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The 2010 SOC: A classification system gets an update

As the workforce evolves, so must the tools used to describe it. The Federal Government unveils an update for classifying occupations.

Making sense of occupational data isnít always easy. But the task is less daunting when the data are well organized. For Federal occupational statistics, the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system establishes that organization. And a recent revision to the SOC means that the data will be current, in addition to being well organized.

The SOC assists Federal statistical agen¨cies in organizing the occupational data they collect, tabulate, and analyze. By classifying jobs into occupational catego¨ries, the SOC provides a standardized way for agencies to share their data.

This article explains the origins of occu¨pational classification, the process for revising the latest SOC, and the results of that revision. It describes the kinds of changes the new SOC incorporates and how the updated system compares with its most recent predecessor. A final section discusses plans for future revi¨sions and where to find more information.

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: September 29, 2010