Mid-Atlantic Information Office

News Release Information

13-818-PHI

Friday, May 3, 2013

Contacts

Technical information:
Media contact:

Occupational Employment and Wages in Washington-Arlington-Alexandria – May 2012

Workers in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $30.65 in May 2012, 39 percent above the nationwide average of $22.01, 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 higher than their respective national averages in all of the 22 major occupational groups. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2012
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Washington-Arlington-Alexandria United States Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Percent difference(1)

Total, all occupations

100.0
100.0
$22.01
$30.65*
39

Management

4.9
8.0*
52.20
62.97*
21

Business and financial operations

4.9
10.1*
33.44
41.13*
23

Computer and mathematical

2.7
7.7*
38.55
46.65*
21

Architecture and engineering

1.8
2.4*
37.98
46.35*
22

Life, physical, and social science

0.8
2.0*
32.87
44.15*
34

Community and social service

1.4
1.3*
21.27
26.19*
23

Legal

0.8
2.4*
47.39
61.71*
30

Education, training, and library

6.4
6.1*
24.62
28.98*
18

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3
2.2*
26.20
34.08*
30

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.9
4.6*
35.35
41.70*
18

Healthcare support

3.0
2.0*
13.36
15.52*
16

Protective service

2.5
2.9*
20.70
24.64*
19

Food preparation and serving related

8.9
7.6*
10.28
11.66*
13

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.3
3.4*
12.34
13.12*
6

Personal care and service

2.9
2.7*
11.80
13.71*
16

Sales and related

10.6
8.5*
18.26
19.67*
8

Office and administrative support

16.4
13.9*
16.54
19.64*
19

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3
0.0*
11.65
15.16*
30

Construction and extraction

3.8
3.6*
21.61
22.54*
4

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9
2.9*
21.09
24.09*
14

Production

6.6
1.9*
16.59
18.20*
10

Transportation and material moving

6.7
3.9*
16.15
17.78*
10

* 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.

Footnotes:
(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Washington-Arlington-Alexandria is above the national mean wage, while a negative percent difference reflects a lower wage.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Washington employment was more highly concentrated in 9 of the 22 occupational groups. All but two of these groups had wages above Washington’s $30.65 hourly average, including business and financial operations, computer and mathematical, and management. Conversely, of the 13 groups with employment shares significantly below their national representation, 12 had wages below the local average, including production, transportation and material moving, and healthcare support.

One occupational group—computer and mathematical—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Washington had 223,320 jobs in computer and mathematical occupations, accounting for 7.7 percent of local area employment, significantly above the national share of 2.7 percent. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $46.65, more than 20 percent above the national average of $38.55.

With employment of 32,710, systems software developers was the largest occupation within the computer and mathematical group in the Washington area, followed by applications software developers (32,150) and computer systems analysts (28,210). Among the higher paying jobs were computer and information research scientists and systems software developers, with mean hourly wages of $56.23 and $53.72, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were computer user support specialists ($28.56) and computer network support specialists ($34.43). (Detailed occupational data for the computer and mathematical group are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations go to www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_47900.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 Washington metropolitan area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in nearly all of the detailed occupations within the computer and mathematical group. For instance, information security analysts were employed at over 6 times the national rate in Washington, and statisticians, at nearly 7 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, computer programmers had a location quotient of 1.6 in Washington, meaning the local employment share in this particular occupation was much closer to the national average.

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 District of Columbia Department of Employment Services, the Virginia Employment Commission, the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, and WorkForce West Virginia.

With the release of the May 2012 estimates, OES data are based on the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system for the first time. The OES survey provides estimates of employment and hourly and annual wages for wage and salary workers in 22 major occupational groups and more than 800 detailed occupations for the nation, states, metropolitan statistical areas, metropolitan divisions, and nonmetropolitan areas. In addition, employment and wage estimates for 94 minor groups and 458 broad occupations are available in the national data for the first time. Information about the 2010 SOC is available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/soc/.

The May 2012 OES estimates are the first to be produced using the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Information about the 2012 NAICS is available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/bls/naics.htm.

OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Metropolitan Statistical Area were compared to their respective national averages based on statistical significance testing. Only those occupations with wages or employment shares above or below the national wage or share after testing for significance at the 90-percent confidence level meet the criteria.

NOTE: 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. Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands are also surveyed, but their data are not included in the national estimates. 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 for a 3-year period. May 2012 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected in May 2012, November 2011, May 2011, November 2010, May 2010, and November 2009. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 76.6 percent based on establishments and 72.9 percent based on employment. The sample in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Metropolitan Statistical Area included 16,661 establishments with a response rate of 71 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.

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 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va. Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes the District of Columbia; Arlington, Clarke, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Warren Counties, and Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park Cities in Virginia; Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George's Counties in Maryland; and Jefferson County in West Virginia.

Additional information
OES data are available on our regional web page at www.bls.gov/ro3. 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/2012/may/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: 1-800-877-8339.

Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2012
Occupation(1) Employment(2) Mean wage
Level Location quotient(3) Hourly Annual(4)

Computer and mathematical occupations

223,320 2.8 $46.65 $97,040

Computer and information research scientists

2,740 5.0 56.23 116,960

Computer systems analysts

28,210 2.6 48.23 100,310

Information security analysts

10,300 6.4 49.70 103,380

Computer programmers

11,160 1.6 42.01 87,370

Software developers, applications

32,150 2.5 50.40 104,820

Software developers, systems software

32,710 3.8 53.72 111,740

Web developers

4,950 2.2 38.53 80,140

Database administrators

6,190 2.5 45.75 95,150

Network and computer systems administrators

20,400 2.6 44.69 92,950

Computer network architects

11,830 3.9 52.17 108,520

Computer user support specialists

19,250 1.6 28.56 59,400

Computer network support specialists

9,310 2.5 34.43 71,620

Computer occupations, all other

23,000 5.6 49.87 103,730

Actuaries

330 0.7 48.26 100,390

Mathematicians

370 5.0 62.86 130,750

Operations research analysts

6,230 4.0 47.26 98,290

Statisticians

3,820 6.7 47.03 97,820

Mathematical science occupations, all other

330 12.3 34.76 72,300

Footnotes:
(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria MSA, see www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_47900.htm.
(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.

Last Modified Date: May 3, 2013