Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I submit an electronic file or printout with my
employees' job titles and wages instead of filling out the form?
Yes. You can fax or mail a printout of your data, or email an
electronic file. Contact your
state agency for specific instructions. If you have an IDCF number,
you can securely upload your data file via the Occupational
Employment Statistics Internet Data Collection Facility at https://idcfoes.bls.gov.
Can I complete the form online?
Yes, you can enter your data online at https://idcfoes.bls.gov.
Contact your State office
with any questions or to obtain your IDCF number.
Can I send my information by e-mail?
If you wish, you can e-mail an electronic file containing the data we
have requested. E-mail addresses are found on our contacts
Can I phone in my data?
Yes. Just give us a call and we will be happy to take your data over
the phone. See our contacts
page for a list of State agency phone numbers.
What is the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)
The OES Survey collects data from a sample of establishments and
calculates employment estimates by occupation, industry, and geographic
area. The survey covers all non-farm industries. Data are collected by
the State Workforce Agencies in cooperation with the Bureau of
Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor. The OES Program
estimates employment and wages for nearly 800 occupations for
all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the US
Virgin Islands, and Guam, as well as the nation as a whole. It
also produces employment and wage estimates for Metropolitan
Statistical Areas (MSAs), and for specific industries.
What are some important uses of the Occupational
Employment Statistics survey?
The following are some of the more common uses.
Data about employment are used to:
- Spotlight emerging or declining occupations.
- Identify the types of skilled workers in the market.
- Develop national and state occupational employment
Data about wages are used to:
- Compare wages by occupation, industry, and area.
- Compare wages among metropolitan areas, states and territories.
- Make informed business decisions.
Data in general are used to:
- Identify where vocational and educational programs are needed to
reflect current and future skill needs.
- Determine funding for training programs by comparing current and
projected occupational demands.
- Assist students, job seekers, and military personnel transitioning
into civilian life.
Are the data I provide confidential?
Yes! Your information and identity are kept in strict confidence in
accordance with Bureau of Labor
Statistics Data Integrity Guidelines and with the Confidentiality
Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA) of
When reporting data on the survey form, do not include
employee names or their social security numbers.
Will I be penalized for not responding?
In most States, there is no penalty for not responding. Your response
is vital to the statistical validity of this occupational wage
study. We are prepared to assist you in completing the
questionnaire. The survey is mandatory in Colorado, Connecticut, District of
Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, New Hampshire, North Carolina,
Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina (20+ employees), Vermont,
Why have I been chosen to participate in this
A sample of businesses is statistically selected twice a year from a
list of all US employers. Your business was selected to represent
other businesses of similar size in the same area and industry.
That's why your response is critical.
What establishments are covered? We have multiple
establishments and work sites, some in other States. Which should we
- If you received more than one form, report only for the work site
address shown in Item 3 on the front page.
- If you received only one form, and the instruction
says "Report for: All Statewide employees," or
something similar, report for all your work sites in that
- Please contact your State
office if you're not sure what to do.
Which employees should we include in the
- Full or part-time paid workers
- Workers on paid leave
- Workers assigned temporarily to other units
- Paid owners, officers, and staff of incorporated
Do NOT include:
- Contractors and temporary agency employees not on your payroll
- Unpaid family workers
- Workers on unpaid leave
- Proprietors, owners, and partners of unincorporated
- Workers not covered by unemployment insurance
Should I report my employees' names? What about
social security numbers?
NO! When reporting data on the survey form, do not use
employee names or their social security number.
When is the form due? How much time do I have to
complete the report?
We ask that you complete the questionnaire within the next two weeks,
if possible. Please note the reference date indicated in Box #1 of
the form (either November 12 or May 12) and kindly provide us
with information for this timeframe. If you need additional time
to complete the questionnaire, please contact
one of our representatives.
We have employees with multiple job duties; what
job should we classify them in?
- Report employees in the occupation that requires the highest level
of skill, if they perform work in two or more
- If there is no measurable difference in skill requirements, report
employees in the occupation in which they spend the most
How should we report part-time workers?
- Report part-time workers in the job they perform, along with your
full-time workers in the same occupation.
- Please report their hourly wage rate, not the average weekly
or annual wage.
How do we report apprentices?
Report apprentices in the job for which they are being trained.
What about workers that have specific job training
but are working in a different job?
Report employees in the occupations in which they are working, not
necessarily in occupations for which they have been trained. For example:
An employee trained as an engineer but working as a drafter should
be reported as a drafter.
What is included when calculating wages?
Please INCLUDE with pay the following:
Please EXCLUDE from pay the following:
Should we use hourly rates or annual salaries?
- Full-time employees: Use whichever is easier to
report, hourly rates or annual salary.
- Part-time workers: Report their hourly rate.
- Salaried workers on contract: Report their annual
- Salaried workers with non-standard work hours:
Report their hourly rate.
- What is a full-time worker? For most occupations,
it's someone who works 2,080 hours a year, including paid
vacations (40 hrs/wk times 52 weeks).
- Need help calculating a wage? For non-standard work
schedules, you can download
an Excel file containing formulas that will assist
you. (Note: The Excel file is in a ZIP file. How
to open Zip files.)
How should I report wages for commission or tipped
For tip, commission, and piece-rate workers, please estimate the total
earnings (base pay plus tips, commissions, or piece rates), and
report the appropriate wage.
Who can I contact for help filling out the
We have prepared a list of contacts in State offices for your
convenience. Please feel free to contact your State office for
Last Modified Date: June 22, 2017