Occupations

Occupations

Created Variables

CPSOCC70: 1970 Occupational classifications for CPS or current/most recent job (for CPS job from 1980-1993)
OCCALL-EMP.#: 1970 Occupational classifications for non CPS job (for non CPS jobs from 1980-1993)
OCCALL-EMP.#: 1970 Occupational classifications for all jobs (for CPS job and non-CPS jobs from 1994-2000)
OCCALL-EMP.#: 2000 Occupational classifications for all jobs (for CPS job and non-CPS jobs from 2002 forward).
CPSOCC80: 1980 Occupational classifications for CPS or current/most recent job (for CPS job from 1982-1994 and for job #1 from 1994-2000)
OCCSP-55I: 1970 Occupational classifications for R's most recent spouse (partner also starting in 1994) (for 1979-1996)
OCCSP-55I_CODE: 1970 Occupational classifications for R's most recent spouse/partner (1970 codes in 1998/2000, 2000 codes from 2002 forward)
JOBSOCC-#: 1970 Occupational classifications for R's government program jobs (for 1979-1987)

 

Important Information About Using Occupations Data

  • Beginning in 1994, NLSY79 CAPI administered surveys are preloaded with the last occupation. To reduce errors and save on the amount of coding, each respondent is asked if the occupation reported last time is still correct. Only if the respondent states this information is no longer correct is the occupation recoded.
  • "Employer" is the unit for which occupations are asked in the NLSY79. Be careful in making inferences about occupational mobility as miscoding is present.  When occupation codes for the same employer in adjacent interview years are compared (see Work History Data for more information on linking employers across rounds), it has been found that respondents use slightly different words to describe their occupation and coders may interpret the same words in different ways in different years. Therefore, workers who change occupations, even though they stay in the same firm, may generate changes in industry codes. This problem was reduced significantly when the survey started confirming preloaded information in 1994.
  • The 1979 occupation codes for Job #1 (the CPS job) are only blank placeholders, due to the structure of the job history and "CPS" sections in the initial survey year (1979).  The information is contained in the CPS section, but these variables were used as placeholders in anticipation of the future structure of the Employer Supplement.

 

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 occupation 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 for which the business is not a farm or ranch

Regularly fielded sections of NLSY79 instruments have collected information on the occupation of respondents' current/last job, jobs since last interview, military job, vocational/technical or government training programs, type of job to which they aspired, and, for those unemployed and out of the labor force, the kind of occupation they were seeking or planned to seek.  In addition to this respondent-specific information, data on occupations are also available for other family members, including the spouse and parents of the respondent. Finally, the 1980 school survey collected data on the types of vocational/technical training offered within a respondent's high school.

Verbatim responses to open-ended questions eliciting information on kinds of work or training are entered directly into the survey instrument by the interviewer and subsequently coded using one or more occupational coding schemes. The occupational classification systems listed in Table 1 have been used to code occupations within the NLSY79. Background information on the development of the 1980 classification system and the relationship between the 1970 and 1980 coding categories is available in the 1989 Census publication listed in this section's references.

Table 1. Occupational Coding Classification Systems used in the NLSY79

  1. The 3-digit 1970 Census classifications (U.S. Census Bureau 1971) are used to code all job and training questions in the 1979-2000 surveys as well as the occupational aspiration series found in the questionnaires and Employer Supplements.
  2. Beginning with the 1982 survey, the 3-digit 1980 Census codes (U.S. Census Bureau 1981) have been used, in addition to the 1970 codes, to classify occupations of respondents' current or most recent job (also used through the 2000 survey).
  3. For the surveys beginning in 2002, the 2000 Census codes (U.S. Census Bureau 2000) were used to classify occupations of all jobs reported by respondents, as well as the occupation of the respondents' spouse/partners.
  4. The 1977 military occupational specialty codes (U.S. Department of Defense 1977) are used to classify responses to the 1979-85 questions on military jobs and military occupations.
  5. The 1979 CPS job is coded using the Duncan Index of occupational prestige.  The scores, ranging from 0 to 97, may be interpreted either as estimates of prestige ratings or simply as values on a scale of occupational socioeconomic status (the 2002 survey used 2000 census classifications).  For details, see Duncan (1961).

Note: For Census industrial and occupational codes go to Attachment 3

Comparison to Other NLS Cohorts: NLSY79 young adults were asked open-ended questions on the kinds of work or training they had. For both employee and self-employed jobs, NLSY97 respondents' occupations are coded according to the three-digit census occupational classification system. Freelance jobs that do not qualify as self-employment are coded according to the type of work performed. For the Mature and Young Women, occupation has been coded using 1960, 1980, and 1990 systems in various survey years. The occupations of Older and Young Men were recorded using the 1960 codes for all years; in the final two Older Men surveys, occupation was doublecoded using the 1980 system. 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.

References

Duncan, O.D.  "A Socioeconomic Index for All Occupations."  In Occupations and Social Status,  A.J. Reiss, Jr. et al.  New York:  Free Press, 1961.

U.S. Census Bureau.  1970 Census of Population Alphabetical Index of Industries and Occupations.  Washington, DC:  U.S. Government Printing Office, 1971.

U.S. Census Bureau. 1980 Census of Population: Alphabetic Index of Industries and Occupations. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1981.

U.S. Census Bureau. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) [standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy]. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/ 2007.

U.S. Department of Defense.  "Occupational Conversion Manual:  Enlisted/Officer/ Civilian, Defense Manpower Center."  Arlington, VA:  DOD 1312.1-M, 1977.

Survey Instruments and Documentation Data on occupations have been collected within various topical sections of the NLSY79 questionnaires:  "Current Labor Force Status," "Regular Schooling," "Government Training," "Military," "Family Background," and so forth.  The Employer Supplements collect occupational information on the type of job performed for a given employer.  The separately administered 1980 School Survey was used to collect information on types of vocational and technical courses offered by those schools surveyed. Attachment 3: Industry and Occupation Codes in the NLSY79 Codebook Supplement provides the detailed codes for the Census and DOD classification systems discussed above.  The NLSY High School Transcript Survey: Overview and Documentation contains a copy of the school survey that asked about vocational/technical course offerings.
Areas of Interest The census codes for occupations are now consolidated under a single area of interest, "Industry and Occupation". Former areas of interest are also present as secondary areas of interest.