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Update on the Evaluation of Sample Design Issues in the National Compensation Survey

Gwyn R. Ferguson, Chester H. Ponikowski, and Joan Coleman


The National Compensation Survey is conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to compute measures of the pay and benefits for America's workers. The current survey uses a three-stage sample design to select samples of areas, establishments, and jobs for which wage and benefit data are collected periodically over a five-year rotation. In recent years, several potential changes to this design have been explored to increase survey efficiency, adjust to budget changes, reduce respondent burden, and reduce design complexity. Design areas that have been studied include sample rotation, allocation, sample frame preparation, establishment selection, and sample initiation scheduling. This paper will update the discussion of these issues, describe the alternative approaches that have been explored, present results from the recent design research, and present the recommended changes to the general survey design. The work in this paper updates and significantly expands upon the work presented in 2010 JSM Paper "Evaluating Sample Design Issues in the National Compensation Survey".