Chart book: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2006

This chart book, Occupational Employment and Wages, 2006, includes graphs, maps, tables, and text describing the U.S. occupational workforce in May 2006. It contains Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) employment and wage data for occupations employed in different industries, States, and metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The material cited below is drawn from this chart book.

  • Charts, Maps, and Tables

  • Preface

  • Acknowledgements

  • Organization of charts and applications of OES data

  • OES survey coverage, scope, and concept definitons

  • Charts, Maps, and Tables

    Occupational Employment and Wages, 2006 chart book (complete book as PDF) 4 MB

    Page-by-page breakout:

    • Cover, Preface, Acknowledgements, and Contents (PDF)
    • Organization of charts and applications of OES data (PDF)
    • OES survey coverage, scope, and concept definitions (PDF)

      Occupation focus

    • Figure 1. Largest occupations in the United States, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 2. Smallest occupations in the United States, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 3. Largest occupations earning wages near the U.S. median, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 4. Wages for occupations with high fatality rates, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 5. Occupations with different wage variation, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 6. Occupations with a similar mean wage, but a different wage potential, May 2006 (PDF)

      Occupations within industries

    • Figure 7. Industries with the highest employment of environmental occupations and their annual wages, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 8. Profile for registered nurses (RNs), May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 9. Career choices of drivers in the United States, May 2006 (PDF)

      Industry focus

    • Figure 10. Largest occupations in nonstore retailers and their mean wages, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 11. Largest occupations in general merchandise stores and their mean wages, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 12. Wages for selected occupational groups in the health care and social assistance and manufacturing sectors, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 13. Employment changes in the oil and gas extraction industry, 2003-2006 (PDF)

      State focus

    • Figure 14. A look at Pennsylvania's occupational workforce, in percent, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 15. Selected occupations in Pennsylvania, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 16. Share of State employment in computer and mathematical occupations, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 17. Annual mean wage for computer and mathematical occupations, by State, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 18. States that employed the most and fewest selected service occupations per capita, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 19. Wages and percent of employment by selected State and occupational group, May 2006 (PDF)

      Area focus

    • Figure 20. Share of employment of elementary school teachers in California, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 21. Average mean wages for elementary school teachers in California, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 22. Percentage of employment of architecture and engineering occupations by area, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 23. Employment of architecture and engineering occupations by area, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 24. Metropolitan areas with the highest concentrations of fast food cooks and fitness trainers and aerobics instructors, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 25. Metropolitan areas and divisions with the highest concentration of selected arts, entertainment, and sports occupations, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 26. Occupational employment and wages in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas in Texas, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Figure 27. Occupations most likely found in nonmetropolitan areas, May 2006 (PDF)
    • Link to the OES website and electronic version of the chart book (PDF)


    This chart book, Occupational Employment and Wages, 2006, is a product of the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The OES program produces employment and wage estimates for more than 800 occupations by geographic area and industry.

    For every occupation, the OES program has data on the total U.S. employment and the distribution of wages, including the mean wage and the 10th, 25th, 50th (median), 75th, and 90th percentiles. Occupational data for geographic areas include employment and wages for each of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Local area data for each occupation is available for 375 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), 34 metropolitan divisions within 11 of the largest MSAs, and 170 nonmetropolitan areas. National industry-specific estimates are available by industry sector and for 290 detailed industries.

    The OES survey is a cooperative effort between BLS and the State workforce agencies. Employment and wage data for more than 800 occupations were collected from a sample of 1.2 million business establishments, employing more than 80 million workers, in 6 semiannual panels between November 2003 and May 2006. Wage data for all establishments were updated to the May 2006 reference period, and employment data were updated to the average of the November 2005 and the May 2006 reference periods. Information on OES sampling and estimation methodology is provided in the technical note that is included in appendix B and on the OES Web site,

    The OES Web site includes electronic copies of all charts in this book, files with data for all occupations in all industries, and files for all States and metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. Tables that were published in printed form in previous years are available in electronic form on the Web site cited at the end of this publication. These tables include national cross-industry employment and wage data for all occupations; the largest occupations in over 300 industries; and profiles for all occupations.

    Material in this publication is in the public domain and, with appropriate citation, may be reproduced without permission. Questions about OES data can be directed to the information phone line at (202) 691-6569 or sent to OES information.


    The information provided in this chart book is possible due to the cooperation of more than a million business establishments that provide information on their workers to their State workforce agency and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). State workforce agencies within each State collect and verify almost all data provided. BLS selects the sample, produces the estimates, and provides technical procedures and financial support to the States. BLS also collects a small portion of the data from employers.

    BLS produced this chart book under the general guidance and direction of Dixie Sommers, Assistant Commissioner for Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, and George D. Stamas, Chief, Division of Occupational Employment Statistics. Laurie Salmon, manager of Publications and Analysis in Occupational Employment Statistics, provided planning and day-to-day direction. Dina Itkin coordinated the production of the chart book. The tables, charts, and maps were prepared by Benjamin Cover, Jeffrey Holt, Dina Itkin, John Jones, Rebecca Keller, Michael Soloy, Zachary Warren, and Audrey Watson. Cover art, typesetting, and layout were furnished by Keith Tapscott, and editorial services were provided by Monica Gabor of the Office of Publications and Special Studies, Division of Publishing, William Parks II, Chief.

    Organization of charts and applications of OES data

    This chart book's presentation of charts, tables, and maps is intended to demonstrate a variety of applications of OES data. The charts are organized into five categories: The first with a focus on detailed occupations, the second highlighting labor patterns of specific industries, the third and fourth focusing on labor markets of States and local areas, and the fifth illustrating unique applications of OES data. Here are some examples of useful applications of OES data:

      Detailed occupational data can be used by job seekers or employers, for instance, to show wages for workers in certain occupations and to assess wage variation within and across occupations. Variation in wages within an occupation can result from a variety of factors, including industry, geographic location, or a worker's particular experience or qualifications. Useful data for job seekers include information on the industries or geographic areas that have the most jobs in an occupation or the highest average wages for the occupation. Total employment might serve as an indication of the ease of finding a job in the occupation.

      Industry-specific occupational data can be used by human resource professionals in salary negotiations or to remain competitive by ensuring that their wages are in line with other businesses in their area and industry. Information on the types of jobs within an industry could be used to compare average staffing patterns with that of one's own company. Occupational employment by industry may be useful in assessing the impact of shifts in technology and other macroeconomic trends. For example, for several years, healthcare industries have accounted for a significant portion of job growth, while manufacturing industries have declined. OES data can be used to see the types of jobs being created or disappearing from the economy due to changes in these industries.

      Geographic area information can be used to assess the job demand in a particular area. OES State level data can be used to make assessments about the diversity of a State's economy, or to make comparisons among States. The composition of the workforce can provide clues to how a State or regional economy can hold up in adverse conditions that affect a certain sector of the economy. The composition of the workforce is also an indicator of the average wages within a State.

      Like State data, local area data can be used to study the diversity of a local area economy. Businesses can use data to see whether it might be beneficial to relocate to a particular area. OES provides information on the workforce, including whether there are workers available in the occupations that the business will need. For instance, some areas have higher levels of high-tech or skilled production workers. Businesses may also use the data to compare wages between alternative areas.

    OES survey coverage, scope, and concept definitons

    The OES survey covers all full- and part-time wage and salary workers in nonfarm industries. The survey does not include the self-employed, owners and partners in unincorporated firms, workers in private households, or unpaid family workers.

    An occupation is a set of activities or tasks that employees are paid to perform. Employees that perform essentially the same tasks are in the same occupation, whether or not they are in the same industry. Workers that may be classified in more than one occupation should be classified in the occupation that requires the highest level of skill. If there is no measurable difference in skill requirements, workers are included in the occupation they spend the most time. All occupations are classified by the 2000 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system.

    An industry is a group of establishments that produce similar products or provide similar services. For example, all establishments that manufacture automobiles are in the same industry. A given industry, or even a particular establishment in that industry, might have employees in many different occupations. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) groups similar establishments into industries.

    The employment shown is the average employment for the most recent May and November. Employment is defined as the number of workers who can be classified as full- or part-time employees, including workers on paid vacations or other types of paid leave; workers on unpaid short-term absences; salaried officers, executives, and staff members of incorporated firms; employees temporarily assigned to other units; and employees for whom the reporting unit is their permanent duty station, regardless of whether that unit prepares their paycheck.

    Wages for the OES survey are straight-time, gross pay, exclusive of premium pay. Included are base rate, cost-of-living allowances, guaranteed pay, hazardous-duty pay, incentive pay including commissions and production bonuses, tips, and on-call pay. Excluded are back pay, jury duty pay, overtime pay, severance pay, shift differentials, non-production bonuses, employer cost for supplementary benefits, and tuition reimbursements.

    Respondents are asked to report the number of employees paid within specific wage intervals, regardless of part- or full-time status. The responding establishment can reference either the hourly or the annual rate for full-time workers but are instructed to report the hourly rate for part-time workers. Intervals are defined both as hourly rates and the corresponding annual rates, where the annual rate for an occupation is calculated by multiplying the hourly wage rate by a typical work year of 2,080 hours.

    Geographic areas are defined by the Office of Management and Budget. Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are also surveyed, but their data are not included in this publication. (The OES Web site includes data for these U.S. territories.) The nationwide response rate for the May 2006 survey was 78.1 percent, based on establishments and 73.4 percent, based on employment. More information on sampling and estimation methodology can be found in the technical note (appendix B) at


    Last Modified Date: June 3, 2008