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June 7 -- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) invites public comment to OMB by July 7, 2021 on its proposal for the Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS) for 2021-24.  
 
The Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS) is a nationwide survey that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is conducting at the request of the Social Security Administration (SSA). Three years of data collection and capture for the ORS will start in 2021 and end in mid-2024. Estimates produced from the data collected by the ORS will be used by the SSA to update occupational requirements data for administering the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. The collected data will also advance the mission of the BLS by making possible a detailed analysis and expansion of occupational data from several BLS programs, including the National Compensation Survey (NCS), the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program [previously known as the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program], and the Occupational Safety and Health Statistics programs (OSHS), promoting the continued effective use of these data, and disseminating these data to a wider audience.

The ORS collects the following data to meet the needs of SSA’s disability program:  
 
1)    An indicator of “time to proficiency,” defined as the amount of time required by a typical worker to learn the techniques, acquire the information, and develop the facility needed for average job performance. This measure is comparable to the Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) used in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT).
2)    Physical Demand characteristics/factors of occupations. These measures are comparable to measures in Appendix C of the Selected Characteristics of Occupations (SCO).
3)    Environmental Conditions. These measures are comparable to measures in Appendix D of the SCO.
4)    Data elements that describe the mental and cognitive demands of work.
5)    Occupational task lists, defined as the critical job function and key job tasks, to validate the reported requirements of work. These task lists are comparable to data identified in the Employment and Training Administration's (ETA’s) O*NET Program.
  
Some data needed for the ORS are collected by NCS currently from its sample of establishments. These data are collected with the same methodology for ORS sample establishments that are not in the NCS sample. The general establishment data collected in the survey samples are the same for the ORS and NCS. For ORS and NCS, these items are employees, occupations, divisions, or sub-units depending upon the application of the sampling procedure being used.

Work leveling data is collected during the ORS as it is currently collected in NCS. The work level data for each of the four factors has several levels reflecting increasing duties and responsibilities, and there are point values associated with each level. The four factors are:

1.    Knowledge – the amount of knowledge required for the job
2.    Job controls and complexity – the type of direction received and the nature of the job
3.    Contacts – the nature and purpose of contacts within a job but outside the supervisory chain
4.    Physical environment – risks involved and physical demands

The current ORS collection was designed and tested to meet SSA’s measurement objectives.  BLS has begun consulting with SSA regarding changes for the third wave of the ORS, which is scheduled to begin collection in August of 2023. The measurement changes being discussed largely focus on cognitive elements: frequency of work being checked, problem solving, working with the general public, and verbal interactions. New measures related to task and work schedule changes are being explored.  
 
Sample selection involves two stages:  establishment selection and occupation selection. For private industry, both stages are completed before the sample is fielded, with the exception of establishments that are also in the National Compensation Survey (NCS). For private industry sample units that are also sampled, by chance, for the NCS and for all sampled state and local government establishments, occupational selection is done after establishment contact. At the first stage of sample selection, all establishments are selected with probability proportional to employment size of the establishment.
 
The ORS data collected are to be published annually, as an ongoing annual survey. ORS design uses a five-year rotation with complete estimates expected to be published in December 2023 after the full sample has been collected. Interim results are produced and published in December on an annual basis.
 
ORS website: https://www.bls.gov/ors/    
ORS Q&A: https://www.bls.gov/ors/questions-and-answers.htm
ORS methodology: https://www.bls.gov/opub/hom/ors/pdf/ors.pdf   

ORS submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202102-1220-002 Click on IC List for data collection instruments, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation and BLS responses to three sets of detailed public comments
FR notice inviting comments: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/06/07/2021-11809/agency-information-collection-activities-submission-for-omb-review-comment-request-occupational
 
Point of contact: Xingyou Zhang, Chief, Statistical Methods Group, Office of Compensation and Working Conditions, BLS 202-691-6082 https://data.bls.gov/forms/ors.htm?/ors/home.htm   
 
For AEA members wishing to provide comments to OMB, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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