Class of Worker

Class of Worker

Created Variables

COWALL-EMP#: These variables contain the respondent’s class of worker category for each employer (see universe restrictions below).

 

Important Information About Using Class of Worker Data

Beginning with the 2002 survey, changes were made to better identify nontraditional occupations worked by respondents. This included a clarification of what defines self-employment. For more information, go to Jobs & Employers.

The coding system used for class of worker was changed beginning with the 1994 survey. The pre and post 1994 system is as follows:

1979-93

  1. private company
  2. government 
  3. self-employed
  4. without pay

1994 and beyond

  1. government
  2. private for profit company
  3. nonprofit organization
  4. self-employed
  5. working in family business

Self-employed classification (added in 2002): On the basis of answers to the job classification questions, the respondent is classified as self-employed if he or she owned at least 50 percent of the business, was the chief executive officer or principal managing partner of the business, or was supposed to file a form SE for Federal income taxes. Respondents also are classified as self-employed if they identify themselves as independent contractors, independent consultants, or freelancers. A job is classified as nontraditional employment if the respondent is paid by a temp employment agency.

 

Year(s) Universe
1979-1980 All current jobs from which R was not laid off in CPS section; other jobs that are government-sponsored part-time or summer jobs, government sponsored jobs for those not in regular school, part of a tax credit program or any other government sponsored program in employer supplement; other jobs R is > 15 years of age & >= 20 hours/week & >= 9 weeks worked since date of last interview in employer supplements
1981 All current jobs from which R was not laid off in CPS section; other jobs that are government-sponsored part-time or summer jobs, government sponsored jobs for those not in regular school, part of a tax credit program or any other government sponsored program in employer supplement; other jobs >= 20 hours/week & >= 9 weeks worked since date of last interview in employer supplements
1982-1984 All current/most recent jobs in CPS section; other jobs that are government-sponsored part-time or summer jobs, government sponsored jobs for those not in regular school, part of a tax credit program or any other government sponsored program in employer supplement; other jobs >= 20 hours/week & >= 9 weeks worked since date of last interview in employer supplements
1985 All current/most recent jobs in CPS section; other jobs that are part of a tax credit program or any government sponsored program in employer supplement; other jobs >= 20 hours/week & >= 9 weeks worked since date of last interview in employer supplements
1986 All current/most recent jobs in CPS section; other jobs that are part of a tax credit program or any government sponsored program in employer supplement; other jobs >= 10 hours/week & >= 9 weeks worked since date of last interview in employer supplements
1987 All current/most recent jobs in CPS section; other jobs that are part of any government sponsored program in employer supplement; other jobs >= 10 hours/week & >= 9 weeks worked since date of last interview in employer supplements
1988-1993 All current/most recent jobs in CPS section; other jobs >= 10 hours/week & >= 9 weeks worked since date of last interview in employer supplements
1994-2000 All current/most recent jobs; other jobs >= 10 hours/week & >= 9 weeks worked since date of last interview. In 1994 a skip error in this instrument resulted in the class of worker codes for some current/most recent jobs being missed (see errata).
2002-2012 All current/most recent jobs; other jobs >= 10 hours/week & >= 9 weeks worked since date of last interview; self-employed jobs in employer supplement

Class of worker data have been collected during each interview. These variables indicate whether a respondent:

  • works for a private company or individual for wages, salary, or commission
  • is a government employee
  • is self-employed in his or her own business, professional practice, or farm
  • is working without pay in a family business or farm

Respondents indicating that they are government employees are asked a follow-up question on whether they work at the Federal, State, or local level; self-employed respondents are asked whether their business is incorporated or unincorporated. These questions are similar to those asked in the Current Population Surveys.

Comparison to Other NLS Cohorts: The NLSY79 young adult survey has the same class of worker questions as the main NLSY79.  The NLSY97 asks respondents age 16 and older to report the class of worker for each employer as of the job's start date. During each survey year Young and Mature Women and Young and Older Men of the Original Cohorts also provided data on their class of worker status. For more precise details about the content of each survey, consult the appropriate cohort's User's Guide using the tabs above for more information.

Survey Instruments and Documentation Questions relating to current/most recent job and corporation status for businesses can be found in the "Current Labor Force Status or CPS" section of each year's questionnaire:  Section 8 (1979), Section 7 (1980), Section 6 (1981 and 1993), and Section 5 (1982-92 and 1994-98 and 2006). Information on characteristics of up to five jobs held by the respondent between survey dates is drawn, for the 1979 survey year only, from the main questionnaire (Section 10 "Jobs") and from the Employer Supplements for the 1980-2012 surveys. Since 1993, the Employer Supplement has been physically a part of the questionnaires.
Areas of Interest Until 1994, class of worker and type of government worker variables for current/most recent job are located in the "CPS" area of interest on the main NLSY79 data set. Comparable variables for additional jobs held between interview dates are found in the "Job Information" area of interest. Beginning in 1994, the CPS job variables are found in "Job Information" as well. They were all moved to the Employer Supplement. Class of worker information for all CPS jobs and up to four additional long-term jobs held since the last interview is also available by searching for areas of interest beginning with "Work History" on the NLSY79 data set. Corporation status of self-employed respondents' businesses has been placed in the various yearly "Misc. xxxx" areas of interest.