Mountain-Plains Information Office

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Thursday, August 23, 2012


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Occupational Employment and Wages in Fort Collins-Loveland, May 2011

Workers in the Fort Collins-Loveland Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $21.38 in May 2011, about 2 percent below the nationwide average of $21.74, 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 2 of the 22 major occupational groups: architecture and engineering; and installation, maintenance, and repair. Nine groups had significantly lower wages than their respective national averages, including legal, sales and related, and business and financial operations.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 7 of the 22 occupational groups, including architecture and engineering, sales and related, and food preparation and serving related. Conversely, eight groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including transportation and material moving, office and administrative support, and production. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Fort Collins-Loveland Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2011
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Fort Collins United States Fort Collins Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0% $21.74 $21.38 -2


4.8 4.1* 51.64 49.27* -5

Business and financial operations

4.8 4.4* 33.05 30.43* -8

Computer and mathematical

2.7 3.3* 37.85 36.06 -5

Architecture and engineering

1.8 3.6* 37.08 39.33* 6

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 2.0* 32.44 30.11* -7

Community and social services

1.5 1.5 21.07 19.70* -7


0.8 0.5* 47.30 36.21* -23

Education, training, and library

6.6 7.1* 24.46 (2)

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 1.3 25.89 24.27 -6

Healthcare practitioner and technical

5.9 6.4 34.97 33.27 -5

Healthcare support

3.1 2.9 13.16 13.45 2

Protective service

2.5 2.0* 20.54 20.89 2

Food preparation and serving related

8.7 10.4* 10.30 10.00* -3

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.3 3.5 12.29 12.35 0

Personal care and service

2.8 2.5 11.84 12.29 4

Sales and related

10.6 12.3* 18.04 16.28* -10

Office and administrative support

16.7 15.0* 16.40 15.87* -3

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1* 11.68 (2)

Construction and extraction

3.9 4.4* 21.46 20.98 -2

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 3.6 20.86 21.73* 4


6.5 5.3* 16.45 17.08 4

Transportation and material moving

6.7 3.8* 15.96 14.90* -7

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Fort Collins is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.
(2) Estimate not released

* 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.

One occupational group—architecture and engineering—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Fort Collins-Loveland had 4,610 jobs in architecture and engineering, accounting for 3.6 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 1.8-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $39.33, measurably above the national wage of $37.08.

With employment of 600, computer hardware engineers represented one of the largest occupations within the architecture and engineering group. Among the higher paying jobs were electronics engineers (except computer) and computer hardware engineers, with mean hourly wages of $55.63 and $49.41, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were surveying and mapping technicians ($17.06) and civil engineering technicians ($18.90). (Detailed occupational data for architecture and engineering are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available 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 Fort Collins-Loveland Metropolitan Statistical Area, above average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the architecture and engineering group. For instance, computer hardware engineers were employed at 8.4 times the national rate in Fort Collins. On the other hand, industrial engineers had a location quotient of 1.0 in Fort Collins, 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 Colorado Department of Labor & Employment. The OES survey provides estimates of employment and hourly and annual wages for wage and salary workers in 22 major occupational groups and nearly 800 detailed occupations for the nation, states, metropolitan statistical areas, metropolitan divisions, and nonmetropolitan areas.

OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Fort Collins 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 also are surveyed, but their data are not included in this release. OES estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.2 million establishments. Forms are mailed to approximately 200,000 establishments in May and November of each year for a 3-year period. The nationwide response rate for the May 2011 survey was 77.3 percent based on establishments and 73.3 percent based on employment. May 2011 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2011, November 2010, May 2010, November 2009, May 2009, and November 2008. The sample in the Fort Collins-Loveland Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,804 establishments with a response rate of 77 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

The May 2011 OES estimates mark the first set of estimates based in part on data collected using the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. Nearly all the occupations in this release are 2010 SOC occupations; however, some are not. The May 2012 OES data will reflect the full set of detailed occupations in the 2010 SOC. For a list of all occupations, including 2010 SOC occupations, and how data collected on two structures were combined, see the OES Frequently Asked Questions online at

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 Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Larimer County.

Additional information

OES data are available on our regional web page at If you have additional questions, contact the Mountain-Plains Economic Analysis and Information Unit at (816) 285-7000. Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; TDD message referral phone number: 1 (800) 877-8339.

Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Fort Collins-Loveland Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2011
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual(4)

Architecture and Engineering Occupations

4,610 2.0 $39.33 $81,810

Architects, Except Landscape and Naval

150 1.9 38.40 79,870


90 2.2 24.36 50,660

Civil Engineers

430 1.7 35.98 74,840

Computer Hardware Engineers

600 8.4 49.41 102,760

Electrical Engineers

230 1.5 40.34 83,910

Electronics Engineers, Except Computer

810 6.0 55.63 115,720

Environmental Engineers

200 4.1 40.78 84,820

Industrial Engineers

210 1.0 39.26 81,660

Mechanical Engineers

430 1.8 42.91 89,260

Engineers, All Other

110 0.9 48.10 100,050

Architectural and Civil Drafters

150 1.7 22.78 47,380

Electrical and Electronics Drafters

80 2.9 24.31 50,570

Mechanical Drafters

60 0.9 27.18 56,530

Civil Engineering Technicians

110 1.6 18.90 39,310

Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians

290 2.0 31.32 65,150

Environmental Engineering Technicians

(5) (5) 19.92 41,430

Industrial Engineering Technicians

50 0.8 30.36 63,160

Engineering Technicians, Except Drafters, All Other

30 0.5 22.29 46,360

Surveying and Mapping Technicians

260 5.4 17.06 35,480

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in Fort Collins-Loveland, 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 released.

Last Modified Date: July 24, 2013