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National Compensation Survey (NCS) Respondents
OCS OCS Program Links

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is the National Compensation Survey?

    The National Compensation Survey (NCS) is conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to collect data on wages and benefits for America’s workforce. The survey produces two measures of labor costs: the Employment Cost Index and Employer Costs for Employee Compensation. In addition, it provides data on access to employer-provided benefits and the features of benefit plans.

  2. Why is this survey important?

    The National Compensation Survey is an essential source of data for the government and private industry. Business owners, human resource professionals, and policymakers rely on the data to make decisions. The survey data also affect the lives of Americans both personally and professionally.

  3. Why was I chosen to participate?

    The quality of our statistics depends on the number and diversity of firms in our sample. Your establishment was randomly selected using a scientific process based on your geographic area and specific business characteristics. Your company represents many others in your industry; therefore, your participation is essential for ensuring that this survey’s results accurately reflect the economic and social conditions of our country.

  4. How long will this survey take to complete?

    The time varies and depends on company size, the complexity of payroll systems, and benefit offerings. The first data collection interview takes the longest. Quarterly updates are much quicker and average 5-10 minutes.

  5. What methods are there to provide data?

    A BLS field economist will contact you to discuss your preferred method to provide data. Several methods are available, including mail, fax, telephone, and a personal interview with the field economist. Electronic options include email and online through the Bureau of Labor Statistics Internet Data Capture Facility.

  6. If I have questions or concerns about the survey, whom should I contact?

    The field economist assigned to you is an expert in wages and benefits. You can ask him or her any questions or concerns you may have. The field economist’s name on the introductory letter or on the cover sheet of the update form sent to you in the mail. The contact information is also on the BLS email template your field economist sent you if you were contracted by email.

    To contact your regional office, see Contacts.

  7. How often is this survey updated?

    BLS conducts quarterly wage and benefit updates over a 6-week period for the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month for March, June, September, and December.

  8. How can I verify that the person who called me is from the National Compensation Survey?

    Anyone contacting you about participating in the National Compensation Survey will:

    • Display their official U.S. Department of Labor identification badge which contains their photograph when visiting your company
    • Identify themselves as an employee of the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
    • State the name of the survey when telling you the purpose of their call or visit

    On request, field economists will provide an introductory letter from a BLS Regional Commissioner, printed on official letterhead from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    If you would want to confirm the identity of anyone contacting you about the National Compensation Survey, please call your regional office so they may address your concerns. Please see our regional contacts page.

    Please note: It is a federal crime for anyone to pretend they work for the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Section 912 of Title 18, U.S. Code, states that anyone pretending to be a government employee shall be fined and/or imprisoned for up to three years.

  9. Related FAQ Pages


    Last Modified Date: July 31, 2018