Occupational Requirements Survey Technical Note
Last Modified Date: December 22, 2020
The Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS) provides job-related information about the physical demands;
environmental conditions; education, training, and experience; as well as cognitive and mental requirements
in the U.S. economy.
Additional job requirement estimates are available at www.bls.gov/web/ors/ors-complete-dataset.xlsx and
www.bls.gov/ors/data.htm. For information on estimation concepts and methods see the Handbook of Methods at
www.bls.gov/opub/hom/ors/home.htm and www.bls.gov/ors/questions-and-answers.htm.
Sample size: The ORS is a nationally representative establishment-based survey. Estimates are produced from
a probability sample of 20,000 establishments. There were 10,400 private industry and 2,300 state and local
government responding establishments that provided approximately 59,700 occupational observations. The 2020
estimates represent 128,529,000 civilian workers.
These estimates are from two of five sample groups and are considered preliminary. Data from all five sample
groups collected between September 2018 and July 2023 will be aggregated to produce the final estimates with
an expected reference year of 2023.
Standard errors: To assist users in ascertaining the reliability of ORS estimates, standard errors are made
available with the release. Standard errors provide users a measure of the precision of an estimate to ensure
that it is within an acceptable range for their intended purpose.
Collected and imputed data are included in the standard error calculation. For further information and how to
use the standard errors see www.bls.gov/ors/se.htm.
Major terms: Additional terminology and concepts are explained in the collection manual at
082019.pdf and the Handbook of Methods at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/ors/home.htm.
Critical job function - This is the main purpose and the primary pay factor for the job. It consists of
critical tasks that are integral to the job.
Critical tasks - Activities workers must perform to carry out their critical job function(s).
Sitting is present when workers remain in a seated position or are lying down. When workers may choose
between sitting and standing, that work time is included in sitting for the hours and percent of workday
Standing is present when workers are walking or in low postures.
Choice of sitting or standing is present when workers can alternate between positions, and three conditions
exist: (1) workers typically have the flexibility to choose between sitting and standing throughout the
workday; (2) there are no assigned periods during the workday to sit or stand; and (3) no external factors
determine whether workers must sit or stand.