Southwest Information Office

News Release Information


Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Further information:

Occupational Employment and Wages in
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, May 2012

Workers in the New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $20.40 in May 2012, about 7 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 lower than their respective national averages in 17 of the 22 major occupational groups, including legal, protective service, and computer and mathematical. Only 4 groups had wages that were measurably higher than their respective national averages, including production workers and architechture and engineering.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 9 of the 22 occupational groups, , including food preparation and serving related, construction and extraction, and installation, maintenance, and repair. Conversely, employment shares were significantly below their national representation in nine groups, including production; computer and mathematical; 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
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2012
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States New Orleans-
United States New Orleans-

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0% $22.01 $20.40 * -7


4.9 5.0 52.20 46.75 * -10

Business and financial operations

4.9 4.1 * 33.44 29.02 * -13

Computer and mathematical

2.7 1.4 * 38.55 32.11 * -17

Architecture and engineering

1.8 2.0 37.98 41.66 * 10

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 0.6 * 32.87 30.08 * -8

Community and social service

1.4 1.2 * 21.27 18.66 * -12


0.8 1.2 * 47.39 42.42 * -10

Education, training, and library

6.4 5.3 * 24.62 22.61 * -8

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 1.6 * 26.20 22.23 * -15

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.9 6.4 * 35.35 32.08 * -9

Healthcare support

3.0 2.6 * 13.36 12.09 * -10

Protective service

2.5 3.1 * 20.70 16.96 * -18

Food preparation and serving related

8.9 10.8 * 10.28 10.08 -2

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.3 3.3 12.34 10.89 * -12

Personal care and service

2.9 2.8 11.80 10.64 * -10

Sales and related

10.6 11.6 * 18.26 16.60 * -9

Office and administrative support

16.4 15.5 * 16.54 15.55 * -6

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1 * 11.65 18.76 * 61

Construction and extraction

3.8 5.0 * 21.61 19.38 * -10

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 4.6 * 21.09 20.54 * -3


6.6 4.6 * 16.59 20.78 * 25

Transportation and material moving

6.7 7.4 * 16.15 17.60 * 9

* 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 New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner 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. New Orleans had 38,040 jobs in transportation and material moving, accounting for 7.4 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 6.7-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $17.60 compared to the national average of $16.15.

With employment of 9,750, hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers was the largest occupation within the transportation and material moving group, followed by heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (5,340) and light truck or delivery services drivers (3,680). Among the higher paying jobs were ship engineers, as well as captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels, with mean hourly wages of $42.76 and $37.51, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were cleaners of vehicles and equipment ($9.60) and parking lot attendants ($9.64). (Detailed occupational data for transportation and material moving 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 New Orleans metropolitan area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the transportation and material moving group. For instance, captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels were employed at 19.6 times the national rate in New Orleans, and sailors and marine oilers at 19.6 times the U.S. average. New Orleans’ sailors and marine oilers location quotient ranked second in the country among all metropolitan areas and the captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels employment concentration ranked third. On the other hand, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers had a location quotient of 0.9 in New Orleans, 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 Louisiana 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 New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner 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 New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area included 3,941 establishments with a response rate of 75 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 New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, and St. Tammany Parishes in Louisiana.

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, New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2012
Occupation(1) Employment Mean wages
Level(2) Location
Hourly Annual(4)

Transportation and material moving occupations

38,040 1.1 $17.60 $36,600

Aircraft cargo handling supervisors

(5) (5) 23.43 48,730

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

720 1.1 25.18 52,380

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

1,040 1.3 26.06 54,200

Commercial pilots

(5) (5) (5) 60,760

Airfield operations specialists

(5) (5) 18.73 38,960

Ambulance drivers & attendants, except emergency medical technicians

50 0.6 10.86 22,600

Bus drivers, transit and intercity

950 1.5 15.02 31,240

Bus drivers, school or special client

1,690 0.9 12.17 25,320

Driver/sales workers

1,440 0.9 11.80 24,540

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

5,340 0.9 19.71 40,990

Light truck or delivery services drivers

3,680 1.2 17.49 36,380

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

1,010 1.5 10.41 21,640

Motor vehicle operators, all other

50 0.2 17.64 36,700

Sailors and marine oilers

2,680 21.4 19.25 40,040

Captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels

2,400 19.6 37.51 78,020

Ship engineers

460 10.8 42.76 88,930

Bridge and lock tenders

140 10.1 17.65 36,710

Parking lot attendants

760 1.5 9.64 20,050

Automotive and watercraft service attendants

150 0.3 12.06 25,080

Transportation inspectors

50 0.5 32.99 68,630

Transportation workers, all other

(5) (5) 22.71 47,240

Crane and tower operators

670 3.9 23.60 49,090

Excavating and loading machine and dragline operators

150 0.8 19.57 40,710

Industrial truck and tractor operators

1,170 0.6 16.69 34,720

Cleaners of vehicles and equipment

890 0.7 9.60 19,980

Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand

9,750 1.1 12.47 25,930

Packers and packagers, hand

750 0.3 11.09 23,060

Refuse and recyclable material collectors

420 0.9 9.95 20,700

Tank car, truck, and ship loaders

430 8.8 19.56 40,680

Material moving workers, all other

220 2.0 16.94 35,240

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner 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