Occupational Employment and Wages

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Massachusetts occupational employment and wage data are derived from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program (OEWS), a program operated in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. The data are collected statewide and for seven Metropolitan New England City and Town Statistical Areas (NECTA's).

In addition, the Department of Economic Research produces occupational employment and wages for the Commonwealth's 16 Workforce Development Areas (WDA's) and nine Metropolitan NECTA Divisions. Though these estimates are produced using the BLS methodology, they are not official BLS estimates.

NOTE TO DATA USERS: As of April 4, 2022, the May 2021 survey data are available.

The May 2021 estimates do not fully reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Estimates for a given reference period are based on a sample of business establishments collected in six semiannual panels for three consecutive years. Each year, two new semiannual survey panels are added, and the two oldest panels are dropped. Older panel wage data are aged to reflect the reference date of the estimates, and employment data are benchmarked to reflect known employment for the average of the two most recent panels. Using six data panels to produce each set of estimates allows data to be produced at very detailed levels of occupation, geography, and industry, but also means that sudden changes in staffing patterns or wages are reflected in the OEWS estimates only gradually.

The May 2021 employment and wage estimates were calculated using data collected in the May 2021, November 2020, May 2020, November 2019, May 2019, and November 2018 semiannual panels. Because three of the six survey panels used to produce the estimates date from before the COVID-19 pandemic, only the three most recent survey panels (May 2021, November 2020, May 2020) reflect changes in occupational proportions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For additional information about the effect of the pandemic on OEWS estimates:
https://www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-occupational-employment-and-wage-statistics.htm

The May 2021 estimates are the first OEWS estimates to be based entirely on survey data collected using the 2018 Standard Occupational Classifications (SOC). May 2021 OEWS data are available for most 2018 SOC detailed occupations. To improve data quality, the OEWS program aggregates some occupations to the SOC broad occupation level or as OEWS-specific combinations of 2018 SOC detailed occupations. These include home health aides and personal care aides, for which OEWS will publish only the 2018 SOC broad occupation 31-1120 Home Health and Personal Care Aides.

With the May 2021 estimates, the OEWS program has implemented a new estimation method. This model-based method, called MB3, has advantages over the previous estimation method, as described in this Monthly Labor Review article.

For Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics methodology: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_tec.htm


For assistance, please email Department of Economic Research.

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