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Featuring the OES

by Nick Dobbins
September 2014

The Occupational Employment Statistics Program (OES) has been part of the Bureau of Labor Statistics data collection efforts in its current form since 1997. The idea behind the OES is that occupations cut across many industries, and while much of the labor market data collected is industry-based, only by looking at individual occupations can we get a sense of how many people are employed in Minnesota in a given occupation and how well they are paid.

The statistics produced by the OES are based on employer-provided data for all their employees who are covered by Unemployment Insurance. In the state of Minnesota roughly 6,000 employers participate in the survey each year. Data are sent to the states so that state employees, knowledgeable about specific occupations and the economy in Minnesota, can review and, if necessary, correct it. Reports are issued for the nation, states, and substate areas such as counties.

OES data have many uses. An employer who is having trouble finding employees may look at the data and see that their wage offer is not competitive. It also shows the number of occupations in a given area, and can be used by counselors who are trying to find their clients an occupation that pays a good wage. A simplified example of what the OES tool provides is below. In this example, we chose "Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products." Actual OES data is provided in even greater detail than above. The OES tool can be found at

Wage Data, Updated to First Quarter, 2014
Geography Employment Mean Wage 10th (Percentile) 25th Median 75th 90th
Minnesota 6,310 $43.92/hr $23.16/hr $30.87/hr $40.77/hr $54.02/hr $68.14/hr
U.S. 352,830 $41.48/hr $18.07/hr $25.06/hr $36.11/hr $51.48/hr $70.61/hr
Leading Industries for Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products
Industry OES Employment OES Median Wage
Trade, Transportation and Utilities 2,330 $42.84/hr
Manufacturing 2,240 $37.56/hr
Professional and Business Services 1,480 N/A
Financial Activities 220 $36.76/hr
Geography Employment Median Wage
Minnesota 6,310 $40.77/hr
Minneapolis-Saint Paul MSA 5,410 $41.41/hr
Fargo-Moorhead MSA 230 $40.06/hr
Rochester MSA 70 $33.28/hr
Saint Cloud MSA 70 $33.96/hr
Mankato-North Mankato MSA 70 $32.11/hr
La Crosse, WI - MN MSA 60 $25.38/hr
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