Occupational Employment Statistics

Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2006

43-2021 Telephone Operators

Provide information by accessing alphabetical and geographical directories. Assist customers with special billing requests, such as charges to a third party and credits or refunds for incorrectly dialed numbers or bad connections. May handle emergency calls and assist children or people with physical disabilities to make telephone calls.

National estimates for this occupation
Industry profile for this occupation
State profile for this occupation
Metropolitan area profile for this occupation

National estimates for this occupation: Top

Employment estimate and mean wage estimates for this occupation:

Employment (1) Employment
RSE (3)
Mean hourly
wage
Mean annual
wage (2)
Wage RSE (3)
26,350 3.1 % $15.73 $32,710 1.4 %

Percentile wage estimates for this occupation:

Percentile 10% 25% 50%
(Median)
75% 90%
Hourly Wage $8.44 $10.67 $16.41 $20.59 $22.44
Annual Wage (2) $17,540 $22,180 $34,140 $42,830 $46,670

Industry profile for this occupation: Top

Industries with the highest published employment and wages for this occupation are provided. For a list of all industries with employment in this occupation, see the Create Customized Tables function.

Industries with the highest levels of employment in this occupation:

Industry Employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Wired Telecommunications Carriers 14,910 $17.10 $35,560
Business Support Services 2,830 $9.73 $20,240
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 1,540 $14.59 $30,340
Local Government (OES designation) 490 $15.16 $31,530
Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite) 470 $11.35 $23,610

Top paying industries for this occupation:

Industry Employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Wired Telecommunications Carriers 14,910 $17.10 $35,560
Electrical and Electronic Goods Merchant Wholesalers (8) $15.94 $33,160
Cable and Other Program Distribution 40 $15.78 $32,820
Local Government (OES designation) 490 $15.16 $31,530
Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals 60 $14.67 $30,520

State profile for this occupation: Top

States with the highest published employment concentrations and wages for this occupation are provided. For a list of all States with employment in this occupation, see the Create Customized Tables function.

States with the highest concentration of workers in this occupation:

State Employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage Percent of State employment
Pennsylvania 2,380 $15.54 $32,310 0.042%
Alabama 710 $15.02 $31,240 0.037%
Missouri 780 $14.86 $30,900 0.029%
Florida 2,300 $12.62 $26,240 0.029%
South Carolina 500 $10.47 $21,770 0.027%

Top paying States for this occupation:

State Employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage Percent of State employment
Indiana 480 $19.26 $40,060 0.016%
New York 2,030 $19.12 $39,770 0.024%
Illinois 1,220 $18.60 $38,700 0.021%
Rhode Island 120 $17.88 $37,180 0.025%
New Jersey 980 $17.78 $36,990 0.025%

Metropolitan area profile for this occupation: Top

Metropolitan areas with the highest published employment concentrations and wages for this occupation are provided. For a list of all Metropolitan areas with employment in this occupation, see the Create Customized Tables function.

Metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of workers in this occupation:

MSA Employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage Percent of MSA employment
San Antonio, TX 590 $12.43 $25,850 0.075%
Orlando-Kissimmee, FL 530 $15.28 $31,790 0.052%
St. Louis, MO-IL 540 $12.33 $25,640 0.041%
Savannah, GA 60 (8) (8) 0.040%
Indianapolis-Carmel, IN 350 (8) (8) 0.040%

Top paying Metropolitan areas for this occupation:

MSA Employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage Percent of MSA employment
Austin-Round Rock, TX (8) $20.17 $41,960 (8)
Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL Metropolitan Division 900 $19.71 $41,000 0.024%
Tulsa, OK 110 $18.91 $39,340 0.027%
New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division 1,200 $18.65 $38,780 0.024%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division 1,140 $18.59 $38,670 0.028%

About May 2006 National, State, Metropolitan, and nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates

These estimates are calculated with data collected from employers in all industry sectors in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas in every State and the District of Columbia. The top five employment and wage figures are provided above. The complete list is available in the downloadable Excel files (XLS).

Percentile wage estimates show the percentage of workers in an occupation that earn less than a given wage and the percentage that earn more. The median wage is the 50th percentile wage estimate—50 percent of workers earn less than the median and 50 percent of workers earn more than the median. More about percentile wages.


(1) 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.

(2) 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.

(3) The relative standard error (RSE) is a measure of the reliability of a survey statistic. The smaller the relative standard error, the more precise the estimate.

(8) Estimate not released.

Other OES estimates and related information:

May 2006 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates

May 2006 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates

May 2006 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates

May 2006 National Industry-Specific Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates

List of Occupations in SOC Code Number Order

List of Occupations in Alphabetical Order

Download May 2006 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates in Zipped Excel files

Technical notes

Last Modified Date: December 6, 2007

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