Wednesday, June 07, 2017
Workers in the Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $20.64 in May 2016, about 13 percent below the nationwide average of $23.86, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Janet S. Rankin noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were lower than their respective national averages in 20 of the 22 major occupational groups including, computer and mathematical; construction and extraction; and management. One group—farming, fishing, and forestry—had a significantly higher wage than its respective national average.
When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 5 of the 22 occupational groups, including transportation and material moving; healthcare practitioners and technical; and office and administrative support. Conversely, 14 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including business and financial operations; computer and mathematical; and education, training, and library. (See table A and box note at end of release.)
|Major occupational group||Percent of total employment||Mean hourly wage|
|United States||Memphis||United States||Memphis||Percent difference (1)|
Total, all occupations
Business and financial operations
Computer and mathematical
Architecture and engineering
Life, physical, and social science
Community and social service
Education, training, and library
Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media
Healthcare practitioners and technical
Food preparation and serving related
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance
Personal care and service
Sales and related
Office and administrative support
Farming, fishing, and forestry
Construction and extraction
Installation, maintenance, and repair
Transportation and material moving
One occupational group—transportation and material moving—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Memphis had 91,560 jobs in transportation and material moving, accounting for 14.7 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 6.9-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $15.82, significantly below the national wage of $17.34.
Some of the larger detailed occupations within the transportation and material moving group included laborers and freight, stock, and hand material movers (42,080), heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (14,420), and industrial truck and tractor operators (5,840). Among the higher paying jobs were first-line supervisors of transportation and material-moving machine and vehicle operators, and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, with mean hourly wages of $29.05 and $20.87, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were parking lot attendants ($9.51) and school or special client bus drivers ($12.42). (Detailed occupational data for transportation and material moving are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_32820.htm.)
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 Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the transportation and material moving group. For instance, laborers and freight, stock, and hand material movers were employed at 3.7 times the national rate in Memphis, and first-line supervisors of helpers, laborers, and hand material movers, at 3.5 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, automotive and watercraft service attendants had a location quotient of 0.9 in Memphis, 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 Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
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.
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 www.bls.gov/oes/tables.htm.
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 Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area included 4,619 establishments with a response rate of 74 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.
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 www.bls.gov/soc and information about the 2012 NAICS is available at www.bls.gov/bls/naics.htm.
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 Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Benton, DeSoto, Marshall, Tate, and Tunica Counties in Mississippi; Crittenden County in Arkansas; Fayette, Shelby, and Tipton Counties in Tennessee.
OES data are available on our regional web page at www.bls.gov/regions/southeast. Answers to frequently asked questions about the OES data are available at www.bls.gov/oes/oes_ques.htm. Detailed technical information about the OES survey is available in our Survey Methods and Reliability Statement on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/oes/current/methods_statement.pdf.
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.
|Occupation (1)||Employment||Mean wages|
|Level (2)||Location quotient (3)||Hourly||Annual (4)|
Transportation and material moving occupations
Aircraft cargo handling supervisors
First-line supervisors of helpers, laborers, and material movers, hand
First-line supervisors of transportation and material-moving machine and vehicle operators
Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers
Ambulance drivers and attendants, except emergency medical technicians
Bus drivers, transit and intercity
Bus drivers, school or special client
Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers
Light truck or delivery services drivers
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
Motor vehicle operators, all other
Sailors and marine oilers
Captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels
Parking lot attendants
Automotive and watercraft service attendants
Transportation workers, all other
Conveyor operators and tenders
Crane and tower operators
Excavating and loading machine and dragline operators
Industrial truck and tractor operators
Cleaners of vehicles and equipment
Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand
Machine feeders and offbearers
Packers and packagers, hand
Refuse and recyclable material collectors
Tank car, truck, and ship loaders
Material moving workers, all other
Last Modified Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2017