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Occupation, 2010 basis

Codes and Frequencies

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OCC2010 is a harmonized occupation coding scheme based on the Census Bureau's 2010 occupation classification scheme. Similar variables are offered for the 1950 (OCC1950) and 1990 (OCC1990) classification codes. OCC2010 offers researchers a consistent, long-term classification of occupations.

The occupational coding scheme in CPS data has changed several times since the 1960s. The CPS's occupational coding scheme has mirrored that of the Census Bureau, though the CPS has always introduced major coding changes one-to-three years later than the Census Bureau. All original occupational information is stored in the OCC variable. The meaning of codes in the OCC variable changes with each new coding scheme.

In the interest of harmonization, however, the scheme has been modified to achieve the most consistent categories across time. That is, some categories that provide more detail in the 2010 scheme were grouped together because earlier categories are inseparable when more than one occupation is coded together. For users who wish to further aggregate occupation to broader categories, the 2010 scheme is generally organized by the following groups:

Management in Business, Science, and Arts = 10-430
Business Operations Specialists = 500-730
Financial Specialists = 800-950
Computer and Mathematical = 1000-1240
Architecture and Engineering = 1300-1540
Technicians = 1550-1560
Life, Physical, and Social Science = 1600-1980
Community and Social Services = 2000-2060
Legal = 2100-2150
Education, Training, and Library = 2200-2550
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media = 2600-2920
Healthcare Practitioners and Technicians = 3000-3540
Healthcare Support = 3600-3650
Protective Service = 3700-3950
Food Preparation and Serving = 4000-4150
Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance = 4200-4250
Personal Care and Service = 4300-4650
Sales and Related = 4700-4965
Office and Administrative Support = 5000-5940
Farming, Fisheries, and Forestry = 6005-6130
Construction = 6200-6765
Extraction = 6800-6940
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair = 7000-7630
Production = 7700-8965
Transportation and Material Moving = 9000-9750
Military = 9800-9830
No Occupation = 9920

We followed a process of constructing and testing OCC2010 that is similar to OCC1990's process, which is discussed in more detail in this BLS working paper. We performed a variety of tests to ensure that the new categories are as robust as possible over the long-term. Please also see the description tab for OCC1990 for further detail about our process.


This variable is comparable over time. Users should take note of the changing universe of persons subject to the occupation question (e.g., the rising minimum ages).


  • 1968-1988: Civilians age 14+ who: were currently employed; or had previously worked and were looking for work; or were not currently in the labor force but had worked in the preceding 5 years and were in 2 (out of 8) rotation groups.
  • 1989-2018: Civilians age 15+ who: were currently employed; or had worked previously worked and were looking for work; or were not currently in the labor force but had worked in the preceding 5 years and were in 2 (out of 8) rotation groups.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1968 – 1975 - - X - - - - - - - - - -
1976 – 2018 X X X X X X X X X X X X X
2019 X X - X - - - - - - - - -


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