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Frequently Asked Questions

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OES data overview

Definitions, concepts, and classification

Data we have

How to get OES data

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A. OES data overview

OES TOPICS

1. What does the OES program produce?

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2. What are the OES data used for?

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3. What is the difference between industry-specific and cross-industry estimates? 4. Why does the OES program produce estimates from more than one year's data?

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5. How is the OES survey conducted?

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6. When will this year's OES estimates be available?

B. Data we have Subscribe to the OES Update



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1. Does OES have estimates for specific industries? 2. Does OES have estimates for individual States? 3. Does OES have estimates for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas?

C. Data we do not have

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1. Does OES produce estimates by age, race, sex, education, or any other demographic characteristics? 2. Does OES produce estimates by size of establishment? 3. Does OES have any data on unemployment for specific occupations? 4. Does OES have any information on job vacancies?

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5. Does OES have occupational employment projections or information on occupational outlook?

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6. Does OES have occupational employment estimates that include the self-employed? 7. Are OES industry and public/private ownership data available beyond the national level--for states and metropolitan / nonmetropolitan areas? 8. Do the OES wage estimates include benefits?

D. Definitions, concepts, and classifications

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1. What is the difference between an establishment, an industry, and an occupation? 2. How are "employees" defined by the OES survey? 3. How are "wages" defined by the OES survey? 4. What are mean wages? What are median wages? 5. How does OES classify occupations? 6. Is the OES classification system compatible with other occupational classification systems? 7. What is the latest news about the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) revision? 8. How does the OES program define industry classifications? What is the NAICS? What do the "OES designations" for government industries mean? 9. What industries are surveyed? What industries are not surveyed? 10. What is a Location Quotient? 11. Where can Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Definitions be found? 12. What is the SOC? 13. How are workers classified into occupations under the Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) system? Can the OES program provide classification determinations for non-statistical purposes, such as prevailing wages?

E. How to get OES data

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1. Where can OES estimates be found? 2. Are OES estimates available in print form? 3. What are the different ways to obtain OES estimates from this website? 4. Are OES data available for previous years?

F. Other important information about OES data

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1. Can OES data be used to compare changes in employment or wages over time? 2. How should OES data be cited? 3. Why does the sum of the areas within a State not equal the statewide employment? 4. Why are there no estimates for a particular occupation in a specific area or industry? 5. Why don't the major group or "all occupations" employment totals equal the sum of the employment estimates for detailed occupations? 6. What kind of public/private ownership data does OES have? 7. Can OES data be used to compare private and government pay for similar work? 8. How were the occupations in the May 2010 and May 2011 estimates created from data based on the 2000 and 2010 SOC codes? 9. Can I use OES data to obtain prevailing wages for foreign labor certification or federal contracts? Last Modified Date: March 31, 2017

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U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics | Division of Occupational Employment Statistics, PSB Suite 2135, 2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE Washington, DC 20212-0001 www.bls.gov/OES | Telephone: 1-202-691-6569 | Contact OES

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FAQ - Bureau of Labor Statistics

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