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News Release Information

Thursday, June 27, 2019

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  • (404) 893-4220

Occupational Employment and Wages in Birmingham-Hoover — May 2018

Workers in the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $22.83 in May 2018, about 9 percent below the nationwide average of $24.98, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Janet S. Rankin noted that, after testing for statistical significance, 19 of the 22 major occupational groups had average wages in the local area that were significantly lower than their respective national averages, including legal; arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; and personal care and service.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 6 of the 22 occupational groups, including healthcare practitioners and technical; sales and related; and office and administrative support. Conversely, 12 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including education, training, and library; personal care and service; and management. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

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

Total, all occupations

100.0 100.0 $24.98 $22.83* -9


5.3 4.5* 58.44 56.49* -3

Business and financial operations

5.3 4.7* 36.98 34.34* -7

Computer and mathematical

3.0 2.4* 44.01 38.58* -12

Architecture and engineering

1.8 1.6* 42.01 38.48* -8

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 0.4* 36.62 30.34* -17

Community and social service

1.5 0.9* 23.69 21.98* -7


0.8 0.8 52.25 43.82* -16

Education, training, and library

6.1 4.8* 27.22 26.39 -3

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 1.1* 28.74 24.57* -15

Healthcare practitioners and technical

6.0 8.4* 39.42 33.41* -15

Healthcare support

2.8 2.8 15.57 13.88* -11

Protective service

2.4 2.7* 23.36 19.20* -18

Food preparation and serving related

9.2 8.9* 12.30 10.85* -12

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.1 2.7* 14.43 12.82* -11

Personal care and service

3.8 2.6* 13.51 11.60* -14

Sales and related

10.0 11.7* 20.09 19.74 -2

Office and administrative support

15.1 16.1* 18.75 17.86* -5

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.1* 14.49 16.86 16

Construction and extraction

4.1 4.3 24.62 21.73* -12

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 4.7* 23.54 22.80* -3


6.3 6.7* 18.84 17.73* -6

Transportation and material moving

7.1 7.2 18.41 16.75* -9

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in the Birmingham-Hoover 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—healthcare practitioners and technical—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Birmingham-Hoover had 42,910 jobs in healthcare practitioners and technical, accounting for 8.4 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 6.0-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $33.41, significantly below the national wage of $39.42.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the healthcare practitioners and technical group included registered nurses (17,270); licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (2,870); and pharmacy technicians (2,050). Among the higher-paying jobs in this group were general dentists, and family and general practitioners, with mean hourly wages of $97.57 and $94.82, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were psychiatric technicians ($13.46) and pharmacy technicians ($14.23). (Detailed data for healthcare practitioners and technical 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 Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the healthcare practitioners and technical group. For instance, psychiatric technicians were employed at 2.2 times the national rate in Birmingham, and nurse practitioners, at 1.9 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, speech-language pathologists had a location quotient of 1.0 in Birmingham, 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 Alabama Department of Labor.

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 area 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 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. 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 Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area included 3,421 establishments with a response rate of 71 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 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.

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 Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair, and Walker Counties.

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, Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2018
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations

42,910 1.4 $33.41 $69,490


60 0.5 30.79 64,050

Dentists, general

340 0.9 97.57 202,950

Dietitians and nutritionists

270 1.2 25.08 52,170


(5) (5) 54.09 112,510


1,530 1.4 58.16 120,970

Family and general practitioners

290 0.7 94.82 197,220

Obstetricians and gynecologists

(5) (5) (6) (6)

Pediatricians, general

150 1.5 86.95 180,850


30 0.4 102.50 213,200


280 2.3 (6) (6)

Physicians and surgeons, all other

2,190 1.6 (5) (5)

Physician assistants

390 1.0 46.47 96,660

Occupational therapists

420 0.9 41.29 85,870

Physical therapists

1,030 1.3 42.69 88,790

Radiation therapists

150 2.3 36.22 75,330

Recreational therapists

40 0.6 21.94 45,630

Respiratory therapists

760 1.7 24.85 51,690

Speech-language pathologists

520 1.0 35.17 73,160


270 1.1 51.79 107,720

Registered nurses

17,270 1.7 29.77 61,920

Nurse anesthetists

330 2.1 77.67 161,560

Nurse practitioners

1,220 1.9 47.42 98,620


40 0.9 35.32 73,460

Health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other

70 0.6 37.01 76,980

Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians

1,810 1.6 25.07 52,150

Dental hygienists

1,080 1.4 22.14 46,050

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians

240 1.2 28.48 59,230

Diagnostic medical sonographers

380 1.5 29.97 62,330

Nuclear medicine technologists

160 2.5 30.67 63,800

Radiologic technologists

1,230 1.7 23.53 48,940

Magnetic resonance imaging technologists

270 2.0 29.84 62,060

Emergency medical technicians and paramedics

660 0.7 15.62 32,480

Pharmacy technicians

2,050 1.4 14.23 29,610

Psychiatric technicians

550 2.2 13.46 27,990

Surgical technologists

570 1.5 18.85 39,200

Veterinary technologists and technicians

230 0.6 17.38 36,150

Ophthalmic medical technicians

250 1.3 16.17 33,640

Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses

2,870 1.2 19.96 41,520

Medical records and health information technicians

850 1.2 19.28 40,100

Opticians, dispensing

370 1.4 16.22 33,730

Health technologists and technicians, all other

450 1.0 24.08 50,090

Occupational health and safety specialists

440 1.4 32.95 68,530

Occupational health and safety technicians

40 0.7 26.07 54,230

Athletic trainers

90 1.0 (7) 33,800

Healthcare practitioners and technical workers, all other

180 1.6 19.10 39,720

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area, 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.
(6) This wage is equal to or greater than $100.00 per hour or $208,000 per year.
(7) Wages for some occupations that do not generally work year-round, full time, are reported either as hourly wages or annual salaries depending on how they are typically paid.


Last Modified Date: Thursday, June 27, 2019