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News Release Information

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

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Occupational Employment and Wages in Washington-Arlington-Alexandria – May 2021

Workers in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $38.69 in May 2021, 38-percent above the nationwide average of $28.01, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were higher than their respective national averages in all of the 22 major occupational groups.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Washington area employment was more highly concentrated in 10 of the 22 occupational groups, including business and financial operations, computer and mathematical, and management. Eleven groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including production, transportation and material moving, and office and administrative support. (See table A.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Washington metropolitan area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2021
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Washington United States Washington Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0 100.0 $28.01 $38.69* 38


6.3 9.1* 59.31 73.39* 24

Business and financial operations

6.4 12.3* 39.72 48.45* 22

Computer and mathematical

3.3 7.9* 48.01 56.60* 18

Architecture and engineering

1.7 2.0* 44.10 54.25* 23

Life, physical, and social science

0.9 2.1* 38.81 53.41* 38

Community and social service

1.6 1.4* 25.94 31.61* 22


0.8 2.2* 54.38 75.51* 39

Educational instruction and library

5.8 6.1* 29.88 35.42* 19

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 2.3* 31.78 42.52* 34

Healthcare practitioners and technical

6.2 5.1* 43.80 52.13* 19

Healthcare support

4.7 3.0* 16.02 17.75* 11

Protective service

2.4 3.0* 25.68 30.82* 20

Food preparation and serving related

8.0 6.7* 14.16 16.36* 16

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

2.9 3.0* 16.23 17.70* 9

Personal care and service

1.8 1.9 16.17 18.37* 14

Sales and related

9.4 7.6* 22.15 25.49* 15

Office and administrative support

13.0 10.6* 20.88 24.37* 17

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1* 16.70 19.28* 15

Construction and extraction

4.2 3.7* 26.87 27.95* 4

Installation, maintenance, and repair

4.0 3.0* 25.66 29.41* 15


6.0 1.5* 20.71 23.80* 15

Transportation and material moving

9.0 5.3* 19.88 22.81* 15

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 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—business and financial—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Washington had 360,640 jobs in business and financial operation, accounting for 12.3 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 6.4-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $48.45, significantly above the national wage of $39.72.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the business and financial operations group included management analysts (64,320), and accountants and auditors (41,850). Among the higher-paying jobs in this group were personal financial advisors and agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes, with mean hourly wages of $66.95 and $63.36, respectively. (See chart 1.) At the lower end of the wage scale were tax preparers ($26.25) and credit counselors ($28.72). (Detailed data for the business and financial operations occupations 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 Washington area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in some of the occupations within the business and financial operations group. For instance, management analysts were employed at 4.0 times the national rate in Washington, and meeting, convention, and event planners, at 2.2 times the U.S. average. Loan officers had a location quotient of 0.9 in Washington, indicating that this particular occupation’s local and national employment shares were similar.

These statistics are from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, a federal-state cooperative program between BLS and State Workforce Agencies, in this case, the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services, the Virginia Employment Commission, the Maryland Department of Labor, and Workforce West Virginia.

Changes to the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) Data

With the May 2021 estimates release, the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program has implemented a new model-based (MB3) estimation method. For more information, see the May 2021 Survey Methods and Reliability Statement at and the Monthly Labor Review article at OEWS estimates for the years 2015-19 were recalculated using the new estimation method and are available as research estimates at

The May 2021 OEWS estimates are also the first estimates based entirely on survey data collected using the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. To improve data quality, the OEWS program aggregates some occupations to the SOC broad occupation level or as OEWS-specific combinations of 2018 SOC detailed occupations.

Technical Note

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey is a semiannual survey measuring occupational employment and wage rates for wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments in the United States. The OEWS 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. OEWS data are available at

The OEWS survey is a cooperative effort between BLS and the 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. OEWS estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.1 million establishments. Each year, two semiannual panels of approximately 179,000 to 187,000 sampled establishments are contacted, one panel in May and the other in November. Responses are obtained by Internet or other electronic means, mail, email, telephone, or personal visit. The May 2021 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2021, November 2020, May 2020, November 2019, May 2019, and November 2018. The unweighted sampled employment of 82 million across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 62 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 67.2 percent based on establishments and 64.5 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The sample in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area included 14,129 establishments with a response rate of 64 percent. For more information about OEWS 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 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.

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 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area includes District of Columbia, DC; Calvert County, MD; Charles County, MD; Frederick County, MD; Montgomery County, MD; Prince George's County, MD; Alexandria city, VA; Arlington County, VA; Clarke County, VA; Culpeper County, VA; Fairfax city, VA; Fairfax County, VA; Falls Church city, VA; Fauquier County, VA; Fredericksburg city, VA; Loudoun County, VA; Manassas city, VA; Manassas Park city, VA; Prince William County, VA; Rappahannock County, VA; Spotsylvania County, VA; Stafford County, VA; Warren County, VA; and Jefferson County, WV

For more information

Answers to frequently asked questions about the OEWS data are available at Detailed information about the OEWS program is available at

Information in this release will be made available to individuals with sensory impairments upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Telecommunications Relay Service: 7-1-1.

Table 1. Employment and wage data for business and financial operations occupations, Washington metropolitan area, May 2021
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Business and financial operations occupations

360,640 1.9 $48.45 $100,780

Agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes

140 0.6 63.36 131,780

Buyers and purchasing agents

16,250 1.8 43.21 89,880

Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators

2,770 0.5 37.46 77,910

Insurance appraisers, auto damage

230 1.0 35.53 73,900

Compliance officers

12,720 1.8 44.87 93,340

Cost estimators

4,280 1.0 40.10 83,400

Human resources specialists

26,510 1.7 43.94 91,400

Labor relations specialists

800 0.6 46.27 96,240


6,400 1.6 46.86 97,470

Project management specialists

29,870 1.9 55.07 114,540

Management analysts

64,320 4.0 54.53 113,420

Meeting, convention, and event planners

4,430 2.2 33.19 69,020


3,840 2.3 35.77 74,410

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists

2,140 1.2 41.09 85,460

Training and development specialists

9,500 1.4 37.70 78,410

Market research analysts and marketing specialists

20,060 1.3 41.56 86,440

Business operations specialists, all other

71,350 3.3 49.08 102,090

Accountants and auditors

41,850 1.5 47.91 99,640

Property appraisers and assessors

830 0.7 40.74 84,750

Budget analysts

4,380 4.4 51.14 106,380

Credit analysts

1,050 0.7 44.89 93,370

Financial and investment analysts

11,440 1.9 52.74 109,700

Personal financial advisors

4,740 0.9 66.95 139,260

Insurance underwriters

2,330 1.0 35.44 73,710

Financial risk specialists

1,510 1.3 55.15 114,710

Financial examiners

1,460 1.2 60.38 125,590

Credit counselors

720 1.1 28.72 59,730

Loan officers

6,250 0.9 47.84 99,500

Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents

620 0.6 40.13 83,460

Tax preparers

1,720 1.0 26.25 54,590

Financial specialists, all other

6,140 2.4 51.33 106,770

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area, see
(2) Estimates for detailed occupations may not sum to the totals due to rounding, and because the totals may include occupations that are 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.


Last Modified Date: Tuesday, August 30, 2022