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News Release Information

Wednesday, June 26, 2019


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Occupational Employment and Wages in Roanoke – May 2018

Workers in the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $21.24 in May 2018, 15 percent below the nationwide average of $24.98, 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 lower than their respective national averages in 20 of the 22 major occupational groups, including legal; construction and extraction; and arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment shares were significantly higher in 8 of the 22 occupational groups, including health care practitioners and technical and production. Conversely, 9 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation including management, computer and mathematical, and personal care and service. (See Table A and box note at end of release.)

 Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2018
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Roanoke United States Roanoke Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100 100 $24.98 $21.24 * -15


5.3 3.2 * 58.44 51.06 * -13

Business and financial operations

5.3 5.1 36.98 31.42 * -15

Computer and mathematical

3.0 1.5 * 44.01 36.94 * -16

Architecture and engineering

1.8 1.3 * 42.01 34.70 * -17

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 0.5 * 36.62 31.96 * -13

Community and social service

1.5 1.7 * 23.69 21.85 * -8


0.8 0.7 * 52.25 35.19 * -33

Education, training, and library

6.1 5.4 27.22 21.73 * -20

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 0.9 * 28.74 22.65 * -21

Healthcare practitioners and technical

6.0 8.2 * 39.42 38.89 -1

Healthcare support

2.8 3.3 * 15.57 14.87 * -4

Protective service

2.4 3.1 * 23.36 18.39 * -21

Food preparation and serving related

9.2 8.6 * 12.30 10.52 * -14

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.1 2.9 14.43 12.16 * -16

Personal care and service

3.8 2.9 * 13.51 12.13 * -10

Sales and related

10.0 9.8 20.09 18.84 * -6

Office and administrative support

15.1 16.2 * 18.75 16.83 * -10

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1 * 14.49 14.93 3

Construction and extraction

4.1 4.3 24.62 18.76 * -24

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 4.4 * 23.54 21.13 * -10


6.3 7.8 * 18.84 17.19 * -9

Transportation and material moving

7.1 8.2 * 18.41 16.65 * -10

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.
* The mean hourly wage or percent share of employment is significantly different from the national average of all areas at the 90-percent confidence level.

One occupational group—office and administrative support—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Roanoke had 24,880 jobs in the office and administrative support occupations, accounting for 16.2 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 15.1-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $16.83, significantly lower than the national average of $18.75.

Customer service representatives and general office clerks were among the largest occupations within the office and administrative support group, with employment of 3,670 and 3,200, respectively. Among the higher-paying jobs in this group were first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers with a mean hourly wage of $25.76 and postal service mail carriers with a wage of $24.90. At the lower end of the wage scale were hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks ($9.79) and stock clerks and order fillers ($12.38). (Detailed occupational data for office and administrative support are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupaions 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 as it does nationally. In the Roanoke area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in several of the occupations within the office and administrative support group. For instance, loan interviewers and clerks were employed at 1.8 times the national rate in Roanoke, and postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators at 2.4 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, general office clerks had a location quotient of 1.0 in Roanoke, 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 Virginia Employment Commission.

Area Changes to the May 2018 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

OES continues to publish data for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas that cover the full geography of the United States. However, the level of detail available has decreased.

OES no longer publishes data for metropolitan divisions. Data for the 11 large metropolitan areas that contain divisions are now available at the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) or New England City and Town Area (NECTA) level only.

In addition, some smaller nonmetropolitan areas have been combined to form larger nonmetropolitan areas. The May 2018 OES estimates contain data for 134 nonmetropolitan areas, compared with 167 nonmetropolitan areas in the May 2017 estimates.

More information on these changes is available at

Implementing the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) System

The OES program plans to begin implementing the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system with the May 2019 estimates, to be released by early April of 2020. Because each set of OES estimates is produced by combining three years of survey data, estimates for May 2019 and May 2020 will be based on a combination of survey data collected under the 2010 SOC and data collected under the 2018 SOC, and will use a hybrid of the two classification systems. The May 2021 OES estimates, to be released by early April of 2022, will be the first set of estimates based fully on the 2018 SOC. For more information, please see

Technical Note

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey is a semiannual survey measuring occupational employment and wage rates for wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments in the United States. The OES data available from BLS include cross-industry occupational employment and wage estimates for the nation; over 580 areas, including states and the District of Columbia, metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), nonmetropolitan areas, and territories; national industry-specific estimates at the NAICS sector, 3-digit, most 4-digit, and selected 5- and 6-digit industry levels; and national estimates by ownership across all industries and for schools and hospitals. OES data are available at

The OES survey is a cooperative effort between BLS and State Workforce Agencies (SWAs). BLS funds the survey and provides the procedures and technical support, while the State Workforce Agencies collect most of the data. OES estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.2 million establishments. Each year, two semiannual panels of approximately 180,000 to 200,000 sampled establishments are contacted, one panel in May and the other in November. Responses are obtained by mail, Internet or other electronic means, email, telephone, or personal visit. The May 2018 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2018, November 2017, May 2017, November 2016, May 2016, and November 2015. The unweighted sample employment of 83 million across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 58 percent of total national employment. The overall national response rate for the six panels, based on the 50 states and the District of Columbia, is 71 percent based on establishments and 68 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The sample in the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,726 establishments with a response rate of 73 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

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 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.

The May 2018 OES estimates are based on the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system and the 2017 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Information about the 2010 SOC is available on the BLS website at and information about the 2017 NAICS is available at

Metropolitan 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 Roanoke, VA Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Botetourt, Craig, Franklin, and Roanoke Counties and Roanoke and Salem Cities in Virginia.

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: (800) 877-8339.

Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2018
Occupation (1) Employment (2) Mean wage
Level Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Office and administrative support occupations

24,880 1.1 $16.83 $35,000

First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers

1,700 1.1 25.76 53,570

Switchboard operators, including answering service

40 0.5 13.25 27,560

Bill and account collectors

130 0.5 17.21 35,800

Billing and posting clerks

490 1.0 17.31 36,000

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

1,790 1.1 17.46 36,310

Payroll and timekeeping clerks

250 1.6 19.40 40,340

Procurement clerks

120 1.6 17.01 35,380


690 1.4 14.60 30,370

Brokerage clerks

(5) (5) 22.23 46,240

Court, municipal, and license clerks

130 0.9 23.60 49,080

Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks

40 1.4 16.16 33,600

Customer service representatives

3,670 1.2 16.03 33,350

Eligibility interviewers, government programs

230 1.5 18.87 39,250

File clerks

70 0.6 12.95 26,930

Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks

250 0.9 9.79 20,370

Interviewers, except eligibility and loan

310 1.5 15.13 31,460

Library assistants, clerical

60 0.7 12.37 25,740

Loan interviewers and clerks

420 1.8 18.75 38,990

New accounts clerks

50 1.2 16.74 34,810

Order clerks

130 0.8 14.58 30,320

Human resources assistants, except payroll and timekeeping

180 1.3 16.72 34,770

Receptionists and information clerks

1,380 1.3 12.63 26,280

Information and record clerks, all other

180 1.1 21.36 44,420

Couriers and messengers

60 0.8 13.64 28,360

Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers

110 1.1 17.98 37,410

Dispatchers, except police, fire, and ambulance

230 1.1 23.85 49,600

Meter readers, utilities

30 0.9 11.89 24,730

Postal service clerks

70 0.9 24.64 51,250

Postal service mail carriers

370 1.0 24.90 51,790

Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators

260 2.4 23.99 49,890

Production, planning, and expediting clerks

340 0.9 21.99 45,730

Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks

630 0.9 16.06 33,400

Stock clerks and order fillers

3,190 1.5 12.38 25,740

Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, recordkeeping

60 0.9 16.50 34,310

Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants

290 0.5 27.38 56,950

Legal secretaries

(5) (5) 21.85 45,450

Medical secretaries

320 0.5 16.90 35,140

Secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive

2,020 0.9 16.32 33,940

Data entry keyers

140 0.8 14.45 30,060

Insurance claims and policy processing clerks

480 1.6 19.74 41,050

Mail clerks and mail machine operators, except postal service

200 2.2 11.66 24,250

Office clerks, general

3,200 1.0 15.34 31,910

Office machine operators, except computer

50 1.0 15.90 33,080

Office and administrative support workers, all other

130 0.6 18.90 39,310

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Roanoke 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) Estimates not available.


Last Modified Date: Wednesday, June 26, 2019