Section I: Purpose

Research & Planning (R&P), a section of the Department of Employment, has conducted an annual Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Wage Survey for four years (1996-1999). The OES program produces occupational employment and wage estimates that have many uses at the state level. For example, wage information helps employers determine if they are offering competitive wages. Employment and training organizations, such as community colleges, vocational counselors and individuals, also use wage data to assist students in making career decisions.

Every state conducts an identical wage survey using the same procedures. This allows for easy comparison of data between states, as well as comparisons with national figures. National wages are located on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) web site at: The wages for all states are located at: .

Section II: Introduction

The OES Wage Survey is an annual mail survey measuring occupational employment and wage rates for Unemployment Insurance (UI) covered wage and salary workers in non-farm establishments. In 1999, Wyoming sampled 1,658 units (an economic unit, generally at a single physical location, where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed), with a response rate of 86.1 percent for units and 81.7 percent for employment. Thank you to all the employers that have participated in our survey over the last four years.

Wages for the OES Wage Survey include: base pay rates, cost-of-living allowances, guaranteed pay, hazardous-duty pay, incentive pay, commissions, piece rates and production bonuses, length-of-service allowances, on-call pay and portal-to-portal pay. Items excluded are: back pay, jury-duty pay, overtime pay, severance pay, shift differentials, vacation pay, Christmas bonuses, holiday or weekend pay, attendance bonuses, meal and lodging allowances, merchandise discounts, non-production bonuses, profit-sharing distributions, relocation allowances, stock bonuses, tool allowances, tuition reimbursements and uniform allowances. Data from tips were not included in prior years, but were collected for 1999. The tip data are incorporated into the hourly estimates.

The hourly wage estimates in this publication are calculated using a year-round, full-time figure of 2,080 hours per year (52 weeks times 40 hours). Occupations that typically have a work year less than 2,080 hours (for example, musical and entertainment occupations, flight attendants, pilots and teachers) are reported as an annual wage. These occupations are marked with an asterisk (*) beside the occupational title. In some cases, the small number of employees for a particular occupation violates rules of confidentiality. These cases are marked as ND for Non-Disclosable.

Section III: Method of Collection

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) classification system

For the years 1996-1998, the survey collected data using the OES classification system. This system uses seven major occupational divisions to categorize workers in one of 750 detailed occupations. The 1999 data were collected using the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system.

Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system

The SOC system was developed in response to a growing need for a universal occupational classification system. Such a classification system allows government agencies and private industries to produce comparable data. Prior to the SOC system, Federal agencies collecting occupational data used a variety of systems that were not necessarily compatible with one another. Now all Federal agencies collecting occupational data use the SOC system, allowing occupation data to be compared across agencies. All workers are classified in one of over 820 occupations according to their occupational definition. To facilitate classification, occupations are combined to form 23 major and 98 minor groups of occupations requiring similar job duties, skills, education or experience. For more information about the SOC system, see the website at Because the OES program is federally funded and jointly administered by the state and BLS, it too uses the SOC system.

Section IV: Estimation Methodology

The Occupational Employment Statistics Wage Survey wage data presented in this publication are based on either one year or three years of data (1997, 1998 and 1999). The occupations that are based on three years of data have corresponding occupations or occupation aggregations in the 1997 and 1998 OES survey structures. The 1999 wage estimates for the remaining occupations were estimated using only the 1999 data based on the new SOC survey structure. These occupations are marked with a one or three in the column titled, "# of Years of Data". Whenever possible, wage estimates were calculated using the full three years of sample data, which provides significant sampling error reductions particularly for small geographic areas and occupations; however, it also requires the adjustment of earlier years' data to the current reference period, the fourth quarter of 1999. This procedure is referred to as "wage updating." Official estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Federal/State Cooperative Occupational Employment Statistics program are produced for the most recent survey reference period.

For wage updating purposes, the BLS uses the national wage changes from the fourth quarter of the previous year to the fourth quarter of the reference year for the nine occupational divisions for which Employment Cost Index (ECI) estimates are available. (See this web site at: Such a procedure assumes that each occupation's wage, as measured in each year, moves according to the average movement of its occupational division and that there are no major geographic or detailed occupational differences. In the official BLS estimates, ECI factors were applied to both the 1997 and 1998 survey data to update them to the fourth quarter 1999 level before combining them with the 1999 survey data. As a result, one-third of the wage data in the 1999 estimates are actual, unadjusted data.

The employment estimates for each occupation are based on the total number of employees reported as part of the Unemployment Insurance Covered Employment and Wages program. The BLS technical notes are located at

Section V: Geographic Coverage of Estimates

The data for Wyoming are collected for four balance of state regions and the two Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA's), Casper and Cheyenne. An MSA is a county or group of adjoining counties that contain at least one urbanized area of 50,000 inhabitants or more. The regional data are not available at this time but will be available at a later date on our home page.

Occupational Employment Statistics Area Map

Regional Map

Section VI: Reliability of the Estimates

The occupational wage rates in this report are estimates derived from a sample survey. Two types of errors are possible in an estimate based on a sample survey--sampling error and non-sampling error. Sampling error occurs because the observations are based on a sample, not on the entire population. Non-sampling errors are due to response, non-response and operational errors.

Sampling Errors--The particular sample used in this survey is one of a large number of possible samples of the same size that could have been selected using the same sample design. For example, occupational wage rate estimates derived from the different samples will differ from one another. The deviation of a sample estimate from the average of all possible sample estimates is called the sampling error. The standard error of an estimate is a measure of the variation of estimates across all possible samples and thus is a measure of the precision with which an estimate from a particular sample approximates the average result of all possible samples.

Non-sampling Errors--Estimates are subject to various response, non-response and operational errors during the survey process. Sources of possible errors are data collection, response, coding, transcription, data editing, nonresponse adjustment and estimation. Non-sampling errors would also occur if a complete census were conducted under the same conditions as the sample survey. Explicit measures of their effects are not available. However, the important response and operational errors were detected and corrected during the review and validation process.

The survey is a random sample, stratified by area, industry, and size class, which avoids statistically biased estimates. Reporting and non-response errors are forms of survey bias but the errors are random.

The employment total and wage data for an occupation reflects only those industries that reported the occupation. Since every occupation does not appear on every form, there may be a bias in the employment and wage data for some occupations. The extent of this bias is unknown.

Another source of potential bias is the limitation placed on the size of the benchmark factor. A benchmark factor is the ratio of a known employment value to a sample-derived employment estimate. In cases where a small sample was taken, the ratio factor could be over-or under-estimated. In order to prevent an establishment from contributing either too much or not enough to an MSA's wage rate estimates, the benchmark factor was not allowed to exceed a predetermined value. The total employment count for those MSA's where the benchmark factor was limited by this ceiling will be biased to a small degree in those levels. The employment not assigned to those levels because of this ceiling was then distributed across the other MSA's, so that the estimated employment would match the known employment totals at that level.

Section VII: Wage Survey Definitions

Annual Wages (*) - Wages for certain occupations having a work year of less than 2,080 hours are reported as an annual salary.

Employment - Represents the estimate of total wage and salary employment in an occupation across the industries in which it was reported.

Entry Level Wage - The bottom 25 percent of wages reported (first quartile).

Experienced Level Wage - The top 75 percent of wages reported (last three quartiles).

Mean Wage - The estimated total wages for an occupation divided by its weighted survey employment. A measure of central tendency. It is also called the arithmetic average. If some values are far removed from the others (outlying), they can substantially influence the mean.

Median - The estimated 50th percentile of the wage distribution; 50 percent of workers in an occupation earn wages below and 50 percent earn wages above the median wage.

Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) - A county or group of adjoining counties that contain at least one urbanized area of 50,000 inhabitants or more.

ND - Information is not disclosable, due to confidentiality.

Occupational Title - A short title describing each occupation.

Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Code - A six-digit code identifies occupations as defined by the SOC classification system.


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