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Selecting an Alternative Sample for the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics Survey

David Piccone, Sertan Akinci, and Ethan Ertel


In 2014 the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) performed a feasibility study to determine if respondents to their survey were willing to provide additional data items. The results from this study were promising, leading to a follow-up test that began in 2022. For the follow-up test, the program wanted a sample that would allow the participating states to create annual estimates for their additional data items. This requires an alternative sample design since the current OEWS sample does not allow for annual estimates. A major requirement of the alternative sample is that it must maximally overlap with the official OEWS sample, to keep the cost of collecting additional units down. Another requirement is that the alternative sample must be selected in two bi-annual panels which correspond to the official OEWS sample collection periods. This results in about half of the sample being collected approximately six months after selection, requiring updating procedures for the alternative sample. In this paper, we describe the details of designing this alternative sample and its updating procedures for the OEWS program.