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Occupational employment statistics

Salary data presented in an interactive visualization by occupation and by metropolitan area. Updated with data through 2019, and with additional data and charts.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, an agency of the United States Department of Labor, gathers data on employment and wages in a program titled Occupational Employment Statistics. The data are estimates gathered through surveys.

This article provides a larger explanation of the data and holds the link to the visualization itself. Here, I show some data for Wichita and a few surrounding areas for an occupation important to Wichita: Aerospace engineers.

Click for larger.

You can see that Wichita has the highest number of employees in this category, with Omaha the lowest.

“Jobs per 1000” is the number of jobs in the occupation per thousand jobs in the area. For Wichita, this number is high, and for Omaha, low.

“Location quotient” is a measure of concentration. BLS says: “As measured here, a location quotient shows the occupation’s share of an area’s employment relative to the national average. … For example, a location quotient of 2.0 indicates that an occupation accounts for twice the share of employment in the area than it does nationally, and a location quotient of 0.5 indicates the area’s share of employment in the occupation is half the national share.”

As an example, the location quotient for aerospace engineers in Wichita is 15.14. This is a relatively high value, which is not surprising given the concentration of that industry in Wichita. For Omaha, the value is low at 0.11. Of note, the location quotient for Oklahoma City and Tulsa are greater than one, reflecting the active aerospace industry in those cities.

For salary, BLS reports the mean and median, although this example shows only the mean. I rank the areas by salary and then calculate the difference for each city from the highest city. Here, Wichita ranks third in salary, with the mean being $27,380 (20 percent) less than the highest. Note that the number of aerospace engineers in Omaha is small compared to Wichita. For mechanical engineers, where the concentration between these two cities is not as large, Wichita engineers earn more.

In the interactive visualization I created, you may select cities, years, and occupations. Click here for a larger explanation of the data and the link to the visualization itself.

Example from the visualization. Click for larger.
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