackson, Tenn. ($58,300).
--Production occupations had total employment of 9.1 million and an annual mean
wage of $37,190 across all industries. (See table 1.)
--Pay for production occupations in manufacturing industries varied widely.
Industries with the highest wages were petroleum and coal products
manufacturing ($62,500) and basic chemical manufacturing ($56,920).
--Manufacturing industries with the lowest wages for production occupations
included seafood product preparation and packaging ($26,930) and several
apparel, textile, and leather products industries.
--The state with the highest percentage of employment in production occupations
was Indiana (13 percent). Production occupations made up 6.5 percent of
--Metropolitan areas with the highest shares of production occupation employment
included Elkhart-Goshen, Ind. (36 percent); Columbus, Ind. (26 percent); and
Dalton, Ga. (25 percent).
Typical entry-level education
--More than 63 percent of employment was in occupations that typically require
either a high school diploma or equivalent or no formal educational credential
for entry. These two educational categories include most construction and production
occupations, as well as large occupations such as retail salespersons, cashiers,
and general office clerks.
--Occupations that typically require a bachelor's degree for entry made up
21 percent of employment. This educational category includes registered nurses,
teachers at the kindergarten through secondary levels, and many management,
business and financial operations, computer, and engineering occupations.
--Occupations that typically require a postsecondary nondegree award, such as a
certificate, for entry made up 6 percent of national employment. The largest
occupations in this educational category were heavy and tractor-trailer truck
drivers (1.7 million), nursing assistants (1.4 million), and licensed practical
and licensed vocational nurses (702,400). (See table 1.)
--States with the highest employment shares of occupations that typically require
a postsecondary nondegree award for entry were Arkansas and North Dakota, both
with 8 percent of state employment in this educational category. The District of
Columbia (2 percent) and Nevada (5 percent) had the lowest employment shares of
occupations typically requiring a postsecondary nondegree award for entry.
--Average wages were generally higher for occupations that require more education.
Annual mean wages were $25,860 for occupations that typically require no formal
educational credential for entry, $42,840 for occupations typically requiring a
high school diploma or the equivalent, $54,510 for occupations typically requiring
an associate's degree, and $84,000 for occupations typically requiring a bachelor's
--On average, construction and extraction occupations had higher mean wages than
other occupations with similar typical entry-level educational requirements. Of
the 33 construction and extraction occupations that typically require a high
school diploma or the equivalent for entry, 24 had mean wages significantly
above the average of $42,840 for all occupations in this education category.
All 27 of the construction and extraction occupations that typically require no
formal educational credential for entry had mean wages above the average for
occupations in this education category.
--The annual mean wage for occupations that typically require a postsecondary
nondegree award for entry was $40,250 nationally, but varied from $33,520 in
West Virginia to $54,250 in Alaska.
Data on employment by the typical education level required to enter an occupation
are based on education and training categories from the BLS Employment Projections
program. Education and training levels assigned to each occupation are available
at www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_112.htm. Additional charts are available at
--There were nearly 8.8 million science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
(STEM) jobs representing 6.3 percent of total U.S. employment.
--Seven of the 10 largest STEM occupations were related to computers and included
applications software developers (794,000) and computer user support specialists
(602,840). (See table 1.)
--Areas with the highest employment shares of STEM occupations were California-
Lexington Park, Md., and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., both with 22
percent STEM employment.
--Areas with the lowest employment shares of STEM occupations were Gadsden, Ala.,
and Ocean City, N.J. (approximately 1 percent of employment each).
--STEM occupations had an annual mean wage of $89,400, compared with $46,950 for
non-STEM occupations. Ninety-three of the 100 STEM occupations had mean wages
significantly above the all-occupations average of $49,630. (See table 1.)
--The highest paying STEM occupations were petroleum engineers ($147,030) and the
3 STEM-related management occupations. (See table 1.)
--The lowest paying STEM occupations were forest and conservation technicians
($38,630) and agricultural and food science technicians ($40,470). (See
A list of occupations included in the STEM definition used for this release is
available at www.bls.gov/oes/stem_list.xlsx. Additional STEM charts are available
--The largest occupations overall were retail salespersons (4.5 million) and
cashiers (3.5 million). Retail salespersons was the largest occupation in
33 of the 50 states. (See table 1.)
--The next largest occupations nationally were combined food preparation and
serving workers (3.4 million), general office clerks (3.0 million), registered
nurses (2.9 million), and customer service representatives (2.7 million).
(See table 1.)
--Eight of the 10 largest occupations had below-average wages. Retail salespersons
($27,180), cashiers ($21,680), and combined food preparation and serving workers
($20,460) had annual mean wages significantly below the all-occupations average
of $49,630. (See table 1.)
--Registered nurses ($72,180) and general and operations managers ($122,090) were
the largest occupations with above-average wages. (See table 1.)
Public sector occupations
--The public sector made up 15 percent of employment and had a different occupational
mix from the private sector.
--Many of the largest public sector occupations were related to education, including
elementary school teachers, except special education (public sector employment of
1.3 million); teacher assistants (985,120); and secondary school teachers, except
special and career/technical education (887,250).
--Police and sheriff's patrol officers (651,310), general office clerks (533,330),
and registered nurses (473,030) also were among the occupations with the highest
public sector employment.
OES data by ownership are available at www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrci.htm.