Wayne M. Gosar, Economist

The 1995 wage survey results are here. Craft occupations--namely agriculture, forestry, construction and operators (AFC&O)--represent one-third of the occupations but constitute a majority of requests for wage rates.

Representative accurate wage rates are important to business and economic development in Wyoming. The support of employers across the state has been phenomenal as evidenced by our response rate (60%), especially from private industry. Based on their response to the survey, this data is considered valuable.

The 1995 AFC&O survey began back in January 1995. A random sample of 4,677 firms were selected to participate in the survey. Each sampled employer received survey packets which contained from one to forty occupations. We asked employers to categorize their workers by licensing requirements, part-time and full-time, and years of service. A second request was sent to those employers not answering the first request.

Survey responses were keyed into a database especially designed for the wage survey. We summarized and compiled the data using SPSS statistical software. Our summary statistics from SPSS are presented in the main table.

Before you dive head first into the data, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the terms used in the attached tables (see the glossary). Understanding the table terminology will save you time and help you determine how valid the data really is.


We are also publishing new estimates for professional and technical occupations (P&T), first published in 1993, and updated estimates for last years survey--sales, clerical, and service occupations (SC&S). Along with the data as it was originally published, we have also included an adjustment factor to bring the average wage up to an estimated 1995 level.

Our adjustment factor is based on administrative wage records linked into employers standard industrial classification (SIC). The difference in wages over time, by SIC, was then calculated for each occupation based on occupational staffing patterns among industries.

For example: you would agree that secretaries (OES code: 55108) are found across all industries. However, petroleum engineers (OES code: 22111) are found in very specific industries. It would be erroneous to apply the same adjustment factor to each occupation because they are found in such different circumstances.

By measuring the amount of change in wages for all appropriate industries we can estimate how wages have "probably" changed over time. As we again survey for these occupations we will be able to evaluate our adjustment factor for accuracy. The advantage of using the adjusted wage is that we are able to compare wages for occupations over all three survey rounds.


Out of the 4,677 firms surveyed, nearly 18,000 people (valid cases) were found to be working in AFC&O occupations across Wyoming. On average they make $11.41 per hour. This is second to professional & technical (P&T) occupations which pay an estimated $14.55 per hour in 1995. Sales clerical, and service (SC&S) occupations rounded out the bottom with an estimated average wage of $9.10 per hour in 1995.

On an occupational basis, wage rates for AFC&O occupations stand up rather well. For example: 72 out of the 175 occupations (41%) surveyed had mean wages over $10.00 per hour, while SC&S estimated wages only showed 31 out of 121 (26%) occupations had wages over the $10.00 threshold. P&T occupations were at the top with 80 percent of the occupations having estimated mean wages over $10.00 an hour.

Blasters and explosive workers (OES code: 87905) had the highest mean wage of $21.38 per hour or $44,470.40 per year. While pressers (OES code: 89517) had the lowest mean wage of $5.13 per hour or $10,670.40 per year. As pointed out above, wages for AFC&O average around $11.41 per hour or $23,732.80 per year. This is significantly better than SC&Ss wages that average $18,928.00 per year.


In 1996 we will again survey professional and technical occupations. This is an exciting time for us because we will be able to validate our wage adjustment factors used to estimate wages between survey rounds.

Assuming all goes well, we will mail out surveys in mid-April 1996. Like this year, we will send first and second requests to private, federal, state and local employers. Our target for compiling and publishing data will be August or September 1996.


We are proud of the wage survey and the positive response we get from employers across the state. With very few exceptions, employers continue to encourage our effort by responding to our request for wage data. We plan to continue this effort in the future and make it an annual part of our Wyoming Labor Force Trends publication. Arrangements are being made to make the wage survey results accessible via computer and the Internet.

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