Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Implementing the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification in the Occupational Employment Statistics Program

Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Implementing the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification in the Occupational Employment Statistics Program

Article excerpt

The May 2012 Occupational Employment Statistics release introduced data for several newly defined occupations, such as nurse practitioners, web developers, and fundraisers; however, revisions to the Standard Occupational Classification system also caused more subtle changes in occupations that are not new to the classification system

Nurse practitioners earned an annual mean wage of $91,450 in May 2012, nearly $24,000 more than registered nurses who are not advanced practice nurses. Annual mean wages for web developers were less than $45,000 in West Virginia and Montana but more than $75,000 in Maryland, New York, and the District of Columbia. State colleges and universities employed 42 percent fewer fundraisers than private sector colleges, despite higher overall employment.

Nurse practitioners, web developers, and fundraisers were among the occupations for which the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program published data for the first time as part of the May 2012 OES estimates release, which occurred on March 29, 2013. All of these occupations were added as part of the 2010 revision of the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system, used by federal government agencies producing statistical data. Although the OES program began implementing the 2010 SOC with the May 2010 OES release, because of unique features of the OES methodology, data for some new 2010 SOC occupations could not be published until the release of the May 2012 estimates. This article pro vides an overview of the implementation of the 2010 SOC in the OES program. The first half of the article presents data highlights for occupations published for the first time in the May 2012 OES estimates. The remainder outlines the implementation process; provides examples of different types of revisions to the SOC structure, ranging from minor editing changes to the addition of new occupations; and discusses the effects of these revisions on the OES data.

Data highlights for new 2010 SOC occupations

In addition to introducing nurse practitioners (an advanced practice nursing occupation), web developers, and fundraisers, the May 2012 OES release introduced data for several other occupations, including two more advanced practice nursing occupations, eight additional healthcare-related occupations, three computer occupations, two human resources occupations, and two occupations related to renewable energy. Table 1 contains employment, hourly and annual mean wages, and annual median wages for SOC 2010 occupations published for the first time in the May 2012 OES estimates. (1) The following subsections present additional data for selected occupations from table 1.

Registered nurses and advanced practice nurses. Under the 2000 SOC, all registered nurses, including advanced practice nurses, were classified under a single occupational category. The 2010 SOC breaks out three types of advanced practice nurses into separate occupations:

* Nurse anesthetists, who administer anesthesia, monitor patients' vital signs, and oversee patient recovery from anesthesia

* Nurse midwives, who diagnose and coordinate all aspects of the birthing process, either independently or as part of a healthcare team

* Nurse practitioners, who diagnose and treat acute, episodic, or chronic illness, independently or as part of a healthcare team

All other types of registered nurses are classified under a redefined registered nurses code. Even after the three types of advanced practice nurses were excluded, the redefined registered nurses occupation remained the fifth largest occupation in the United States, with over 2.6 million jobs in May 2012. About 62 percent of registered nurses were employed in private, state government, and local government hospitals. Industries with the highest employment of registered nurses also included ambulatory health care services (17 percent); nursing and residential care facilities (7 percent); federal, state, and local government, excluding state and local government schools and hospitals (6 percent); and educational services (3 percent). …

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