National Compensation Survey - Wages

National Compensation Survey: Occupational Earnings in the West North Central Census Division, July 2007

U.S. Department of Labor
Elaine L. Chao, Secretary

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Keith Hall, Commissioner
September 2008

Bulletin 2712



Occupational Earnings Tables: West North Central Census Division, December 2006 – January 2008 (average reference date July 2007)

Relative Standard Error (RSE) tables to accompany mean hourly, weekly, and annual earnings tables

Appendix A: Technical Note

Appendix B: Survey Occupations (PDF)

Appendix C: Survey Areas and Geographic Coverage


The National Compensation Survey (NCS) provides comprehensive measures of occupational earnings, compensation cost trends, benefit incidence, and detailed benefit provisions. This bulletin presents estimates of occupational pay that originate from localities in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota and are weighted to represent the West North Central Census Division as a whole. (For a list of the localities surveyed, see Appendix C.) The estimates include pay for workers in major sectors of the U.S. economy in 2007–the civilian, private, and State and local government sectors–and by various occupational and establishment characteristics. The civilian economy, by NCS definition, excludes Federal government, agricultural, and household workers.

Questions regarding these data and recent and historical NCS wage data can be addressed by calling the information line at (202) 691-6199 or by e-mailing to Information is available to sensory-impaired individuals on request, (Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1 (800) 877-8339). Data requests also may be sent by mail to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Division of Compensation Data Analysis and Planning, 2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Room 4175, Washington, DC 20212. Material in this publication is in the public domain and, with appropriate credit, may be reproduced without permission.

U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) field economists collected and reviewed the survey data. The Office of Compensation and Working Conditions, in cooperation with the Office of Field Operations and the Office of Technology and Survey Processing (all in the BLS National Office), designed the survey, processed the data, and prepared the survey for publication. The survey could not have been conducted without the cooperation of the many private businesses and government jurisdictions that provided pay data included in this report. BLS thanks these respondents for their cooperation.

New this year. This edition of the National Compensation Survey (NCS) annual bulletin on occupational earnings in the West North Central Census Division has undergone changes since its last publication:

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Occupational Earnings Tables: West North Central Census Division, December 2006 – January 2008 (average reference date July 2007)

The 2007 NCS West North Central Census Division bulletin includes occupational earnings tables 1-21; relative standard errors of the estimates for tables 11-13, 15-17, and 19-21; and appendix tables 1 and 2. The relative standard error tables are titled and numbered to correspond to their respective earnings-estimates tables. Appendix tables 1 and 2 are part of Appendix A.

Summary table. Table 1 presents an overview of data reported in this bulletin. Mean hourly earnings, weekly hours, and relative standard errors are given for civilian, private industry, and State and local government workers by selected worker and establishment characteristics. Worker characteristics include high-level and intermediate occupational aggregation, full-time and part-time status, union and nonunion status, and time and incentive pay status. Establishment characteristics include goods producing, service providing, and size of establishment.

Work levels. Work levels are standardized measures of duties and responsibilities that apply to all occupations. The NCS designates 15 work levels; level 1 is the lowest and level 15 is the highest. Tables 2 through 4 present average wages by work level. Table 5 shows average wages by combined work levels. (For more information on how work levels are determined, see Appendix A.)

Percentiles. Percentiles designate position in the earnings distribution and are calculated from individual worker earnings and the hours those workers are scheduled to work. Tables 6 through 10 provide estimates on the mean hourly wage for the 10th percentile, the 25th percentile, the 50th percentile (the median), the 75th percentile, and the 90th percentile of occupational wages, by ownership sector and for full- and part-time workers within these sectors.

Full-time and part-time workers. Employees are classified as full time or part time on the basis of definitions used by each establishment. Tables 2 through 5, above, provide mean hourly earnings estimates for full-time and part-time workers by occupational group for the civilian sector, State and local government, and private industry, by work level. Tables 11 through 13 provide occupational mean and median hourly, weekly, and annual earnings estimates, as well as mean weekly and annual hours worked, by ownership sector.

Size of establishment. Estimates of mean hourly earnings for workers in major occupational groups by size of private industry establishment—1-49 workers, 50-99 workers, 100-499 workers, and 500 or more workers—are shown in table 14. Tables 15 and 16 show estimates of mean and median hourly, weekly, and annual earnings and mean weekly and annual hours for detailed occupations of full-time private industry workers in establishments with fewer than 100 workers and for those in establishments with 100 workers or more, respectively.

Union and nonunion workers. Union workers are workers whose wages are determined through collective bargaining. Table 17 provides mean hourly earnings of union and nonunion workers in the civilian sector as a whole, State and local government, and private industry, by major occupational group. (For more information on union workers, see Appendix A.)

Time and incentive workers. Time workers are workers whose wages are based solely on an hourly rate or salary. Incentive workers are workers whose wages are based at least partially on productivity payments, such piece rates, commissions, and production bonuses. Table 18 provides hourly earnings estimates for workers in the civilian and private sectors who are paid on a time or an incentive basis.

Private industry sector. Table 19 shows estimates of mean hourly earnings for workers, by industry sector, for major occupational groups. Industry sectors meeting publication criteria in the West North Central Census Division are: construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation, and utilities; financial activities; education and health services; leisure and hospitality; and other services.

Hospitals. Hospitals include establishments matching NAICS code 622000: general medical and surgical hospitals, psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, and specialty (except psychiatric and substance abuse) hospitals. Table 20 shows mean and median hourly, weekly, and annual earnings and mean weekly and annual hours, for full-time civilian workers in hospitals, by detailed occupation and level.

Supervisory occupations. Table 21 includes estimates of mean and median weekly and annual earnings and mean weekly and annual hours for workers with supervisory responsibility, in the civilian sector.

Multiple table selection. Wages tables 1-10, 11-21, and all wage tables are given here for ease of printing many tables at once.

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Relative Standard Error (RSE) tables are numbered to accompany mean hourly, weekly, and annual earnings tables:

Multiple RSE table selection. All of the RSE tables are given here for ease of printing many tables at once.

Appendix A: Technical Note

This section provides basic information on survey procedures and concepts. For a more complete description, please see the BLS Handbook of Methods, Chapter 8. National Compensation Measures, available on the Internet at

Survey scope

The NCS covers establishments employing one worker or more in private goods-producing industries (mining, construction, and manufacturing); private service-providing industries (trade, transportation, and utilities; information; financial activities; professional and business services; education and health services; leisure and hospitality; and other services); and State and local governments. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, private households, and the Federal government are excluded from the scope of the survey. For purposes of this survey, an establishment is an economic unit that produces goods or services, a central administrative office, or an auxiliary unit providing support services to a company. For private industries in the survey, the establishment is usually at a single physical location. For State and local governments, an establishment is defined as an agency or entity such as a school district, a college, a university, a hospital, a nursing home, an administrative body, a court, a police department, a fire department, a health or social service operation, a highway maintenance operation, an urban transit operation, or some other governmental unit within a defined geographic area or jurisdiction.

Sampling frame

The list of establishments from which the survey sample is selected (the sampling frame) is developed from State unemployment insurance reports. Due to the volatility of industries within the private sector, the most recent month of reference available at the time the sample is selected is used to develop sampling frames. Approximately one-fifth of the private industry sample is reselected each year. The sampling frame for State and local government establishments is revised every 10 years.

Data collection

The collection of data from survey respondents requires detailed procedures. Field economists collect the data by contacting each establishment surveyed.

Industry classification

The NCS sample is classified by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). For more detail, see The NCS began collecting and coding data under NAICS 2007 in August 2007. Some of the data in this bulletin were collected under NAICS 2002. NAICS 2007 includes revisions to NAICS 2002 that affect several industry sectors. The most significant revisions are in the information sector, particularly within the telecommunications area. For more information about the differences between the NAICS 2002 and NAICS 2007, see

Occupational selection and classification

The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system is used by all Federal statistical agencies. NCS data are currently classified according to the 2000 edition of the SOC manual. Workers are classified into detailed occupational categories with standardized definitions. To facilitate classification, occupations are combined to form major groups, minor groups, and broad occupations. Each item in the hierarchy is designated by a six-digit code. Major group codes end with 0000, minor group codes end with 000, and broad occupation codes end with 0. (See the entire list of SOC occupational categories at Note that the NCS excludes major group 23 (code 23-0000), military-specific occupations.

Identification of the occupations for which wage data were to be collected is a multi-step process:

  1. Selection of establishment jobs by probability proportional to size
  2. Classification of jobs into occupations based on the SOC system
  3. Characterization of jobs as full-time or part-time, union or nonunion, and time or incentive
  4. Determination of the level of work of each job

For each occupation, wage data are collected for those workers whose jobs can be characterized by the criteria identified in the last three steps. If a specific work level cannot be determined, wages are still collected. In step one, the jobs to be sampled are selected at each establishment by the BLS field economist. A complete list of employees is used for sampling, with each worker selected representing a job within the establishment. As with the selection of establishments, the selection of a job is based on probability proportional to its size in the establishment. The greater the number of people working in a job in the establishment, the greater is its chance of selection. The number of jobs for which data are collected in each establishment is based on the establishment's employment size. The number of jobs selected follows this schedule:


of employees


of selected jobs


Up to 4



250 or more


Exceptions include: State and local government units, for which up to 20 jobs may be selected; and the Aircraft Manufacturing industry units—those matching NAICS code 336411—for which up to 32 jobs may be selected.

The second step of the process entailed classifying the selected jobs into occupations based on their duties. A selected job may fall into any one of about 800 occupational classifications—from accountant to zoologist—based on the 2000 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. When workers could be classified in more than one occupation, they were classified in the occupation that required the higher skill level. When there was no perceptible difference in skill level, the workers were classified in the occupation that described their primary activity. Each occupational classification is an element of a broader classification known as a major group. Occupations can fall into any of 22 major groups; military occupations are excluded from the survey. contains a complete list of all individual occupations, classified by the major group to which they belong.

In step 3, certain other job characteristics of the chosen worker are identified. First, the worker is identified as holding either a full-time job or a part-time job, based on the establishment's definition of those terms. Then, the worker is classified as having a time or an incentive job, depending on whether any part of the pay was based directly on the actual production of the worker, rather than solely on hours worked. Finally, the worker is identified as being in a union job or a nonunion job.

Union workers. The NCS defines a union worker as any employee in a union occupation when all of the following conditions are met: a labor organization is recognized as the bargaining agent for all workers in the occupation; wage and salary rates are determined through collective bargaining or negotiations; and settlement terms, which must include earnings provisions and may include benefit provisions, are embodied in a signed, mutually binding collective bargaining agreement. A nonunion worker is an employee in an occupation not meeting the conditions for union coverage.

Supervisory occupations. Supervisors usually assign and review the work of subordinates. Typically, supervisors have the authority to hire, transfer, lay off, promote, reward, and discipline other employees. By NCS definitions, first-line supervisors direct their staff through face-to-face meetings and are responsible for conducting the employees' performance appraisals. Second-line supervisors typically direct the actions of their staffs through first-line supervisors.

Work levels

In the last step before wage data are collected, a point factor leveling process is used to determine the work level of each job selected. Work level is a ranking within an occupation, based on the requirements of the position. Point factor leveling matches certain aspects of a job to specific levels of work with assigned point values. Points for each factor are then totaled to determine the overall work level for the job. The four occupational leveling factors are

For a complete description of point factor leveling, refer to the publication "National Compensation Survey: Guide for Evaluating Your Firm's Jobs and Pay," available on the Internet at

Combined work levels

This report includes a table that simplifies the presentation of work levels by combining them into four broad groups. These groups were determined by combinations of knowledge, job controls and complexity, contacts, physical environment, and supervisory duties, and are meant to be comparable across different occupations. The broad groups and the combined work levels are:

Groupdesignation Levelscombined

Group I

Levels 1–4

Group II

Levels 5–8

Group III

Levels 9–12

Group IV

Levels 13–15

Areas surveyed

The NCS program collects data in geographic areas defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB). (For a list of all areas included in the 2007 West North Central Census Division earnings estimates, see Appendix C.) Although the NCS usually collects data from 152 areas to compile its national estimates, 227 areas were surveyed this year, as areas were being phased into the sample. In the areas newly surveyed in 2007, data were collected only in State and local government establishments. Over the next 5 years, new areas will include private industry establishments to replenish the private industry sample. (For more information on the area definitions, see "New Area Sample Selected for the National Compensation Survey," Compensation and Working Conditions Online, Apr. 25, 2005, on the Internet at For a list of current and historical OMB area definitions, see

Collection period

Survey data were collected over a 13-month period for the larger areas; for the smaller areas, data were collected over a 4-month period. For each establishment in the survey, the data reflect the establishment's most recent information at the time of collection. The data for the West North Central Census Division bulletin were compiled from locality data collected between December 2006 and January 2008. The average reference period was July 2007.


Earnings were defined as regular payments from the employer to the employee as compensation for straight-time hourly work, or for any salaried work performed. The following components were included as part of earnings:

The earnings estimates for aircraft pilots and flight engineers (SOC code 53-2010) and detailed occupations within this group, and the earnings estimates for flight attendants (SOC code 39-6031), include flight pay and flight hours only; this may not completely reflect the total earnings and hours worked.

The following forms of payments were not considered part of straight-time earnings:

To calculate earnings for various periods (hourly, weekly, and annual), the NCS collected data on work schedules. For hourly workers, scheduled hours worked per day and per week, exclusive of overtime, were recorded. Annual weeks worked were determined as well. Because salaried workers who are exempt from overtime provisions often work beyond the assigned work schedule, the typical number of hours they actually worked was collected.

Processing and analyzing the data

Data are processed and analyzed at the BLS national office following collection. Processing and analysis includes weighting, adjusting for nonresponse, imputation, benchmarking, and calculating wage estimates, percentiles, variances, and other summary statistics.

Estimation, Weighting, and Nonresponse

The wage estimates in the tables are computed by combining the wages for each occupation sampled. Before being combined, individual wage rates are weighted by the number of workers; the sample weight, adjusted for nonresponding establishments and other factors; and the occupation's scheduled hours of work. The sample weight reflects the inverse of each unit's probability of selection at each sample selection stage and four weight adjustment factors:

  1. The first factor adjusts for initial establishment nonresponse.

  2. The second factor adjusts for initial occupational nonresponse.

  3. The third factor adjusts for any special situations that may have occurred during data collection.

  4. The fourth factor, post-stratification, also called benchmarking, is applied to the raw data to adjust survey sample weights so that they reflect the current count of employment by industry to derive average hourly earnings. Initial weights are derived when the sample of establishments is selected, reflecting employment distribution by industry at that time. Those weights may be up to 7 years old. Benchmarking adjusts initial weights to reflect the employment distribution by industry at the reference date of the data.

The National Compensation Survey is voluntary, so a company official may refuse to participate in the initial survey or may be unwilling or unable to update previously collected data during a subsequent contact for one or more occupations. For those situations in which previous wage data cannot be updated, an estimate for the missing data is imputed, using information obtained from similar establishments and occupations.

Not all calculated estimates meet the criteria for publication. Before any estimate is published, it is reviewed to make sure that the number of observations underlying it is sufficient. This review prevents the publication of an estimate that could reveal information about a specific establishment. Estimates of the number of workers represent the total in all establishments within the scope of the study, not the number actually surveyed. Because occupational structures among establishments differ, estimates of the number of workers obtained from the sample of establishments indicate only the relative importance of the occupational groups studied.

Data reliability

The data in this report are estimates from a scientifically selected probability sample. There are two types of errors possible in an estimate based on a sample survey, sampling and nonsampling.

Sampling errors occur because observations come only from a sample and not from an entire population. The sample used for the NCS is one of a number of possible samples of the same size that could have been selected under the sample design. Estimates derived from the different samples would differ from one another. The standard error, or sampling error, is a measure of the variation among these differing estimates that indicates the precision with which an estimate from a particular sample approximates the average result of all possible samples. The relative standard error (RSE) is the standard error divided by the estimate. RSE data are provided alongside the earnings data in many of the presented tables in this report. The standard error can be used to calculate a confidence interval around a sample estimate. As an example, a table shows mean hourly earnings for all civilian full-time workers of $21.08 per hour and a relative standard error of 1.0 percent for this estimate. At the 90-percent level, the confidence interval for this estimate is from $20.73 to $22.43 ($21.08 × 1.645 × 0.010 = $0.346766, rounded to $0.35; $21.08 − 0.35 = $20.73; $21.08 + 0.35 = $21.43). In other words, if all possible samples were selected to estimate the population value, the interval from each sample would include the true population value approximately 90 percent of the time.

Nonsampling errors also affect survey results and they can stem from many sources, such as inability to obtain information for some establishments, difficulties with survey definitions, inability of the respondents to provide correct information, and mistakes in recording or coding the data obtained. Although not specifically measured for this report, the nonsampling errors were expected to be minimal due to the extensive training of the field economists who gathered the survey data, to computer edits of the data, and to a detailed data review.

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Appendix B: Occupational Descriptions (PDF)

Appendix C: Survey Areas and Geographic Coverage

Appendix C lists the geographic areas surveyed under the National Compensation Survey. Data from areas within Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota were used to compile the estimates for the West North Central census division. An asterisk (*) denotes metropolitan areas that include counties in States within different census divisions. For these metropolitan areas, data are divided by county among the respective States and contribute to the estimates of the appropiate census division.

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Last Modified Date: September 18, 2008

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