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Thursday, September 28, 2017


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Occupational Employment and Wages in Denver-Aurora-Lakewood — May 2016

Workers in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $26.88 in May 2016, about 13 percent above the nationwide average of $23.86, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Stanley W. Suchman noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were higher than their respective national averages in 12 of the 22 major occupational groups, including management; computer and mathematical; and sales and related.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 9 of the 22 occupational groups, including business and financial operations; computer and mathematical; and sales and related. Conversely, 11 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including production; office and administrative support; and transportation and material moving. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2016
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Denver United States Denver Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0 100.0 $23.86 $26.88* 13


5.1 4.7* 56.74 65.52* 15

Business and financial operations

5.2 8.0* 36.09 37.96* 5

Computer and mathematical

3.0 4.7* 42.25 46.58* 10

Architecture and engineering

1.8 2.6* 40.53 43.82* 8

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 1.1* 35.06 36.94 5

Community and social service

1.4 1.2* 22.69 23.74* 5


0.8 1.0* 50.95 53.27 5

Education, training, and library

6.2 5.2* 26.21 26.95 3

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.4 1.6* 28.07 26.30* -6

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.9 5.2* 38.06 40.58* 7

Healthcare support

2.9 2.5* 14.65 16.58* 13

Protective service

2.4 2.1* 22.03 22.83 4

Food preparation and serving related

9.2 9.1 11.47 11.66 2

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.2 3.1 13.47 13.79 2

Personal care and service

3.2 3.4* 12.74 13.32* 5

Sales and related

10.4 11.8* 19.50 23.04* 18

Office and administrative support

15.7 14.5* 17.91 19.58* 9

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1* 13.37 13.45 1

Construction and extraction

4.0 4.8* 23.51 22.77* -3

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 3.7* 22.45 23.98* 7


6.5 3.7* 17.88 17.97 1

Transportation and material moving

6.9 6.0* 17.34 20.54* 18

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood Metropolitan Statistical Area 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—business and financial operations—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood had 112,600 jobs in business and financial operations occupations, accounting for 8.0 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 5.2-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $37.96, significantly above the national wage of $36.09.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the business and financial operations group included accountants and auditors (22,910), market research analysts and marketing specialists (9,650), and human resources specialists (7,110). Among the higher paying jobs were personal financial advisors and financial analysts, with mean hourly wages of $59.84 and $52.17, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were meeting, convention, and event planners ($21.12) and wholesale and retail buyers, except farm products ($25.86). (Detailed occupational data for business and financial operations 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 than it does nationally. In the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood Metropolitan Statistical Area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in several of the occupations within the business and financial operations group. For instance, accountants and auditors were employed at 1.8 times the national rate in Denver, and market research analysts and marketing specialists, at 1.7 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, financial analysts had a location quotient of 1.0 in Denver, 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 Colorado Department of Labor & Employment.


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 data available from BLS include cross-industry occupational employment and wage estimates for the nation; over 650 areas, including states and the District of Columbia, metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), metropolitan divisions, nonmetropolitan areas, and territories; national industry-specific estimates at the NAICS sector, 3-, 4-, and selected 5- and 6-digit industry levels, and national estimates 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. Each year, two semiannual panels of approximately 200,000 sampled establishments are contacted, one panel in May and the other in November. Responses are obtained by mail, Internet or other electronic means, email, telephone, or personal visit. The May 2016 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2016, November 2015, May 2015, November 2014, May 2014, and November 2013. The overall national response rate for the six panels, based on the 50 states and the District of Columbia, is 73 percent based on establishments and 69 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The unweighted employment of sampled establishments across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 58 percent of total national employment. The sample in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood Metropolitan Statistical Area included 6,736 establishments with a response rate of 70 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

The May 2016 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 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin, Jefferson, and Park Counties.

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, Denver-Aurora-Lakewood Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2016
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Business and financial operations occupations

112,600 1.5 $37.96 $78,960

Agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes

60 0.4 (5) (5)

Buyers and purchasing agents, farm products

60 0.5 29.36 61,080

Wholesale and retail buyers, except farm products

860 0.8 25.86 53,790

Purchasing agents, except wholesale, retail, and farm products

3,620 1.2 34.46 71,670

Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators

2,570 0.9 33.94 70,600

Insurance appraisers, auto damage

70 0.4 33.33 69,340

Compliance officers

3,350 1.2 35.11 73,020

Cost estimators

2,730 1.3 35.81 74,480

Human resources specialists

7,110 1.3 32.71 68,040

Labor relations specialists

370 0.5 (5) (5)


1,660 1.1 39.45 82,070

Management analysts

6,080 1.0 45.17 93,960

Meeting, convention, and event planners

1,890 2.0 21.12 43,920


(5) (5) 26.21 54,520

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists

860 1.1 35.10 73,010

Training and development specialists

3,620 1.3 33.56 69,800

Market research analysts and marketing specialists

9,650 1.7 36.80 76,540

Business operations specialists, all other

26,500 2.7 39.18 81,500

Accountants and auditors

22,910 1.8 38.63 80,360

Appraisers and assessors of real estate

810 1.3 35.18 73,180

Budget analysts

680 1.2 38.82 80,750

Credit analysts

980 1.3 36.12 75,130

Financial analysts

2,740 1.0 52.17 108,510

Personal financial advisors

2,610 1.3 59.84 124,460

Insurance underwriters

1,220 1.3 37.91 78,860

Financial examiners

940 1.9 38.64 80,370

Credit counselors

(5) (5) 36.61 76,150

Loan officers

3,830 1.2 34.80 72,390

Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents

560 1.0 30.34 63,100

Tax preparers

520 0.7 (5) (5)

Financial specialists, all other

2,680 2.2 33.35 69,360

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood 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) Estimate not released.


Last Modified Date: Thursday, September 28, 2017