Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I submit an electronic file or printout with my employees' job titles and wages instead of filling out the form?
Yes. You can fax or mail a printout of your data, or email an electronic file. Contact your state agency for specific instructions. If you have an IDCF number, you can securely upload your data file via the Occupational Employment Statistics Internet Data Collection Facility at https://idcfoes.bls.gov.
Can I complete the form online?
Yes, you can enter your data online at https://idcfoes.bls.gov. Contact your State office with any questions or to obtain your IDCF number.
Can I send my information by e-mail?
If you wish, you can e-mail an electronic file containing the data we have requested. E-mail addresses are found on our contacts page.
Can I phone in my data?
Yes. Just give us a call and we will be happy to take your data over the phone. See our contacts page for a list of State agency phone numbers.
What is the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey?
The OES Survey collects data from a sample of establishments and calculates employment estimates by occupation, industry, and geographic area. The survey covers all non-farm industries. Data are collected by the State Workforce Agencies in cooperation with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor. The OES Program estimates employment and wages for nearly 800 occupations for all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Guam, as well as the nation as a whole. It also produces employment and wage estimates for Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), and for specific industries.
What are some important uses of the Occupational Employment Statistics survey?
The following are some of the more common uses.
Data about employment are used to:
- Spotlight emerging or declining occupations.
- Identify the types of skilled workers in the market.
- Develop national and state occupational employment projections.
Data about wages are used to:
- Compare wages by occupation, industry, and area.
- Compare wages among metropolitan areas, states and territories.
- Make informed business decisions.
Data in general are used to:
- Identify where vocational and educational programs are needed to reflect current and future skill needs.
- Determine funding for training programs by comparing current and projected occupational demands.
- Assist students, job seekers, and military personnel transitioning into civilian life.
Are the data I provide confidential?
Yes! Your information and identity are kept in strict confidence in accordance with Bureau of Labor Statistics Data Integrity Guidelines and with the Confidentiality Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA) of 2002.
When reporting data on the survey form, do not include employee names or their social security numbers.
Will I be penalized for not responding?
In most States, there is no penalty for not responding. Your response is vital to the statistical validity of this occupational wage study. We are prepared to assist you in completing the questionnaire. The survey is mandatory in Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Vermont, and Wyoming.
Why have I been chosen to participate in this survey?
A sample of businesses is statistically selected twice a year from a list of all US employers. Your business was selected to represent other businesses of similar size in the same area and industry. That's why your response is critical.
What establishments are covered? We have multiple establishments and work sites, some in other States. Which should we report for?
- If you received more than one form, report only for the work site address shown in Item 3 on the front page.
- If you received only one form, and the instruction says "Report for: All Statewide employees," or something similar, report for all your work sites in that State.
- Please contact your State office if you're not sure what to do.
Which employees should we include in the report?
- Full or part-time paid workers
- Workers on paid leave
- Workers assigned temporarily to other units
- Paid owners, officers, and staff of incorporated firms
Do NOT include:
- Contractors and temporary agency employees not on your payroll
- Unpaid family workers
- Workers on unpaid leave
- Proprietors, owners, and partners of unincorporated firms
- Workers not covered by unemployment insurance
Should I report my employees' names? What about social security numbers?
NO! When reporting data on the survey form, do not use employee names or their social security number.
When is the form due? How much time do I have to complete the report?
We ask that you complete the questionnaire within the next two weeks, if possible. Please note the reference date indicated in Box #1 of the form (either November 12 or May 12) and kindly provide us with information for this timeframe. If you need additional time to complete the questionnaire, please contact one of our representatives.
We have employees with multiple job duties; what job should we classify them in?
- Report employees in the occupation that requires the highest level of skill, if they perform work in two or more occupations.
- If there is no measurable difference in skill requirements, report employees in the occupation in which they spend the most time.
How should we report part-time workers?
- Report part-time workers in the job they perform, along with your full-time workers in the same occupation.
- Please report their hourly wage rate, not the average weekly or annual wage.
How do we report apprentices?
Report apprentices in the job for which they are being trained.
What about workers that have specific job training but are working in a different job?
Report employees in the occupations in which they are working, not necessarily in occupations for which they have been trained. For example: An employee trained as an engineer but working as a drafter should be reported as a drafter.
What is included when calculating wages?
Please INCLUDE with pay the following:
Please EXCLUDE from pay the following:
Should we use hourly rates or annual salaries?
- Full-time employees: Use whichever is easier to report, hourly rates or annual salary.
- Part-time workers: Report their hourly rate.
- Salaried workers on contract: Report their annual salary.
- Salaried workers with non-standard work hours: Report their hourly rate.
- What is a full-time worker? For most occupations, it's someone who works 2,080 hours a year, including paid vacations (40 hrs/wk times 52 weeks).
- Need help calculating a wage? For non-standard work schedules, you can download an Excel file containing formulas that will assist you. (Note: The Excel file is in a ZIP file. How to open Zip files.)
How should I report wages for commission or tipped workers?
For tip, commission, and piece-rate workers, please estimate the total earnings (base pay plus tips, commissions, or piece rates), and report the appropriate wage.
Who can I contact for help filling out the form?
We have prepared a list of contacts in State offices for your convenience. Please feel free to contact your State office for assistance.
Last Modified Date: January 14, 2015