Southwest Information Office

News Release Information


Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Further information:

Occupational Employment and Wages in Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, May 2012

Workers in the Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $19.15 in May 2012, about 13 percent below the nationwide average of $22.01, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Stanley W. Suchman noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were significantly higher than their respective national averages in 3 of the 22 major occupational groups, including transportation and material moving, as well as production. Fifteen groups had significantly lower wages including computer and mathematical, business and financial operations, and sales and related.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 4 of the 22 occupational groups, including construction and extraction; installation, maintenance, and repair; and production. Conversely, 17 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including computer and mathematical; business and financial operations; and education, training, and library. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2012
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux United States Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux Percent

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0% $22.01 $19.15 * -13


4.9 3.6 * 52.20 41.87 * -20

Business and financial operations

4.9 2.6 * 33.44 27.36 * -18

Computer and mathematical

2.7 0.5 * 38.55 29.07 * -25

Architecture and engineering

1.8 1.2 * 37.98 30.41 * -20

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 0.4 * 32.87 33.46 2

Community and social service

1.4 1.7 21.27 17.57 * -17


0.8 0.2 * 47.39 33.75 -29

Education, training, and library

6.4 4.2 * 24.62 20.25 * -18

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 0.5 * 26.20 30.30 16

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.9 5.0 * 35.35 28.62 * -19

Healthcare support

3.0 1.8 * 13.36 11.32 * -15

Protective service

2.5 1.7 * 20.70 17.09 * -17

Food preparation and serving related

8.9 8.1 * 10.28 9.96 -3

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.3 2.6 * 12.34 9.96 * -19

Personal care and service

2.9 1.6 * 11.80 9.51 * -19

Sales and related

10.6 9.8 * 18.26 14.16 * -22

Office and administrative support

16.4 14.2 * 16.54 13.85 * -16

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1 * 11.65 14.37 * 23

Construction and extraction

3.8 7.8 * 21.61 20.31 * -6

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 6.8 * 21.09 19.10 * -9


6.6 10.3 * 16.59 19.14 * 15

Transportation and material moving

6.7 15.4 * 16.15 22.96 * 42

* 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. (1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.

One occupational group–transportation and material moving–was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Houma had 14,220 jobs in transportation and material moving, accounting for 15.4 percent of local area employment, more than double the 6.7-percent national share. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $22.96, 42 percent above the national wage of $16.15.

With employment of 3,610, captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels was the largest occupation within the transportation and material moving group, followed by hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers (2,650) and sailors and marine oilers (1,930). Interestingly, the Houma area had the largest number of captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels in the entire country, followed by New Orleans. This occupation was also among the higher paying jobs at $37.22 per hour, followed by ship engineers at $36.04. At the lower end of the wage scale were hand packers and packagers ($9.64) and hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers ($12.04). (Detailed occupational data for construction and extraction are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations go to

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 Houma metropolitan area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the transportation and material moving group. For instance, sailors and marine oilers were employed at 86.1 times the national rate in Houma, and captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels, at more than 160 times the U.S. average, the highest location quotient for this occupation in any U.S. metropolitan area. On the other hand, light truck or delivery services drivers had a location quotient of 1.2 in Houma, 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 Lousiana Workforce Commission.

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

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

OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux 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 Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,362 establishments with a response rate of 74 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

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 Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes in Lousiana.

Additional information

OES data are available on our regional web page at Answers to frequently asked questions about the OES data are available at Detailed technical information about the OES survey is available in our Survey Methods and Reliability Statement on the
BLS website at 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, Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2012
Occupation(1) Employment Mean wages
Level(2) Location quotient(3) Hourly Annual(4)

Transportation and material moving occupations

14,220 2.3 $22.96 $47,750

First-line supervisors of helpers, laborers, and material movers, hand

140 1.2 25.22 52,450

First-line supervisors of transportation and material-moving machine and vehicle operators

390 2.8 25.68 53,420

Commercial pilots

220 8.7 (5) 81,720

Driver/sales workers

140 0.5 14.25 29,630

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

1,390 1.2 17.74 36,910

Light truck or delivery services drivers

630 1.2 15.84 32,950

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

100 0.8 10.44 21,710

Sailors and marine oilers

1,930 86.1 19.52 40,600

Captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels

3,610 164.6 37.22 77,430

Ship engineers

690 89.9 36.04 74,970

Automotive and watercraft service attendants

70 0.9 9.13 18,990

Crane and tower operators

460 15.0 22.53 46,870

Excavating and loading machine and dragline operators

80 2.5 23.12 48,080

Industrial truck and tractor operators

210 0.6 16.50 34,320

Cleaners of vehicles and equipment

200 0.9 12.59 26,190

Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand

2,650 1.7 12.04 25,050

Packers and packagers, hand

290 0.6 9.64 20,060

Pump operators, except wellhead pumpers

130 14.8 22.04 45,850

Refuse and recyclable material collectors

30 0.4 17.74 36,890

Tank car, truck, and ship loaders

150 16.5 22.51 46,820

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux MSA, see
(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 available.

Last Modified Date: June 26, 2013