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News Release Information

Thursday, June 02, 2016

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Occupational Employment and Wages in Roanoke – May 2015

Workers in the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $20.50 in May 2015, 12 percent below the nationwide average of $23.23, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were significantly lower than their respective national averages in 18 of the 22 major occupational groups, including arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; legal; protective service; and construction and extraction.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Roanoke employment shares were significantly higher in 5 of the 22 occupational groups including health care practitioners and technical and office and administrative support. Conversely, 11 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation including management; education, training, and library; 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 Roanoke metropolitan area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2015
Major occupational groupPercent of total employmentMean hourly wage
United StatesRoanokeUnited StatesRoanokePercent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100%100% $23.23$20.50*-12



Business and financial operations


Computer and mathematical


Architecture and engineering


Life, physical, and social science


Community and social service




Education, training, and library

6.25.1*25.4824.49 -4

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media


Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.87.9*37.4037.27 0

Healthcare support


Protective service

2.42.9 21.4516.52*-23

Food preparation and serving related


Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance


Personal care and service

3.12.8 12.3311.69*-5

Sales and related

10.511.0 18.9017.22*-9

Office and administrative support


Farming, fishing, and forestry


Construction and extraction

4.04.2 22.8817.68*-23

Installation, maintenance, and repair



6.67.3 17.4116.13*-7

Transportation and material moving

6.97.5 16.9015.97 -6


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

One occupational group—healthcare practitioners and technical—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Roanoke had 12,010 jobs in the healthcare practitioners and technical group, accounting for 7.9 percent of local area employment, significantly larger than the 5.8-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $37.27, not significantly different from the national average of $37.40.

With employment of 4,090, registered nurses was the largest occupation within the healthcare practitioners and technical group, followed by licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (1,280). Among the higher-paying jobs were all other physicians and surgeons with a mean hourly wage of $106.79 and family and general practitioners with a wage of $79.81. At the lower end of the wage scale were pharmacy technicians ($14.06) and medical records and health information technicians ($18.03). (Detailed occupational data for healthcare and practitioners are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available 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 as it does nationally. In the Roanoke area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in several of the occupations within the healthcare practitioners and technical group. For instance, medical records and health information technicians were employed at 1.9 times the national rate in Roanoke, and surgeons at 3.3 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, pharmacy technicians had a location quotient of 1.0 in Roanoke, 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 Virginia Employment Commission.

Notes on Occupational Employment Statistics Data

With the issuance of data for May 2015, the OES program has incorporated redefined metropolitan area definitions as designated by the Office of Management and Budget. OES data are available for 394 metropolitan areas, 38 metropolitan divisions, and 167 OES-defined nonmetropolitan areas. A listing of the areas and their definitions can be found at

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. The OES program produces employment and wage estimates for over 800 occupations for all industries combined in the nation; the 50 states and the District of Columbia; 432 metropolitan areas and divisions; 167 nonmetropolitan areas; and Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. National estimates are also available by industry for NAICS sectors, 3-, 4-, and selected 5- and 6-digit industries, and by ownership across all industries and for schools and hospitals. OES data are available at

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. May 2015 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2015, November 2014, May 2014, November 2013, May 2013, and November 2012. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 73.5 percent based on establishments and 69.6 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The unweighted employment of sampled establishments across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 57.9 percent of total national employment. (Response rates are slightly lower for these estimates due to the federal shutdown in October 2013.) The sample in the Roanoke, Pa. Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,853 establishments with a response rate of 73 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

The May 2015 OES estimates are based on the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system and the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Information about the 2010 SOC is available on the BLS website at and information about the 2012 NAICS is available at

Metropolitan 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 Roanoke, Va. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Botetourt, Craig, Franklin, and Roanoke Counties and Roanoke and Salem Cities in Virginia.

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: (800) 877-8339.

Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2015
Occupation (1)Employment (2)Mean wage
LevelLocation quotient (3)HourlyAnnual (4)

Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations


Dentists, general


Dietitians and nutritionists






Family and general practitioners


Internists, general


Obstetricians and gynecologists


Pediatricians, general






Physicians and surgeons, all other


Physician assistants


Occupational therapists


Physical therapists


Respiratory therapists


Speech-language pathologists




Registered nurses


Nurse practitioners


Medical and clinical laboratory technologists


Dental hygienists


Cardiovascular technologists and technicians


Diagnostic medical sonographers


Radiologic technologists


Magnetic resonance image technologists


Dietetic technicians,150

Pharmacy technicians


Psychiatric technicians


Surgical technologists


Veterinary technologists and technicians


Ophthalmic medical technicians


Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses


Medical records and health information technicians


Opticians, dispensing


Occupational health and safety specialists


(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area, 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) Estimates not available.


Last Modified Date: Thursday, June 02, 2016