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Wage Survey for Wyoming

by: Deana Hauf

Research & Planning, a section of the Department of Employment, conducts an annual Occupational Employment Wage Survey. We receive many requests for occupational wage information. Occupational wage information helps employers determine whether or not their wages are competitive. Employment and training organizations, such as community colleges, vocational counselors and individuals also benefit from wage data to assist students in career decision-making.

The Wage Survey underwent a major expansion in 1996, impacting the timing and scope of the survey. For the first time, all states collected wage data using the same procedures. One advantage of this new format is it allows direct cross-state comparisons, determining whether or not local salaries are competitive. In addition, data were collected from all industries in one year, instead of dividing the industries into three groups and surveying only one group every year 1. Also beginning in 1996, the samples were drawn for each state at a level that allows production of estimates at both the state and sub-state area level. The wage data are very important in production of various publications and systems 2 , and so are sought after by those who explore career opportunities and those who assist in the career decision process.

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) data, in summary form, are traditionally used as a job placement aid by helping to identify industry staffing patterns that employ the skills gained by enrollees in vocational training programs. Occupational employment data compiled from the survey have been used by business firms for marketing purposes, by analysts studying the employment impact of various federally-funded programs and by firms conducting studies for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The data have been used by educators to identify the relative importance of occupations in vocational education program curricula and to modify course content to reflect current skill level needs and changing job opportunities.

The current Wyoming wage survey began in October 1996. A sample of 1,750 firms, with employment of 62,000 were selected to participate in the survey. Sampled employers received survey packets which contained descriptions of occupations. We asked employers to categorize their workers by wage ranges. A second request was sent to those employers not responding to the first survey. Follow-up phone calls were made to non-respondents. We were required by Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) federal contract to reach a 75 percent response rate in each industry and area (refer to Wage Survey Glossary and Area Map).

Table 1 and Table 2 are produced by the Occupational Employment and Wage Survey System or (OES). These tables include State employees but do not include Federal workers. Table 3 is a cross industry and is also produced by (OES) but includes State and Federal workers. Table 4 is a product from the (OES) it is by ownership and includes private, state and local government. The data in Table 5 and Table 6 are provided to us by Alien Labor Certification (ALC) which is used to determine prevailing wage rates for employers requesting to employ immigrant aliens and non-immigrant aliens working in the United States. Prevailing wage determinations help to protect the wages of U.S. workers. This data is compiled from the Occupational Employment and Wage Survey that is mailed out to the employer in Wyoming.

Statewide Results

Table 1 shows the average hourly mean wage for the state by occupational code (see Wage Survey Glossary) and by industry; brief definitions are also included in the Wage Survey Glossary. The majority of the people working in Wyoming are employed in the Services industry with an average hourly wage 3 of $10.86 including all occupations in the Services industry (see Table 1). Government (i.e., Local and State Government) is the second leading industry by employment level with an average hourly wage for all occupations of $11.50. The Retail Trade industry is third in line with an average wage for all occupations of $7.61 an hour.

Occupational Employment Statistics Area Map
Occupational Employment Statistics Area Map

Regional Data

Table 2 includes the average hourly mean wage by region, by industry, then by occupational title; due to confidentiality rules some of the regional data can not be published. The Occupational Employment and Wage system was designed for a three year cycle, sampling one-third of the employers every year so at the end of the three year cycle we will be able to publish more regional data.

Table 3 is the Statewide cross industry wage rate estimates. Please note that the wage rates for teacher (codes 31111 through 32999) are annual rates. It is difficult to compute an hourly rate for this occupation since the number of hours worked is not always easy to determine. The other wage rates are computed based on a 40 hour work week.

Table 4 includes private, state and local government for Wyoming and also the National averages. These tables are by occupational code and include a brief occupational title. Again, information is not published for all occupations due to confidentiality rules (see ND in the Wage Survey Glossary) and lack of responses; after a three year cycle more data will be available so that more occupations can be published.

Table 5 includes wages by occupation for the Casper Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the Cheyenne MSA and the Balance of the State. The Casper MSA includes all of Natrona County, the Cheyenne MSA includes all of Laramie County and the Balance of the State includes the rest of Wyoming. This data includes federal workers which are not included in Tables 1 and 2.

Table 6 includes hourly wages by occupation and is broken out by the four regions (see map). This table includes federal workers.


Deana Hauf is a Senior Statistician, specializing in Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) with Research & Planning.


1 Refer to "The Importance of Wage Surveys".

2 Refer to "Wyoming Human Resource Information System (WHRIS): A New Tool for Informed Decision Making" in the June 1997 issue of TRENDS.

3 Some of the average hourly wages that appear in the text were calculated separately and are not included in the tables.

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