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 November 2002, the OES survey changed from an annual survey of 7,000 establishments to a semiannual survey of 3,500 establishments. Currently, the OES survey samples 3,000 establishments in May and November of each year and, over 3 years, contacts approximately 18,000 establishments. The full three-year sample allows the production of estimates at fine levels of geographic, industrial, and occupational detail.
The OES survey covers all full-time and part-time wage and salary workers in nonfarm industries. The survey does not include the self-employed, owners and partners in unincorporated firms, household workers, or unpaid family workers.
In 1999, the OES survey began using the Office of Management and Budget's occupational classification system, the Standard Occupational Classification system (SOC). The OES survey categorizes workers in one of about 800 detailed occupations. Together, these detailed occupations comprise 22 major occupational groups. The major groups of the SOC system are as follows:
- Management occupations
- Business and financial operations occupations
- Computer and mathematical occupations
- Architecture and engineering occupations
- Life, physical, and social science occupations
- Community and social services occupations
- Legal occupations
- Education, training, and library occupations
- Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations
- Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations
- Healthcare support occupations
- Protective service occupations
- Food preparation and serving related occupations
- Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations
- Personal care and service occupations
- Sales and related occupations
- Office and administrative support occupations
- Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations
- Construction, and extraction occupations
- Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations
- Production occupations
- Transportation and material moving occupations
- Military specific occupations (not surveyed in OES)
The statewide response rate for the May 2010 survey was 75 percent for establishments, covering 72 percent of weighted employment.
Data were collected primarily by mail. Survey schedules were initially mailed out to most of the sample establishments while personal visits were made to some of the larger companies. Two additional mailings were sent to nonrespondents at approximately three-week intervals. Telephone follow-ups and, in some cases, personal visit follow-ups were made for those nonrespondents considered critical to the survey due to their size.
Employment is the estimate of total wage and salary employment in an occupation across the industries in which it was reported. The OES survey form sent to an establishment contains between 50 and 225 SOC occupations selected on the basis of the industry classification and size class of the sampled establishments. Each survey form is structured to allow a respondent to provide information for each detailed occupation employed at the establishment; that is, unlisted occupations can be added to the survey form.
Wages for the OES survey are straight-time, gross pay, exclusive of premium pay. Base rate, cost-of-living allowances, guaranteed pay, hazardous-duty pay, incentive pay including commissions and production bonuses, tips, and on-call pay are included. Excluded are back pay, jury duty pay, overtime pay, severance pay, shift differentials, nonproduction bonuses, employer cost of supplementary benefits, and tuition reimbursements.
Each industry-specific questionnaire contained a grid of occupational titles, grouped by occupational division, with twelve wage ranges and a total column. Employers were asked to indicate the number of workers they employed in each wage range by occupation. Workers performing the functions of more than one occupation were to be classified in the occupation with the highest level of skill; or, if there was no measurable difference in skill requirements, workers were to be classified in the occupation in which they spent most of their time.
The wage intervals are defined both as hourly rates and the corresponding annual rates, where the annual rates are constructed by multiplying the hourly wage rate for the interval by the typical work year of 2,080 hours. In reporting, the respondent can reference either the hourly or the annual rate, but is instructed to report the hourly rate for part-time workers. Wage interval endpoints are determined by using the wage rate data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Compensation Survey (NCS). In the case of the open-ended lower interval (Range A), Connecticut's 2010 minimum wage of $8.25 was used as the interval's starting point.