On Wednesday, May 18th, 2016, The Obama Administration announced a significant expansion of who qualifies for overtime pay under federal labor laws. The Department of Labor has issued the Final Rule, which centers primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for executive, administrative and professional workers to be exempt from overtime pay protections.

The Final Rule increases the salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476, which is the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region of the United States. The Department of Labor projects the policy to extend overtime protections to an additional 4.2 million workers, as anyone earning less than the salary threshold is now eligible for overtime payments.

The Final Rule also sets the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees at $134,004, which is the annual equivalent of the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the United States. The Final Rule also amends the salary basis test to allow employers to utilize non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments to account for up to 10% of the new standard salary level. Lastly,  the ruling establishes a procedure for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every three years to maintain the levels at the 40th and 90th percentiles of earnings.

The Final Rule will take effect on December 1, 2016, giving employers over six months to prepare and adjust their payment policies. In response, employers will have the options to pay time-and-a-half for overtime work, raise workers’ salaries above the new salary threshold, limit workers’ hours to 40 hours per week, or a combination of the above.

For more information on the new overtime ruling, please visit http://www.dol.gov/featured/overtime.

Video from the Department of Labor:


The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), provides employment and wage information by occupation and geographic location. Hourly and annual mean and median wages are available for more than 800 different occupations at the national, regional, state, and MSA level.

According to the latest OES news release, the healthcare industry employed 12 million people in May 2015, which represents nearly 9% of the nation’s total employment. Registered nurses (2.7 million), nursing assistants (1.4 million), and home health aides (820,630) were the largest healthcare occupations.

For more information, please refer to www.bls.gov/oes


healthcareThe health care and social assistance industry gained 9,200 jobs from August 2015 to September 2015. Compared to September 2014, the cumulative number of jobs added in this industry is 67,000, an annual increase of 5.0%.

Source: http://www.tracer2.com/admin/uploadedPublications/2138_TLMR-Current_Edition.pdf

Image source: http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2012/01/06/health-care-sector-adds-jobs-as-overall-employment-picture-looks-healthier/

texas-oil-and-gas-imageThe oil and gas extraction industry in Texas lost 900 jobs from August 2015 to September 2015. Compared to September 2014, the cumulative number of jobs lost in this industry is 1,800, a decrease of 1.7%.

Source: http://www.tracer2.com/admin/uploadedPublications/2138_TLMR-Current_Edition.pdf

Image Source: http://www.eliteexploration.com/texas-oil-gas-companies/

In this post, we look at the weekly overtime (OT) hours typically worked by those who work in retail sales occupations, specifically in electronics stores. Many of the employees that work in these jobs are not exempt from FLSA overtime pay and earn 1.5 times pay for hours worked over 40 in a given week. The tabulations below are based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey data. The BLS job title groups are insightful, generally containing more specific job titles with similar knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA), but can be more broad than a particular company’s job title listing. Also, some companies may have the job title listed here as exempt from FLSA or state OT due to their specific job assignments. The BLS does not make a distinction as to if the job title is exempt or non-exempt from OT.

Occupational Group Title Percent of OT Workers Average Hours of OT 1 out of every 4 (25%) OT workers works at least:
Retail Sales Workers in Electronics Stores 17.95% 12.14 hours 60 hours

U.S. BLS data indicates that approximately 17.95% of retail salespersons in electronic stores work overtime hours in a given week.  On average, these workers that have FLSA overtime work approximately 12.14 hours a week in OT. The average regular or straight time pay rate of these workers in the U.S. is approximately $13.89 an hour.  The average FLSA OT rate, not including supplemental pay such as non-discretionary bonus pay, is $20.84 an hour.

Source: BLS (CPS March)

Working with wage and hour data and employment data, like we do on a daily basis involves the analysis of very large data sets.  Big data and employment data are often one in the same.  STATA has a very useful command that allows you to load in large Excel 2007/2010 spreadsheet files.  It is:

set excelxlsxlargefile on

This simple command allows the user to bypass the pre-set limit on spreadsheet size.

Just remember, STATA and your computer will be unresponsive during the load.  So be patient and let it all load up.


petroleum engineerThe number of job openings in Texas for “petroleum engineers” and “geological and petroleum technicians” decreased from 661 in April 2015 to 639 in May 2015, while the searcher-to-job opening ratio increased from 1.97 to 2.16 in the same span.


The number of job openings in Texas for “derrick operators” and “roustabouts” decreased from 181 in April 2015 to 171 in May 2015, while the searcher-to-job opening ratio increased from 2.29 to 2.54 in the same span.


Source: BLS

Image source: http://wonderfulengineering.com/what-is-petroleum-engineering/

All 4 of the largest MSAs (metropolitan statistical areas) in California experienced a decrease in job openings for the month of May.

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim

The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim MSA experienced a decrease of 12,517 job openings in May 2015, a 7.61% change from April 2015.

Month Total Openings Percent Monthly Change
Jun-14 129,782 0.19
Jul-14 137,333 5.82
Aug-14 136,939 -0.29
Sep-14 112,657 -17.73
Oct-14 121,598 7.94
Nov-14 108,123 -11.08
Dec-14 104,302 -3.53
Jan-15 140,013 34.24
Feb-15 137,967 -1.46
Mar-15 141,983 2.91
Apr-15 164,525 15.88
May-15 152,008 -7.61

San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont

The San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont MSA experienced a decrease of 6,240 job openings in May 2015, an 7.39% change from April 2015.

Month Total Openings Percent Monthly Change
Jun-14 66,213 0.65
Jul-14 69,790 5.4
Aug-14 69,209 -0.83
Sep-14 58,567 -15.38
Oct-14 63,065 7.68
Nov-14 56,940 -9.71
Dec-14 54,986 -3.43
Jan-15 72,089 31.11
Feb-15 70,884 -1.67
Mar-15 72,887 2.83
Apr-15 84,472 15.89
May-15 78,232 -7.39

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario
The Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario MSA experienced a decrease of 4,167 job openings in May 2015, an 6.72% change from April 2015.

Month Total Openings Percent Monthly Change
Jun-14 49,141 0.42
Jul-14 52,360 6.55
Aug-14 51,924 -0.83
Sep-14 40,018 -22.93
Oct-14 42,870 7.13
Nov-14 38,138 -11.04
Dec-14 37,377 -2.00
Jan-15 52,811 41.29
Feb-15 52,141 -1.27
Mar-15 53,849 3.27
Apr-15 62,004 15.15
May-15 57,837 -6.72

San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos

The San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos MSA experienced a decrease of 4,027 job openings in May 2015, an 6.97% change from April 2015.

Month Total Openings Percent Monthly Change
Jun-14 46,681 0.71
Jul-14 49,258 5.52
Aug-14 49,007 -0.51
Sep-14 41,343 -15.64
Oct-14 44,408 7.41
Nov-14 39,956 -10.02
Dec-14 38,937 -2.55
Jan-15 49,272 26.54
Feb-15 48,492 -1.58
Mar-15 49,955 3.02
Apr-15 57,749 15.6
May-15 53,722 -6.97

Source: BLS