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News Release Information

Thursday, July 07, 2022

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  • (415) 625-2270

Occupational Employment and Wages in Salem — May 2021

Workers in the Salem, OR Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $26.35 in May 2021, about 6 percent below the nationwide average of $28.01, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Chris Rosenlund noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were lower than their respective national averages in 11 of the 22 major occupational groups, including management, legal, and computer and mathematical. Eight groups had significantly higher wages than their respective national averages, including protective service, healthcare support, and healthcare practitioners and technical.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Salem area employment was more highly concentrated in 10 of the 22 occupational groups, including construction and extraction, community and social service, and healthcare support. Ten groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including production, sales and related, and computer and mathematical. (See table A.)

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

Total, all occupations

100.0 100.0 $28.01 $26.35* -6


6.3 5.9* 59.31 48.50* -18

Business and financial operations

6.4 7.2* 39.72 36.89* -7

Computer and mathematical

3.3 2.3* 48.01 42.38* -12

Architecture and engineering

1.7 0.9* 44.10 39.59* -10

Life, physical, and social science

0.9 1.0* 38.81 36.01* -7

Community and social service

1.6 2.7* 25.94 26.65* 3


0.8 1.0* 54.38 47.49* -13

Educational instruction and library

5.8 5.3* 29.88 30.40 2

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 0.9* 31.78 27.20* -14

Healthcare practitioners and technical

6.2 6.0* 43.80 45.23* 3

Healthcare support

4.7 5.5* 16.02 18.29* 14

Protective service

2.4 2.1* 25.68 29.60* 15

Food preparation and serving related

8.0 7.8 14.16 15.20* 7

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

2.9 3.1* 16.23 17.19* 6

Personal care and service

1.8 2.3* 16.17 16.67* 3

Sales and related

9.4 8.0* 22.15 19.61* -11

Office and administrative support

13.0 13.5* 20.88 20.98 0

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 2.1* 16.70 15.83* -5

Construction and extraction

4.2 5.4* 26.87 27.76* 3

Installation, maintenance, and repair

4.0 3.5* 25.66 25.83 1


6.0 4.5* 20.71 18.70* -10

Transportation and material moving

9.0 9.2 19.88 18.97* -5

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in the Salem, OR 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—construction and extraction—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Salem had 9,140 jobs in construction and extraction, accounting for 5.4 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 4.2-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $27.76, significantly above the national wage of $26.87.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the construction and extraction group included carpenters (1,530), construction laborers (1,280), and electricians (750). Among the higher-paying jobs in this group were earth drillers, except oil and gas and first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers, with mean hourly wages of $40.81 and $39.46, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were helpers--carpenters ($14.71) and floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles ($19.25). (Detailed data for the construction and extraction 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 Salem area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the construction and extraction group. For instance, glaziers were employed at 2.8 times the national rate in Salem, and sheet metal workers, at 2.4 times the U.S. average. Electricians had a location quotient of 1.0 in Salem, 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 Oregon Employment Department.

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 Salem, OR Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,795 establishments with a response rate of 76 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 Salem, OR Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Marion County and Polk County.

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 construction and extraction occupations, Salem metropolitan area, May 2021
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Construction and extraction occupations

9,140 1.3 $27.76 $57,750

First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers

740 0.9 39.46 82,070

Brickmasons and blockmasons

70 1.0 35.41 73,640


50 4.5 22.00 45,750


1,530 1.9 25.35 52,730

Carpet installers

60 2.4 21.23 44,150

Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles

(5) (5) 19.25 40,050

Tile and stone setters

120 2.5 23.12 48,090

Cement masons and concrete finishers

350 1.5 25.67 53,400

Construction laborers

1,280 1.1 22.20 46,180

Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators

640 1.3 29.42 61,200

Drywall and ceiling tile installers

270 2.3 30.24 62,900


120 6.6 32.41 67,420


750 1.0 37.06 77,090


180 2.8 37.50 78,000

Painters, construction and maintenance

530 2.1 21.17 44,030


70 1.7 23.35 48,580

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

300 0.6 35.00 72,790


350 2.3 23.79 49,470

Sheet metal workers

350 2.4 27.96 58,150

Structural iron and steel workers

70 0.9 38.44 79,960

Helpers--brickmasons, blockmasons, stonemasons, and tile and marble setters

120 5.3 21.07 43,830


(5) (5) 14.71 30,590

Helpers, construction trades, all other

(5) (5) 15.59 32,430

Construction and building inspectors

120 0.8 35.64 74,120

Hazardous materials removal workers

40 0.8 22.40 46,580

Highway maintenance workers

120 0.7 25.86 53,780

Septic tank servicers and sewer pipe cleaners

50 1.6 26.03 54,140

Miscellaneous construction and related workers

60 1.5 27.47 57,130

Excavating and loading machine and dragline operators, surface mining

50 1.2 24.26 50,450

Earth drillers, except oil and gas

50 2.5 40.81 84,890

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Salem, OR 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.
(5) Estimate not released.


Last Modified Date: Thursday, July 07, 2022