The Occupational Employment Statistics (OEWS) survey is a semi-annual survey measuring occupational employment and wage rates for wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments. In November 2003, the OEWS survey changed from an annual survey of 7,000 establishments to a semiannual survey of 3,500 establishments. Currently, the OEWS 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 OEWS 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 OEWS survey began using the Office of Management and Budget's occupational classification system, the Standard Occupational Classification system (SOC). The OEWS 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 2021 survey was 56 percent for sampled establishments and 76 percent for sampled employment.
Most of the data were collected electronically, either by email or over the Internet. Survey schedules or solicitation letters were initially mailed out to all sample establishments. Three additional mailings were sent to non-respondents at approximately four-week intervals. Telephone follow-ups and, in some cases, personal visit follow-ups were made for those nonrespondents considered critical to the success of the survey.
Employment is the estimate of total wage and salary employment in an occupation.
Wages for the OEWS 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.
The survey collects the wage information in twelve intervals that 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).