2000 Wyoming Wage Survey

Section I: Purpose

Research & Planning (R&P), a section of the Department of Employment, in cooperation with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), has conducted an annual Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Wage Survey for five years (1996-2000). 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 (e.g., community colleges), vocational counselors, and individuals use wage data to assist students in making career decisions.

Wage information found in this publication may be used in conjunction with related information from " Employee Benefits in Wyoming: 2000" to get a picture of total compensation.  Benefits information is not available by occupation but it is compiled by major industry, firm size, and regions in Wyoming.  Also, the employer sample that is used in the OES Wage Survey is intended to represent total jobs worked (employment) for each geographic area as well as statewide, while the sample is obtained from a database containing only State Unemployment Insurance (UI) covered jobs.  Employment (jobs worked) and payroll information from this source are included in the annual publication, "Where Are The Jobs? What Do They Pay? 1999 Annual Covered Employment and Wages."  OES wage data should not be confused with a new but separate effort, Wyoming Construction Prevailing Wage (W.S. 27-4-401), which intends to supplement the OES Wage Survey by collecting wage data for construction trades (excluding heavy construction) at a more detailed occupational level.  Additionally, some companies or communities are interested in obtaining staffing patterns for their industries to assist with occupational planning and economic and workforce development.  They can find information about staffing patterns at our website.

Every state conducts an identical wage survey using standard techniques. This facilitates comparison of data between states, as well as comparisons with national figures. National and state wage estimates are located on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) website. 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 their respective websites.  Research & Planning's website provides links to most of these sites on our Other Resources page.

Section II: Introduction

The OES Wage Survey is conducted annually by mail. The resulting data obtained are used to estimate occupational employment and wage rates for UI covered wage and salary jobs in non-farm establishments. In 2000, Wyoming sampled 1,524 economic units. An economic unit is generally a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed. A response rate of 86.0 percent of sampled units and 85.9 percent of sampled employment was achieved. Thank you to all the employers who participated in our survey over the last five years.

Wages for the OES Wage Survey include 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 from the survey 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 and 2000. Tip data are incorporated into the hourly estimates. The OES Wage Survey does not include benefit data.

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 of less than 2,080 hours (for example, musical and entertainment occupations, flight attendants, pilots, and teachers) are reported only as an annual wage. These occupations are marked with an asterisk (*) beside the occupational title. In some cases, reporting a small number of employees for a particular occupation would violate rules of confidentiality. These cases are marked as ND for Non-Disclosable.

Section III: Collection Technique
Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) classification system
For the years 1996-1998, the survey collected data using an OES-specific classification system. This system used seven major occupational divisions to categorize workers in one of 750 detailed occupations. The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system was first introduced in 1999.   The data presented in the 1999 publication were based on either one year or three years of data (1997, 1998, and 1999).  The occupations that were based on three years of data had 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.  All of the 1999 and 2000 data used in this publication were collected using the SOC system. The transition to this new classification system, therefore, means the occupational wage data published in recent years are not, in most cases, directly comparable.

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, Federal agencies collecting occupational data used a variety of systems that were not necessarily compatible with one another.

In the SOC system, 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, 96 minor, and 449 broad groups of occupations requiring similar job duties, skills, education, or experience. 

Classification Principles of the SOC coding system

In order to ensure 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 20 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 80 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: Estimation Technique

The Occupational Employment Statistics Wage Survey wage estimates were calculated using sample data from 1999 and 2000.  Using two years of data reduces sampling error particularly for small geographic areas and occupations.  However, this technique also requires the adjustment of 1999 data to the current reference period, the fourth quarter of 2000.  This procedure is referred to as "wage updating."  Estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Federal/State Cooperative Occupational Employment Statistics program are produced for the most recent survey reference period, which includes the 12th of the month.  BLS validated the results found in this publication.

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. 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 1999 survey data to update them to the fourth quarter 2000.

The employment estimates for each occupation are based on the total number of jobs worked reported as part of the Unemployment Insurance 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 V: Geographic Coverage of Estimates

The data for Wyoming are collected for the two Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA's), Casper and Cheyenne, and the balance of the state. An MSA is a county or group of adjoining counties that contain at least one urbanized area of 50,000 inhabitants or more. The statewide, MSA, and balance of state data are included in this publication. The balance of state is further divided into the four regions shown in the map below. The balance of state regional data will be located on our home page at a later date. The sample 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 would be left out of the sample.

Occupational Employment Statistics Area Map

Regional Map


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.

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.

Entry Level Wage - Mean of the lower one-third of wage distribution.

Experienced Level Wage - Mean of the upper two-thirds of wage distribution

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. 

The following Figure shows the statewide hourly wage for all occupations by percentile:

25th Percentile - 25 percent of jobs worked in an occupation are paid wages below $7.56 and 75 percent are paid wages above $7.56.

50th Percentile (Median) - The estimated 50th percentile of the wage distribution; 50 percent of jobs worked in an occupation are paid wages below $11.06 and 50 percent are paid wages above $11.06.

75th Percentile - 75 percent of jobs worked in an occupation are paid wages below $16.96 and 25 percent are paid wages above $16.96.

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 that identifies occupations as defined by the SOC classification system.


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