Southeast Information Office

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13-959-ATL

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

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Occupational Employment and Wages in Columbia, May 2012

Workers in the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $19.50 in May 2012, about 11 percent below the nationwide average of $22.01, 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 significantly lower than their respective national averages in 20 of the 22 major occupational groups, including construction and extraction, computer and mathematical, and business and financial operations.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 5 of the 22 occupational groups, including office and administrative support, healthcare practitioners and technical, and protective service. Conversely, nine groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including construction and extraction, food preparation and serving related, and transportation and material moving. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

One occupational group—office and administrative support—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Columbia had 63,200 jobs in office and administrative support, accounting for 18.6 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 16.4-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $15.76, measurably below the national wage of $16.54.

With employment of 9,620, customer service representatives was the largest occupation within the office and administrative support group, followed by general office clerks (8,700) and secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive (6,810). Among the higher paying jobs were first-line supervisors of office and administrative workers, and executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants, with mean hourly wages of $22.45 and $22.32, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were stock clerks and order fillers ($10.61) and tellers ($12.06). (Detailed occupational data for office and administrative support are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to www.bls.gov/oes/2012/may/oes_17900.htm.)

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

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0% $22.01 $19.50* -11

Management

4.9 4.6* 52.20 45.05* -14

Business and financial operations

4.9 5.0 33.44 27.39* -18

Computer and mathematical

2.7 2.4* 38.55 31.22* -19

Architecture and engineering

1.8 1.9 37.98 33.81* -11

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 0.5* 32.87 27.02* -18

Community and social services

1.4 1.6 21.27 18.73* -12

Legal

0.8 1.1* 47.39 34.23* -28

Education, training, and library

6.4 6.3 24.62 23.36 -5

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 1.0* 26.20 19.15* -27

Healthcare practitioner and technical

5.9 6.8* 35.35 31.55* -11

Healthcare support

3.0 2.9 13.36 12.29* -8

Protective service

2.5 3.2* 20.70 16.10* -22

Food preparation and serving related

8.9 8.2* 10.28 9.24* -10

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.3 2.9* 12.34 10.76* -13

Personal care and service

2.9 2.2* 11.80 10.89* -8

Sales and related

10.6 10.8 18.26 15.73* -14

Office and administrative support

16.4 18.6* 16.54 15.76* -5

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.3 11.65 12.13 4

Construction and extraction

3.8 2.8* 21.61 17.53* -19

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 4.2* 21.09 19.82* -6

Production

6.6 6.7 16.59 15.41* -7

Transportation and material moving

6.7 6.2* 16.15 14.31* -11

Footnotes:
(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Columbia 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.

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 Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area, above average concentrations of employment were found in some of the occupations within the office and administrative support group. For instance, insurance claims and policy processing clerks were employed at 3.4 times the national rate in Columbia, and procurement clerks, at 2.6 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks had a location quotient of 0.9 in Columbia, 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 South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.

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 Columbia 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 Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area included 2,772 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.

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 Columbia, S.C. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Calhoun, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Richland, and Saluda Counties.

Additional information

OES data are available on our regional web page at www.bls.gov/ro4/home.htm. 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: 800-877-8339.

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

Office and Administrative Support Occupations

63,200 1.1 $15.76 $32,790

First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers

5,680 1.6 22.45 46,690

Switchboard Operators, Including Answering Service

290 0.9 12.84 26,700

Bill and Account Collectors

880 0.9 14.19 29,520

Billing and Posting Clerks

1,640 1.3 15.04 31,290

Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks

3,890 0.9 16.69 34,720

Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks

550 1.2 19.31 40,170

Procurement Clerks

480 2.6 17.62 36,640

Tellers

860 0.6 12.06 25,080

Financial Clerks, All Other

30 0.3 21.96 45,680

Brokerage Clerks

130 0.8 19.39 40,340

Court, Municipal, and License Clerks

170 0.5 16.65 34,630

Credit Authorizers, Checkers, and Clerks

270 2.0 14.62 30,410

Customer Service Representatives

9,620 1.6 15.05 31,310

Eligibility Interviewers, Government Programs

120 0.3 19.19 39,920

File Clerks

330 0.8 11.83 24,600

Hotel, Motel, and Resort Desk Clerks

510 0.9 9.52 19,800

Interviewers, Except Eligibility and Loan

250 0.5 13.20 27,450

Library Assistants, Clerical

290 1.1 12.15 25,280

Loan Interviewers and Clerks

340 0.7 16.19 33,670

New Accounts Clerks

70 0.5 14.83 30,840

Order Clerks

340 0.6 14.70 30,590

Human Resources Assistants, Except Payroll and Timekeeping

630 1.8 16.89 35,130

Receptionists and Information Clerks

2,720 1.1 12.96 26,950

Reservation and Transportation Ticket Agents and Travel Clerks

(5) (5) 13.93 28,980

Information and Record Clerks, All Other

470 1.0 19.34 40,220

Cargo and Freight Agents

100 0.5 18.49 38,460

Couriers and Messengers

330 1.7 10.91 22,690

Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers

230 0.9 15.09 31,380

Dispatchers, Except Police, Fire, and Ambulance

480 1.0 18.08 37,610

Meter Readers, Utilities

90 0.8 17.91 37,250

Postal Service Clerks

150 0.8 24.49 50,940

Postal Service Mail Carriers

710 0.9 24.40 50,760

Postal Service Mail Sorters, Processors, and Processing Machine Operators

410 1.2 23.11 48,060

Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerks

(5) (5) 22.36 46,510

Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks

1,750 1.0 13.23 27,510

Stock Clerks and Order Fillers

4,060 0.9 10.61 22,070

Weighers, Measurers, Checkers, and Samplers, Recordkeeping

190 1.0 12.15 25,260

Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants

1,680 0.8 22.32 46,420

Legal Secretaries

830 1.5 18.28 38,030

Medical Secretaries

970 0.7 14.48 30,130

Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive

6,810 1.3 14.89 30,970

Computer Operators

130 0.7 16.03 33,340

Data Entry Keyers

1,000 1.9 13.62 28,330

Word Processors and Typists

60 0.2 16.97 35,300

Insurance Claims and Policy Processing Clerks

2,010 3.4 17.86 37,150

Mail Clerks and Mail Machine Operators, Except Postal Service

300 1.1 13.18 27,400

Office Clerks, General

8,700 1.2 13.66 28,410

Office Machine Operators, Except Computer

70 0.4 13.00 27,040

Proofreaders and Copy Markers

(5) (5) 13.25 27,570

Statistical Assistants

130 3.3 17.65 36,710

Office and Administrative Support Workers, All Other

170 0.3 15.08 31,370

Footnotes:
(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in Columbia, SC, see www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_17900.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.
(5) Estimate not released.

Last Modified Date: May 22, 2013

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