Section I: Introduction

Research & Planning (R&P), a section of the Department of Employment, in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), has conducted an Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Wage Survey since 1996. The OES program produces occupational employment and wage estimates that have many uses. 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 use wage data to assist students in making career decisions. OES data are used to determine staffing patterns, develop employment projections, and Foreign Labor Certification.

In Wyoming, the OES Wage Survey samples and contacts approximately 900 establishments by mail in May and November of each year. Data obtained are used to estimate occupational employment and wage rates for Unemployment Insurance (UI) covered wage and salary jobs in non-farm establishments.

Wages for the OES survey are straight-time, gross pay, exclusive of premium pay. Base pay rates, cost-of-living allowances, guaranteed pay, hazard 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. Tip data are incorporated into the hourly estimates. The OES Wage Survey does not include benefit data.

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 of less than 2,080 hours (such as musical and entertainment occupations, flight attendants, pilots, and teachers) are reported only as an annual wage.

Every state conducts an identical OES wage survey using standard techniques. This facilitates comparison of data among states, as well as comparisons with national figures. National and state wage estimates are located on the BLS website ( For more information see the BLS Technical Notes (

Each state's labor market information agency may also conduct and publish supplementary wage or benefit surveys, occupational licensing information, statewide and localized employment information, and staffing pattern data, which can be found on its respective website. 

R&P’s website ( provides links to most of these sites from our National Links tab.

Section II: Industry Publication of Wages

The OES survey uses the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). These estimates and survey data are based on the 2007 NAICS. Earlier data and estimates were based on the 2002 NAICS. For more information, see the BLS Web site (

For purposes of classification, an establishment is defined as an economic unit that processes goods or provides services, such as a factory, store, or mine. The establishment is generally at a single physical location and is engaged primarily in one type of economic activity. The OES survey covers all full- and part-time wage and salary workers in non-farm industries. The survey does not include the self-employed owners and partners in unincorporated firms, household workers, or unpaid family workers.

The OES survey includes establishments in NAICS sectors listed below. Data for the U.S. Postal Service and the federal government are universe counts obtained from the Postal Service and the Office of Personnel Management, respectively.



Natural resources and mining



Sector 11 (Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting)



Sector 21 (Mining)





Sector 23 (Construction)





Sector 31-33 (Manufacturing)



Trade, transportation, and utilities



Sector 42 (Wholesale trade)



Sector 44-45 (Retail trade)



Sector 48-49 (Transportation and warehousing)



Sector 22 (Utilities)





Sector 51 (Information)


Financial activities



Sector 52 (Finance and insurance)



Sector 53 (Real estate and rental and leasing)


Professional and business services



Sector 54 (Professional, scientific, and technical services)



Sector 55 (Management of companies and enterprises)



Sector 56 (Administrative and support and waste management and remediation services)


Education and health services



Sector 61 (Education services)



Sector 62 (Health care and social assistance)


Leisure and hospitality



Sector 71 (Arts, entertainment, and recreation)



Sector 72 (Accommodation and food services)


Other services



Sector 81 (Other services, except public administration)


Public administration



Sector 92 (Public administration)

BLS funds the survey and provides procedural and technical support, while the states collect the data. BLS produces cross-industry NAICS estimates for the nation, states, and metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). NAICS estimates are grouped by industry. BLS releases all cross-industry and national estimates, and the states release industry estimates at the state, county and MSA levels.

The OES survey defines employment as the number of workers who can be classified as full-time 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. R&P has provided several extensions to the official OES data series (which have been developed in cooperation with the BLS). These additional products have not been validated by the BLS and are not, therefore, official BLS data series.

Section III: Method of Collection

In 1999, the OES Wage Survey began using the Office of Management and Budget’s occupational classification system--the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. The SOC classification system allows government statistical agencies and others to produce data using a common classification system.  Prior to the SOC system, occupational data were classified using a variety of systems that were not necessarily compatible with one another.

The OES survey categorizes workers into one of 801 detailed occupations according to their occupational definition. To facilitate classification, occupations are combined to form 23 major, 96 minor, and 449 broad groups of occupations requiring similar job duties, skills, education, or experience. 

Occupations in the SOC coding system may not be the same as job titles; for example, 31-1012 Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants may be know as Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Hospital Aide or Infirmary Attendant.

Classification Principles of the SOC Coding System

In order to ensure that all users of occupational data classify workers in the same way, the following classification principles should be followed:

1.  The classification covers all occupations in which work is performed for pay or profit, including work performed in family-operated enterprises by family members who are not directly compensated.  It excludes occupations unique to volunteers. Each occupation is assigned to only one occupational category at the lowest level of the classification.

2.  Occupations are classified based on work performed and on required skills, education, training, and credentials.

3.  Supervisors of professional and technical workers usually have a background similar to those of the workers they supervise and therefore are classified with the workers they supervise.  Likewise, team leaders, lead workers, and supervisors of production, sales, and service workers who spend at least twenty percent of their time performing work similar to the workers they supervise are classified with the workers they supervise.

4.  First-line managers and supervisors of production, service, and sales workers who spend more than eighty percent of their time performing supervisory activities are classified separately in the appropriate supervisor category because their work activities are distinct from those of the workers they supervise. First-line managers are generally found in smaller establishments where they perform both supervisory and management functions, such as accounting, marketing, and personnel work.

5.  Apprentices and trainees are classified with the occupations for which they are being trained, while helpers and aides are classified separately.

6.  If an occupation is not included as a distinct detailed occupation in the structure, it is classified in the appropriate residual occupation. Residual occupations contain all occupations within a major, minor, or broad group that are not classified separately.

7.  When workers can be classified in more than one occupation, they should be classified in the occupation that requires the higher skill level. When there is no perceptible difference in skill level, the worker should be classified in the occupation that describes their primary activity.

8.  Data collection and reporting agencies should classify workers at the most detailed level possible. Different agencies may use different levels of aggregation, depending on their ability to collect data and on the requirements of users.

Section IV: Geographic Coverage of Estimates

The data for Wyoming are collected for four regions and the two Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), Casper and Cheyenne, shown in the map below. An MSA is a county or group of adjoining counties that contain at least one urbanized area of 50,000 inhabitants or more. The sample is drawn randomly and is stratified for each of these geographic areas.  The estimates are prepared using samples specifically drawn for these geographic areas. Sample stratification provides greater assurance that no employer segment is left out of the sample.

Occupational Employment Statistics Area Map

Section V: Estimation Technique

The OES Wage Survey estimates were calculated using information from the 2006 through 2009 surveys.  Using three or more years of data reduces sampling error, particularly for small geographic areas and less common occupations.  However, this technique also requires the adjustment of prior data to the current reference period.  This procedure is referred to as "wage updating". Estimates from the BLS Federal/State Cooperative OES program are produced for the most recent survey reference period that includes the 12th of the month. 

For wage updating purposes, the BLS uses the national wage changes for the nine occupational divisions for which Employment Cost Index (ECI) estimates are available. This 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 BLS estimates, ECI factors were applied to the prior panels.

R&P has used wage updating factors, for later time periods, to further update the data from all three survey years to a more current time period, subsequent to the most recent OES Survey reference period—Second Quarter 2009. As a result, wage-updating factors for March 2010 have been applied to all of the data included in these estimates. The updated data contained in this report are not official BLS data series, nor has the BLS validated them.

The employment estimates for each occupation are based on the total number of jobs worked reported as part of the UI Covered Employment and Wages program. The BLS technical notes relating to the OES Wage Survey include the scope of the survey, an explanation of the UI Covered Employment and Wage program, occupational classification of 22 major occupational groups, size class, and hourly intervals.

Section VI: 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 jobs worked for wages, salaries, commissions, or tips from a private employer, a non-profit employer, or a governmental unit.  This is the estimate of the number of jobs worked in an occupation across the industries in which it was reported.  These numbers are rounded to the nearest ten.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) - Used as a six digit hierarchical coding system to classify all economic activity into twenty industry sectors. For more information on NAICS, see the BLS Web site (

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

Mean of the Lower One-Third – Mean of the lower one-third of wage distribution (previously reported as Entry Level Wage).

Mean of the Upper Two-Thirds - Mean of the upper two-thirds of wage distribution (previously reported as Experienced Level Wage).

Percentile Wage Estimates - A percentile wage estimate shows the percentage of jobs worked in an occupation that earn less than a given wage and the percentage that earn more. 

25th Percentile - 25 percent of jobs worked in an occupation are paid wages below $11.05 and 75 percent are paid wages above $11.05.

50th Percentile (Median) - The estimated 50th percentile of the wage distribution; 50 percent of jobs worked in an occupation are paid wages below $16.20 and 50 percent are paid wages above $16.20.

75th Percentile - 75 percent of jobs worked in an occupation are paid wages below $24.08 and 25 percent are paid wages above $24.08.

Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) - A county or group of adjoining counties that contain at least one urbanized area of 50,000 inhabitants or more. Wyoming’s MSA’s are Casper and Cheyenne.

Occupational Title - A short title describing each occupation.

Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Code - A six-digit code that identifies occupations as defined by the SOC classification system. For more information on the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system, see the BLS Web site (

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