Occupational Employment Statistics

Technical Notes for May 2013 OES Estimates

Scope of the survey

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey is a semiannual mail survey measuring occupational employment and wage rates for wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments in the United States. OES data available from BLS include cross-industry occupational employment and wage estimates for the nation; over 500 areas, including states and the District of Columbia, metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), metropolitan divisions, nonmetropolitan areas, and territories; national industry-specific estimates at the NAICS sector, 3-, 4-, and selected 5- and 6-digit industry levels; and national estimates by ownership across all industries and for schools and hospitals.

The OES survey is a cooperative effort between BLS and the State Workforce Agencies (SWAs). BLS funds the survey and provides the procedures and technical support, while the State Workforce Agencies collect most of the data. OES estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.2 million establishments. Each year, forms are mailed to two semiannual panels of approximately 200,000 sampled establishments, one panel in May and the other in November. May 2013 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2013, November 2012, May 2012, November 2011, May 2011, and November 2010. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 75.3 percent based on establishments and 71.6 percent based on employment. The unweighted employment of sampled establishments across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 57.5 percent of total national employment. (Response rates are slightly lower for these estimates due to the Federal shutdown in October 2013.)

The occupational coding system

The OES survey categorizes workers into 821 detailed occupations based on the 2010 Office of Management and Budget