Occupational Requirements Survey technical note
Last Modified Date: May 28, 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
Sample size: The ORS is a nationally representative establishment-based survey. Estimates are produced from
a probability sample of 10,000 establishments. There were 6,900 private industry and state and local
government responding establishments that provided approximately 33,300 occupational observations. The 2019
estimates represent 141,915,000 civilian workers.
These estimates are from one 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
Major terms: Additional terminology and concepts are explained in the collection manual at
082018.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).
Crowds - Working around crowds is present when the following five conditions are met: (1) many unfamiliar
people are present considering the space available, (2) movement is restricted, (3) any given arrangement of
the crowd is temporary, (4) a certain level of disorganization is present, and (5) workers are not separated
from unfamiliar people by counters, dividers, or other objects.
General public - Includes interacting with individuals other than coworkers to perform critical tasks.
Strength levels - Reflect the amount of weight workers are required to lift or carry, how often, and whether
standing or walking is required to perform critical tasks in the workday. The strength levels indicate
whether physical requirements are considered as sedentary, light work, medium work, heavy work, and very