Occupational wages are one of the most useful and sought after data elements provided by the Idaho Department of Labor. Whether someone is exploring careers, preparing for wage negotiations or researching the competitiveness of a company’s wage against the market, wage information is readily available on more than 750 Idaho occupations and 800 nationally.
Several websites offer varying types of wage data, but the source that is the most encompassing – including data for the U.S., the 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Washington, D.C. – is the Occupational Employment Statistics program on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website at www.bls.gov.oes. Each state and territory publishes this data on their own labor market information websites. For example, lmi.idaho.gov is the primary online source for Idaho-specific data.
Comparing median wage data for each area of the state is a good place to start. A median wage is the point where 50 percent of workers make more and 50 percent make less. Using welders as an example, the median wage in the Boise metropolitan area is $14.72 per hour, about 11 percent lower than the state’s median of $16.44, as shown in Table 1. By city, Idaho Falls offers the highest median wage at $19.61 per hour – 19 percent above the state’s median wage and 33 percent above Boise’s.