Section I: Introduction

Research & Planning (R&P), a section of the Department of Workforce Services, 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 for Foreign Labor Certification.  

In Wyoming, the OES Wage Survey samples and contacts approximately 1,000 establishments by mail, e-mail, and phone 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. Items included in the survey are 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 at 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.

In order to better meet the needs of local users, Wyoming's R&P staff produced wage estimates for geographic areas not produced by the BLS. Due to confidentiality and quality criteria, estimates cannot be produced for every occupation in every geographic area. State created areas are not validated by the BLS and are not, therefore, official BLS data series.

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

Section II: Industry Publication of Wages

The OES uses the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) to produce estimates at the NAICS sector. These estimates and survey data are based on the 2017 NAICS. For more information, see the BLS website on NAICS (

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.

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.


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, region, 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. 

Section III: Method of Collection

The OES Wage Survey uses the Office of Management and Budget’s occupational classification system the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. The SOC system is used by Federal statistical agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data. The May 2019 OES estimates contain nearly 800 occupational categories based on the Office of Management and Budget's Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. Together, these occupations make up 22 of the 23 SOC major occupational groups. Major group 55, Military Specific Occupations, is not included.

For more information about SOC system, please see the BLS website at

The May 2019 OES estimates are the first set of OES estimates to be based in part on survey data collected using the 2018 SOC. These estimates use a hybrid of the 2010 and 2018 SOC systems. For more information on the hybrid classification system used in the May 2019 OES estimates, please see the "Changes to the May 2019 estimates" section of the BLS technical notes at


Classification Principles  

The SOC Classification Principles form the basis on which the SOC system is structured.  

1. The SOC 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, in some cases, on the skills, education, and/or training needed to perform the work at a competent level.  

3. Workers primarily engaged in planning and directing are classified in management occupations in Major Group 11-0000. Duties of these workers may include supervision.  

4. Supervisors of workers in Major Groups 13-0000 through 29-0000 usually have work experience and perform activities similar to those of the workers they supervise, and therefore are classified with the workers they supervise. 

5. Workers in Major Group 31-0000 Healthcare Support Occupations assist and are usually supervised by workers in Major Group 29-0000 Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations. Therefore, there are no first-line supervisor occupations in Major Group 31-0000.  

6. Workers in Major Groups 33-0000 through 53-0000 whose primary duty is supervising are classified in the appropriate first-line supervisor category because their work activities are distinct from those of the workers they supervise.  

7. Apprentices and trainees are classified with the occupations for which they are being trained, while helpers and aides are classified separately because they are not in training for the occupation they are helping.  

8. If an occupation is not included as a distinct detailed occupation in the structure, it is classified in an appropriate “All Other,” or residual, occupation. “All Other” occupations are placed in the structure when it is determined that the detailed occupations comprising a broad occupation group do not account for all of the workers in the group. These occupations appear as the last occupation in the group with a code ending in “9” and are identified in their title by having “All Other” appear at the end.  

9. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau are charged with collecting and reporting data on total U.S. employment across the full spectrum of SOC major groups. Thus, for a detailed occupation to be included in the SOC, either the Bureau of Labor Statistics or the Census Bureau must be able to collect and report data on that occupation.

Coding Guidelines

The SOC Coding Guidelines are intended to assist users in consistently assigning SOC codes and titles to survey responses and in other coding activities.  

1. A worker should be assigned to an SOC occupation code based on work performed.

2. When workers in a single job could be coded in more than one occupation, they should be coded in the occupation that requires the highest level of skill. If there is no measurable difference in skill requirements, workers should be coded in the occupation in which they spend the most time. Workers whose job is to teach at different levels (e.g., elementary, middle, or secondary) should be coded in the occupation corresponding to the highest educational level they teach.  

3. Data collection and reporting agencies should assign workers to the most detailed occupation possible. Different agencies may use different levels of aggregation, depending on their ability to collect data. For more information on data produced using the SOC, see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section.  

4. Workers who perform activities not described in any distinct detailed occupation in the SOC structure should be coded in an appropriate “All Other” or residual occupation. These residual occupational categories appear as the last occupation in a group with a code ending in “9” and are identified by having the words “All Other” appear at the end of the title.  

5. Workers in Major Groups 33-0000 through 53-0000 who spend 80 percent or more of their time performing supervisory activities are coded in the appropriate first-line supervisor category in the SOC. In these same Major Groups (33-0000 through 53-0000), persons with supervisory duties who spend less than 80 percent of their time supervising are coded with the workers they supervise.  

6. Licensed and non-licensed workers performing the same work should be coded together in the same detailed occupation, except where specified otherwise in the SOC definition.  

Section IV: Geographic Coverage of Estimates

The data for Wyoming are now collected for two regions which are then broken down into the four regions that are shown in the map below.
A Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) is a county or group of adjoining counties that contain at least one urbanized area of 50,000 inhabitants or more. Wyoming has two such MSAs: Casper and Cheyenne. 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

 Intro 3

Section V: Estimation Technique

The OES Wage Survey estimates were calculated using information from the 2016 through 2019 surveys. Using three 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 2019. As a result, wage-updating factors for March 2020 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.

Blank or Zero in Employment Cell -
This is showing that the number of employees is either less than 5, not available, or not publishable.

- 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 website on NAICS (

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.

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 $14.14 and 75 percent are paid wages above $14.14.

50th Percentile (Median)
- The estimated 50th percentile of the wage distribution; 50 percent of jobs worked in an occupation are paid wages below $20.53 and 50 percent are paid wages above $20.53.

75th Percentile
- 75 percent of jobs worked in an occupation are paid wages below $30.56 and 25 percent are paid wages above $30.56.

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 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system.
For more information on the SOC system, see the BLS website on SOC (

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