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  • Capital composition
    Portion of the change in capital services that cannot be attributed to changes in capital stock
  • Capital cost
    Cost of producing output of goods and services that is attributed to the use of capital
  • Capital hours ratio
    Ratio of the amount of capital services used to the amount of labor hours used to produce output

    Increases in the capital-to-hours ratio reflect increases in the intensity of capital used in the production process.

    See also capital services.

  • Capital productivity
    Efficiency at which capital services are utilized in producing output of goods and services, measured as output produced per unit of capital services input

    See also capital services.

  • Capital rental prices
    Amount of rent charged by the owner of one dollar's worth of capital stock for a given asset to cover the opportunity cost of forgoing the use of that asset

    Unlike the situation with labor services, which are rented explicitly with wages, the owner and user of capital services are usually the same. Capital goods are typically bought in one period and then used in future periods. Therefore, they must be measured implicitly.

    See capital stock.

  • Capital services
    Services derived from physical assets and intellectual property that are used to produce output
    Physical assets include equipment, structures, inventories, land, etc.
  • Capital's share in costs
    Portion of the total costs required to produce output that can be attributed to capital services
    Also referred to as “capital cost share.”
  • Capital stock
    Measure of the volume or quantity of a business's assets, such as equipment, structures, land, and research and development
  • Career earnings formula
    See Traditional defined benefit formula.
  • Case characteristics
    Elements describing the circumstances that led to an injury or illness involving one or more days away from work
    These elements include part of body, nature, event or exposure, and source.
  • Cash balance plan
    Defined benefit plan guaranteeing a benefit amount to covered employees on the basis of a known formula designed to provide a lump sum at retirement

    For each year worked, employees are credited with a specified contribution and a rate of interest on that contribution, which together will provide a lump sum at retirement. The lump sum may be converted to an annuity.

    See the article, "Cash balance pension plans: The new wave."

  • Cash profit sharing
    Method whereby employees are paid in recognition of their contribution to company profitability
    Payments may vary with length of service.
  • census regions
    Four major parts of the United States: Northeast, Midwest, South, and West

    For information on Census regions, see the BLS interactive geographic regions map.

  • certification
    Credential for demonstrating competency in a skill or set of skills, typically through the passage of an examination, work experience, training, or some combination of the three
    Some certification programs may require a certain level of educational achievement for eligibility.
  • Chained index
    Index such that its value in any given period is related to the value in the immediately preceding period

    The benefits of chaining over a fixed base include a better reflection of (1) changing economic conditions, (2) technological progress, and (3) spending patterns, as well as a suitable means for handling items that are not traded every month in which the index is calculated. For example, see the video on the chained Consumer Price Index (CPI).

    See the video, “Understanding the Chained Consumer Price Index.”

  • Childcare assistance
    Benefit providing either full or partial reimbursement for the cost of caring for an employee's child
    This benefit provides reimbursement for the care of employees’ eligible children in a nursery or daycare center or by a babysitter. Care can be provided in facilities either on or off the employer’s premises.
  • Civilian labor force
    See labor force
  • Civilian noninstitutional population
    People ages 15 or 16 and older residing in the 50 states and the District of Columbia who do not live in institutions and who are not on Active Duty in the Armed Forces (starting age may vary by bls program; see note)
    "American Time Use Survey (ATUS): 15 and older Current Population Survey (CPS): 16 and older "
  • Civilian workers
    Private_industry workers and state and local government workers
    "Federal government, military, and agricultural workers; self-employed workers; and workers in private households are not counted as civilian workers in the National Compensation Survey. "
  • Class of worker
    Categorization of workers determined by the type of ownership of the employing organization
    The class-of-worker categories are private and government wage and salary workers, self-employed workers, and unpaid family workers.
  • Cliff vesting
    Provision which stipulates that participants in a retirement plan have no vesting rights to future benefits until a service requirement has been met, after which they are 100 percent vested
    The service requirement is usually based on years of service, such as 5 years.
  • Closings
    Establishments with positive third-month employment in the previous quarter, with no positive employment reported in the current quarter, or with positive third-month employment in the previous quarter followed by zero employment in the current quarter
  • Cognitive and mental demands
    Requirements related to a worker's need to use judgment, make decisions, and adapt to changes on the job
  • Cognitive interviewing
    Research method that elicits research participants' thought processes while they answer draft survey questions through "think aloud" protocols and interviewer probing
    These studies typically aim to revise the wording of questions in order to improve the respondent’s comprehension of survey questions. When conducted online without an interviewer present, this kind of study is often referred to as an “unmoderated cognitive interview.”
  • Coinsurance
    Predetermined percentage of medical costs paid by an individual after yearly deductible costs are met
    This form of medical cost sharing requires an insured person to pay a stated percentage of medical expenses after the deductible amount, if any, is paid. After any deductible amount and coinsurance are paid, the insurer is responsible for the rest of the reimbursement for covered benefits, up to the maximum allowed charges. The individual is responsible for any charges in excess of what the insurer determines to be “usual, customary, and reasonable.” Coinsurance rates may differ between services received from an approved provider and those received from providers not on the approved list.
  • Collection method
    Method by which respondents receive data requests and submit information
  • collective_bargaining
    Method whereby representatives (unions) of employees and employers negotiate the conditions of employment, normally resulting in a written contract setting forth the wages, hours, and other conditions to be observed for a stipulated period
    "This term also applies to negotiations that occur between management and the union during the term of the contract. "
  • Combination jobs
    Jobs that encompass two or more distinct sets of duties

    "Documentation of combination jobs require a primary Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code and the documentation of a secondary SOC code."

    For more information on how combination jobs are classified, see the ORS collection manual.

  • Combined inputs
    All inputs that are used directly to produce output
    For private businesses and the private business sector, inputs include labor and capital only. For all other sectors and industries, inputs include labor, capital, and intermediate purchases. 
  • Combined inputs cost
    Total cost of all inputs used to produce output
  • Commercially insured policy
    Insurance policy underwritten by an insurance carrier and paid for through monthly premiums by the employer
    The employer has a contractual arrangement to pay a premium to a third party, such as an insurance company, union, or association, in exchange for it assuming the risks and expenses of a benefit plan. For short-term disability, the actuarially determined premium is often specified as a rate per $10 of weekly benefit per month. In some cases, the employer contributes a specific amount (often a number of cents per hour worked for each employee) to a designated union or association fund that provides welfare benefits.
  • Common stock
    Security that represents ownership in a corporation
  • Common stock fund
    Professionally managed fund invested in the common stock of a variety of companies
    "A common stock fund is a mutual fund that invests in the common stock of numerous publicly traded companies. Common stock funds provide investment diversification and offer time savings over researching, buying, and selling individual stocks. "
  • Communicating verbally
    Orally imparting information to clients, the public, or other workers accurately and quickly
  • Company stock plan
    Defined contribution retirement plan in which employees receive equity in the company that sponsors the plan
  • Compensation
    Employer costs for wages, salaries, and employee benefits

    "“Total compensation” usually refers to the entire range of wages and benefits employees receive for their work."

    See the video, "What is the Employment Cost Index?"

  • Complete income reporters
    Respondents who provide information about major sources of income, such as wages and salaries, self_employment income, and Social Security income
    In all Consumer Expenditure tables before 2004, income data were for complete income reporters only. From 2004 onward, income data are for all consumer units. Even complete income reporters may not have provided a full accounting of all income from all sources. Before 2004 in the Consumer Expenditure Survey, across-the-board zero income reporting was designated as invalid and the consumer unit was categorized as an incomplete reporter. With the introduction of income imputation, all consumer units have missing income values imputed or are represented by valid zeroes.
  • Composition of consumer unit
    Classification of interview families according to (1) the relationship of other family members to the reference person, (2) the age of the children of the reference person, and (3) a combination of the relationship to the reference person and the age of the children
    Stepchildren and adopted children are included with the reference person’s own children.
  • Compound annual rate
    Increases and decreases in a measure over time, expressed as a constant rate of change
    Quarterly rates of change typically are expressed as a compound annual rate, which is an annualized rate—what the annual rate would be if the quarterly rate were maintained for the entire year.
  • Computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI)
    Use of interactive computer systems by interviewers during telephone contacts with survey respondents
  • Confidentiality
    Principle of keeping data provided by a respondent private
    BLS collects data for statistical purposes only, and consequently, it cannot provide specific information.
  • Consolidated leave plan
    Leave plan whereby leave may be used for any stipulated purpose
    This type of plan replaces different types of leave, such as vacation, sick leave, and personal leave. In a consolidated leave plan, all types of leave are combined or used interchangeably within a single plan. Employees are allowed to use leave for any purpose that is stipulated by the plan. These plans are most often found at establishments such as hospitals, which must be open around the clock.
  • Consolidation
    Merger of two or more commercial interests or corporations
  • Constant dollar
    Dollar valued according to its purchasing power at one particular time compared with another
    Setting amounts to constant-dollar values allows for meaningful comparison of values from different periods.
  • Consumer-driven health plan (CDHP)
    High-deductible catastrophic health plan paired with a tax-favored account for routine healthcare expenses
    This type of plan combines a high-deductible health policy that provides protection from catastrophic medical expenses with a tax-favored account that pays routine healthcare expenses, such as those for prescription medications and doctors’ visits. High-deductible plans tend to have lower monthly premiums.
  • Consumer unit
    (1) all members of a particular household who are related by blood, marriage, adoption, or some other legal arrangement; (2) a person living alone or sharing a household with others or living as a roomer in a private home or lodging house or in permanent living quarters in a hotel or motel, but who is financially independent; or (3) two or more people living together who pool their income to make joint expenditure decisions
    Financial independence is determined by the three major expense categories: housing, food, and other living expenses. To be considered financially independent, a respondent must provide at least two of the three major expense categories.
  • Contact strategies
    Modes, patterns, and timeliness considerations for contacting respondents
  • Contingent workers
    Workers who do not have an implicit or explicit contract for long-term or ongoing employment

    More information can be found on the Current Population Survey's Labor force characteristics page under the heading, "Contingent and alternative employment arrangements." 

    See the video, “What types of work are contingent or alternative employment arrangements?

  • Contract escalation
    Process of adjusting contracts or payments to account for changes in prices
  • Contractions
    Establishments with positive employment in the third month in both the previous and current quarters and with a net decrease in employment over the period between those two quarters
  • Contribution of all other capital services intensity
    Portion of labor productivity change attributed to capital services
  • Contribution of capital intensity
    Portion of capital's contribution to labor productivity versus the contributions from labor and intermediate purchases
    Multiplying the change in capital intensity by capital’s share of combined inputs yields the contribution of capital intensity.
  • Contribution of information capital intensity
    Portion of labor productivity change attributed to information capital
  • Contribution of intellectual property products
    Portion of labor productivity change attributed to intellectual property products
  • Contribution of intermediate inputs
    Portion of labor productivity change attributed to intermediate inputs
  • Contribution of intermediate purchases intensity
    Portion of labor productivity change attributed to purchased intermediate inputs
  • Contribution of labor composition
    Portion of labor productivity change attributed to labor composition
  • Contribution of research and development intensity
    Portion of labor productivity change attributed to research and development
  • Controlling workflow
    Prioritizing work tasks or adjusting the amount of time it takes to complete them
  • Copayment
    Fixed dollar amount that an insured person must pay when a service is received before any remaining charges are paid by the insurer
    Copayments are a feature of health insurance plans and generally apply to health services.
  • Cost-of-living index
    A conceptual measurement of changes over time in the amount that consumers need to spend to reach a certain standard of living

    For more information, see question 9 of the CPI FAQs.

    See the video, “Understanding the Chained Consumer Price Index.”

  • Cost per hour worked
    Total employer cost of wages and salaries, and benefits, divided by total hours worked
    Estimates include only all hours worked, or annual work schedule hours (plus overtime) minus leave hours.
  • County
    Primary legal subdivision of most states

    County is the primary local geographic area for an establishment in the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). The county is determined by the physical location of the establishment. In Louisiana, the term “parish” is used instead of “county.”

    For example, see the QCEW state and county map of Florida.

  • Coverage error
    Nonsampling error that occurs in statistical estimates and arises from gaps between the sampling frame and the total population
  • Crawling
    Moving on hands and knees or hands and feet
  • Cumulative days idle
    Total number of working days lost, multiplied by the number of workers, over the entire span of a work stoppage

    A stoppage often occurs over a period of months.

    See also work stoppage.

  • Current dollar value
    Market value of an item in the period that's being measured
  • Current Population Survey (CPS)
    National survey that samples approximately 60,000 households monthly and collects information on labor force characteristics of the U.S. civilian noninstitutional population
    The CPS is conducted by the Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rates are derived from information collected from the CPS.
  • Days-away-from-work (DAFW) cases
    Work-related injury or illness cases requiring at least 1 day away from work with or without days of job transfer or restriction

    See the video, "Worker safety data."

  • Days idle
    Total number of working days lost during a work stoppage in a given month, multiplied by the number of workers participating in the work stoppage

    See also work stoppage.

  • Days-of-restricted-work-activity-or-job-transfer (DART) cases
    Cases in which, as a result of a work-related injury or illness, an employer or healthcare professional keeps, or recommends keeping, an employee from doing the routine functions of his or her job or from working the full workday that the employee would have been scheduled to work before the injury or illness occurred

    See the video, "Worker safety data."

  • Debriefing
    Set of questions designed to uncover possible sources of measurement error or other relevant feedback asked at the conclusion of a survey interview or research study
  • Decile
    Division of a distribution of values into 10 equal segments
  • Deductible
    Dollar amount that an insured person pays during the benefit period before the insurer starts to make payments for covered medical services
    The benefit period is usually a year.
  • Deferred disability retirement plan
    Type of disability retirement plan whereby service credits continue to accumulate and payments do not begin until the participant is eligible for normal retirement in the case of retirement before normal retirement age
  • Defined benefit pension plan
    See Defined benefit plan.
  • Defined benefit plan
    Pension plan providing an employee with guaranteed retirement benefits based on a predetermined formula
    A participant’s retirement age, length of service, and preretirement earnings may affect the benefits received. Definitions, key provisions, and terms may be subject to change per benefit provider.
  • Defined contribution plan
    Retirement plan that specifies the level of employer and employee contributions and places those contributions into individual employee accounts
    Individual accounts are set up for participants, and benefits are based on the amounts credited to these accounts (through employer contributions and, if applicable, employee contributions) plus any investment earnings on the money in the account. Only employer contributions to the account are guaranteed, not the future benefits. In defined contribution plans, future benefits fluctuate on the basis of investment earnings. The most common type of defined contribution plan is a savings and thrift plan. Under this type of plan, the employee contributes a predetermined portion of his or her (usually pretax) earnings to an individual account, all or part of which is matched by the employer.
  • Deflator
    Factor that allows data to be measured over time in terms of some base period
    An interesting example is the use of the CPI as a deflator of the value of the consumer’s dollar to find its purchasing power. The purchasing power of the consumer’s dollar measures the change in the value to the consumer of goods and services that a dollar will buy at different dates. In other words, as prices increase, the purchasing power of the consumer’s dollar declines.
  • Dental care
    Services for restorative care and related treatment to the teeth and gums
  • Dependent care reimbursement account
    Account whereby an employee allocates a declared pretax amount from his or her pay, up to a set limit, for out-of-pocket qualified dependent care expenses
    Dependent care reimbursement accounts can be part of a flexible benefit plan or may stand alone. Expenses include childcare, elder care, or services to a disabled dependent. Any money not used by the end of the plan year is forfeited.
  • Depreciation rate of wealth stock
    Rate at which the value of wealth stock declines

    See also wealth stock.

  • Detoxification
    Supervised care by medical personnel that is designed to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of chemical dependency
    Treatment must occur on an inpatient basis.
  • Diffusion index of employment change
    Index that measures the percentage of industries with increasing employment plus one-half of the industries with unchanged employment
    To derive an index, each component area is assigned a value of 0, 50, or 100 percent, depending on whether its employment showed a decrease, no change, or an increase, respectively, over the timespan of interest. The average (mean) value is then calculated, and this percentage is the diffusion index number. Fifty percent indicates an equal balance between industries with increasing and decreasing employment.
  • Disability
    Physical, mental, or emotional condition that substantially limits an individual from one or more daily life activities
    The Current Population Survey asks six questions that determine whether a person is classified as having a disability. For more information on the disability questions and the limitations of the CPS disability data, see
  • Disability benefits
    Benefits providing protection against loss of income due to non-work-related illness or injury
    For example, an employee who is injured in a car accident during work hours may be eligible for disability benefits.
  • Disability retirement
    Retirement resulting from a totally disabling injury or illness prior to eligibility for early or normal retirement
    Plans providing disability retirement benefits may have a service requirement, such as 10 years or longer.
  • Disclosure limitation
    Limitation on the release of data that can be used to identify a respondent through the application of statistical_methods
  • Disclosure risk
    Risk of linking respondents to their personal information
    Disclosure risk is associated with publishing data that should be kept confidential.
  • Discouraged workers
    People marginally attached to the labor force who are not currently looking for work specifically because they believe that no jobs are available for them (or that there are none for which they would qualify)

    Discouraged workers are a subset of those who are marginally attached to the labor force. Discouraged workers include people who did not actively look for work in the prior 4 weeks for reasons such as “thinks no work available,” “could not find work,” “lacks schooling or training,” “employer thinks too young or old,” and other types of discrimination. (See table A-16 in “The Employment Situation” news release.)

    More information can be found on the Current Population Survey's Labor force characteristics page under the heading, "Discouraged workers." 

  • Displaced workers
    People 20 years and older who lost or left jobs because their plant or company closed or moved, there was insufficient work for them to do, or their position or shift was abolished
    Data on displaced workers are collected from a special supplemental survey conducted every 2 years.
  • Diversified investments
    Professionally managed funds that are invested in more than one type of equity or debt instrument
  • Division, geographic or census
    One of nine geographic areas of the United States defined by the U.S. census Bureau and widely used by bls for presenting regional data

    The Census Divisions are New England, Middle Atlantic, South Atlantic, East South Central, West South Central, East North Central, West North Central, Mountain, and Pacific. See the census regions and divisions map of the United States.

    For information on Census regions, see the BLS interactive geographic regions map.

  • Doctoral or professional degree
    Degree awarded usually for at least 3 years of full-time academic work beyond a bachelor's degree
    Some science and other occupations need a doctoral degree, and all lawyers, physicians, and dentists need a professional degree, for employment.
  • Duration of unemployment
    Length of time, in weeks, that people classified as unemployed have been looking for work

    For those on layoff who are counted as unemployed, the duration of unemployment represents the number of full weeks (through the reference week) that they have been on layoff. The data do not represent completed spells of unemployment.

    See also unemployed.

  • Duration scale
    Scale used to categorize the duration of either a physical demand being performed or exposure to an environmental condition
    The scale is as follows: Seldom (up to 2 percent of the workday), Occasionally (2 percent up to one-third of the workday), Frequently (one-third up to two-thirds of the workday), and Constantly (two-thirds or more of the workday).
  • Duties
    Major tasks or activities that employees in an occupation usually perform
  • Field
    (1) staff who oversee or conduct data collection; (2) setting in which data are collected, such as a call center, a household, or an establishment
    The first definition can also be referred to as “field staff.”
  • Field test
    Study conducted to evaluate the feasibility of a system or project prior to its becoming operational

    Field tests are typically larger than pilot tests and are set exclusively in the field, using trained interviewers and respondents from the target survey population.

    See also pilot test.

  • Final closing
    Last opportunity to report data for a given reference period
    The additional data collected through final closing may be used to revise preliminary estimates.
  • Final demand core index
    Special aggregate price index that excludes the relatively volatile categories of foods, energy, and trade services

    Because prices for food and energy, and margins for trade services, tend to be erratic, some economists have come to focus attention on indexes that measure price changes for final demand to the exclusion of food, energy, and trade components as clearer measures of what is sometimes referred to as the underlying rate of inflation. This index is typically referred to as the PPI for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services.

    See also inflation.

    See the Producer Price Index video.

  • Financial planning services
    Services provided to employees to aid them in decisions regarding savings, borrowing, investing, home purchases, education expenses, and retirement income
  • Fine manipulation
    Picking, pinching, or otherwise working primarily with the fingers rather than the whole hand or arm (as in gross manipulation)
  • Firm
    Business that consists of one or more establishments such that each establishment may participate in a different predominant economic activity

    See also establishment.

  • First closing
    First deadline to report data for a given reference period
  • Fisher index
    Index that adjusts for quality changes over time
    The Fisher index is used to adjust output measures when quality changes occur over time—for example, when automobiles have improved options and safety features. The Fisher index uses a combination of Laspeyres and Paasche indexes.
  • Fixed-interest securities
    Securities that pay set interest rates over predetermined periods
    A security is an intangible investment. Examples of fixed-interest securities include bonds and other nonfederal instruments.
  • Fixed-multiple-of-earnings benefit plans
    Plans that link the benefit amount to employee earnings and that allow for the level of coverage to increase automatically as income rises
    Employee earnings are usually rounded to a stated dollar amount.
  • Fixed-percentage-of-profits formula
    Calculation method in deferred profit-sharing plans in which the employer contributes a fixed percentage of its total annual profits to the plan
    For example, no matter what the level of profits, 5 percent is contributed to the plan. Profits may include those for the entire company or just those in a specific business unit. In a variation of this formula, employers set aside a reserve amount of profits (e.g., $1 million) and pay only a fixed percentage of any profits above this amount into the employees’ defined contribution plan.
  • Flat-dollar-amount benefit plans
    Plans that provide a fixed life insurance benefit amount
    Common plans include insurance amounts ranging from $10,000 to $25,000.
  • Flat-percentage-per-year plans
    Plans specifying a reduction in the benefit amount to be received upon retirement for each year by which early retirement precedes normal retirement
    In specific cases, flat-percentage-per-year reductions may approximate actuarial reductions, such as early retirement at age 55 with a reduction of 6 percent per year between age 55 and the plan’s normal retirement age of 62.
  • Flexible benefit plans
    Plans that, under Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code, provide employees a choice between permissible benefits (including cash) and nontaxable benefits, such as life and health insurance, vacations, retirement plans, and childcare
    The code permits companies providing flexible benefit plans to offer employees the following options: accident and health insurance plans, including healthcare spending accounts; group term life insurance and dependent coverage; disability benefits and accidental death and dismemberment plans; employee contributions to 401(k) plans or other thrift or savings plans (either pretax or after tax); dependent care assistance plans, including spending accounts; vacation days; and group legal services. Flexible benefit plans may be funded solely by the employer or through joint employer–employee contributions. Employers usually grant each employee credits to purchase benefits covered by the plan. Many plans include a core group of benefits (e.g., life insurance coverage of $25,000) and allow employees to purchase additional levels of the core benefit, as well as benefits not included in the core group. An example is the employer’s offering an additional $20,000 in life insurance coverage.
  • Flexible spending accounts
    Accounts that permit the participant to set aside funds (before taxes) for future eligible healthcare cost reimbursements (e.g., prescription costs, copays)
    Employees may designate the amount of funds allocated per year for themselves and their dependents. Flexible spending accounts are also referred to as health savings accounts and healthcare reimbursement accounts.
  • Flexible workplace
    Employee benefit that permits workers to work at home or at some other approved location
    Teleworking is an example of a flexible workplace benefit.
  • Focus group
    Group whose members report qualitative data about their experiences and thoughts on a topic collected through facilitated discussions that use carefully developed questions
  • Food at home
    Food purchased at grocery stores or other food stores
    Food at home also Includes food prepared by the consumer unit on trips.
  • Food away from home
    All meals (breakfast and brunch, lunch, dinner and snacks, and nonalcoholic beverages), including tips where applicable, at fast-food restaurants, for takeout, for delivery, and at concession stands, buffets and cafeterias, and full-service restaurants, as well as at vending machines and mobile vendors
    Also included are board (including at school); meals as pay; special catered affairs, such as weddings, bar mitzvahs, and confirmations; school lunches; and meals away from home on trips.
  • Foot/leg control
    Use of one or both feet or legs to move controls on machinery or equipment
    Foot/leg control includes, but is not limited to, pedals, buttons, levers, and cranks.
  • Foreign born
    People residing in the United States who were not U.S. citizens at birth
    For example, individuals born outside of the United States or its outlying areas, such as Puerto Rico or Guam, to parents, neither of whom was a U.S. citizen. The foreign-born population includes legally admitted immigrants, refugees, temporary residents such as students and temporary workers, and undocumented immigrants. The survey data, however, do not separately identify the number of people in these categories.
  • Formulary drug
    Generic or brand-name drug that is approved by a healthcare provider
    Drugs not approved by the healthcare provider are nonformulary drugs, for which enrollees receive less generous benefits, such as a higher copayment per prescription.
  • Frozen retirement plan
    Plan that is closed to new enrollees and that limits future accruals of benefits for some or all active participants
    Some plans may no longer allow participants to accrue additional benefits. Others may change the plan’s prospective benefit formula in such a way as to limit or cease future benefit accruals for some active participants. The length of time is calculated on the basis of the year the plan was modified.
  • Full-time or part-time status
    Classification of workers that is based on whether they work full time or part_time
    For the CPS, full-time workers are those who usually work 35 hours or more per week at their sole or principal job; part-time workers usually work 1 to 34 hours of work per week. For the ECEC, full-time and part-time statuses are not determined by the number of hours worked but are based on the employer’s definition of those terms.
  • Funeral leave (paid); paid funeral leave
    Leave provided because of a death in the family
    The period of absence is usually limited to a few days (e.g., 3 paid days of leave for immediate family members and 1 paid day for other relatives).
  • GDP (gross domestic product)
    Market value of all goods and services produced within a country in a given period
    The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) produces estimates of GDP; GDP is the most commonly used measure of the size of the overall economy.
  • Generic drug
    Generic counterpart of a brand-name drug such that the generic drug has exactly the same pharmacological effects as the brand-name drug
    Once a drug’s patent has expired, some plans provide more generous coverage for same-formula generic drugs than for brand-name drugs; the practice is adopted as a cost containment measure.
  • Geocode
    Set of longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates identifying the location of an establishment
  • Government employment
    Public sector employment broken into three types: federal, state, and local
    "State employment includes counts of workers employed by state agencies. Local government represents those working for county or municipal organizations. Both state and local employment are covered by state unemployment insurance programs. Employment at all federal agencies for any given month is based on the number of people who worked during or received pay for the pay period that included the 12th of the month. Employment data reported for federal civilian employees are a byproduct of the operations of state workforce agencies in administering the provisions of Title XV of the Social Security Act the Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) program. Federal employment data are based on reports of monthly employment and reports of quarterly wages, both submitted quarterly to state agencies. Reports are submitted for all federal installations with employees covered by the act, except for certain national security agencies, which are excluded for security reasons. Some BLS programs do not have data for all types of public sector employment."
  • Government enterprise
    Legal entity created by the government in order to participate in commercial activities on the government's behalf
    Examples of government enterprises are the Postal Service, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
  • Graded (or graduated) vesting
    Employee entitlement whereby the employee's share of nonforfeitable retirement benefits is increased, as determined by years of service with the employer, prior to reaching full vesting
    An example would be 50 percent vested after 3 years of service, 75 percent vested after 4 years of service, and 100 percent vested after 5 years of service.
  • Green jobs
    Jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources, or jobs in which workers' duties involve making their establishment's production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources
    "BLS developed a definition of green jobs for use in data collection. Since 2011, BLS has not produced data on green jobs. For information on green jobs, see "
  • Gross manipulation
    Seizing, holding, grasping, turning ,or otherwise working with the hand(s)
    In gross manipulation, the fingers are involved only to the extent that they are an extension of the hand.
  • Gross output
    Total output produced by an industry or a sector
    Gross output is measured as the industry or sector’s sales or receipts plus commodity taxes and changes in inventories, which can include sales to final users in the economy (GDP) or sales to other industries (intermediate inputs).
  • Growth rate
    Percent change in the value of a measure over a given period

    For example, in the BLS Employment Projections program, growth rate adjectives used in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) are defined by the following percent changes for the 2016–26 employment projections: much faster than the average = 15 percent or more, faster than the average = 10 percent to 14 percent, as fast as the average = 5 percent to 9 percent, slower than the average = 2 percent to 4 percent, little or no change = –1 percent to 1 percent, and decline = –2 percent or more.

    See the video Understanding BLS employment.

  • Hardship withdrawals
    Money withdrawals from an employee's retirement account that are due to financial hardship
    Hardship withdrawals usually are obtained at a lower interest rate than if the employee were to borrow from a financial institution. Although most early withdrawals incur tax penalties, hardship withdrawals do not.
  • Hazardous contaminants
    Contaminants such that exposure to them harms the respiratory system, eyes, skin, or other living tissue via inhalation, ingestion or contact
  • Healthcare benefits
    Benefits in the form of preventive and protective medical, dental, vision, or prescription drug coverage to employees and dependents
  • Healthcare reimbursement accounts (HRAs)
    Accounts allocate a declared pretax amount of earnings to an account used to pay out-of-pocket healthcare expenses not covered by their health insurance
    Money from these accounts can be used to pay deductibles, copayments, coinsurance and other qualified expenses. Any money not used by the end of the plan year is forfeited.
  • Health maintenance organization (HMO)
    Health plan provider that assumes both the financial risks associated with offering comprehensive medical services and the responsibility for delivering healthcare in a particular geographic area, usually in return for a fixed, prepaid fee from members
    HMOs emphasize preventive care and cover most types of care in full or subject to a copayment. Traditional HMOs provides no benefits for services obtained outside the network. Open-access HMOs allow enrollees to receive services from a non-network provider at a higher cost than the enrollee would pay at a network provider.
  • Health savings account (HSA)
    Employee-owned portable account that uses tax-exempt contributions to pay for medical expenses. HSAs are used in combination with employer-provided high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) that have annual maximum limits on out-of-pocket and deductible expenses
    Other features include the rollover of unused contributions from year to year and tax-free interest.
  • Hearing loss
    Regressive change in hearing threshold relative to the baseline audiogram
    The baseline audiogram is an average of 10 decibels (dB) or more in either ear at 2,000, 3,000, and 4,000 hertz, and the total hearing level is 25 dB or more above the audiometric zero (also averaged at 2,000, 3,000, and 4,000 hertz) in the same ear(s).
  • Heavy vibration
    Vibration of one or more shaking objects or surfaces such that exposure to the vibration causes a strain on the body or the extremities

    "Some examples of jobs in which heavy vibration is an issue include operating a jackhammer, a bulldozer, or a printing press."

    For more information on heavy vibration, see the ORS collection manual.

  • Hedonic model
    Regression model designed to isolate and measure the influence on price of economically meaningful product characteristics
    For instance, a computer can be disaggregated into characteristics such as speed of processor, hard drive capacity, amount of memory, and many other defining features that influence the computer’s price. These product characteristics enter a regression as independent (explanatory) variables, and the product’s selling price is entered as the dependent variable. The independent (explanatory) variables are “regressed” against the dependent variable, yielding implicit prices (regression coefficients) for each of the independent variables.
  • High-deductible health plan (HDHP)
    Health plan that typically features a higher deductible and lower insurance premiums than traditional health plans
    See Internal Revenue Service (IRS) minimum deductible amounts for coverage amounts. HDHPs include catastrophic coverage to protect against large medical expenses, but the insured are responsible for routine out-of-pocket expenses until they meet the plan deductible.
  • High school diploma or equivalent
    Award for the completion of high school or an equivalent program
  • Hiring bonus
    Payment offered by an employer to attract candidates to persuade them to take a job with the company
  • Hispanic or Latino ethnicity
    Ethnicity of individuals who identify themselves in the CPS questionnaire as being Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino
    People whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.
  • Holiday bonus
    Additional payment to employees made on a holiday as a sign of appreciation for their work
  • Holidays (paid); paid holidays
    Days of special religious, cultural, social, or patriotic significance on which work and business ordinarily cease and for which employees receive full or partial pay
    Employees usually have these days off from work.
  • Home healthcare
    Skilled-nursing and therapeutic services for patients in their own homes
  • Hospice care
    Nursing care and psychological support for terminally ill patients and their families, either on an inpatient basis or in the patient's home
  • Hourly earnings
    Hourly rate of pay earned by a worker
    Data pertain to wage and salary workers who are paid by the hour and refer to a person’s sole or principal job. Hourly earnings for hourly paid workers do not include overtime pay, commissions, or tips received.
  • Hours of work
    Actual and usual hours of work
    For example, people who normally work 40 hours a week but were off on a holiday would be reported as having worked 32 hours even though they were paid for the holiday on which they did not work. Published data on hours of work relate to the actual number of hours spent “at work” during the reference week. For those working in more than one job, the published figures relate to the number of hours worked at all jobs during the reference week. Data on people “at work” exclude those employed who were absent from their jobs during the entire reference week for reasons such as vacation, illness, or an industrial dispute. Data also are available on usual hours worked by all those employed, including those who were absent from their jobs during the reference week.
  • Hours worked
    Total number of hours worked by wage and salary workers, unincorporated self-employed workers, and unpaid family workers to produce output
    Also known as hours, hours of all workers or number of hours.
  • Household; housing
    All people-related family members and unrelated people-who occupy a housing unit and have no other usual address

    The housing unit may be a house, an apartment, a group of rooms, or a single room, as long as it is occupied or intended for occupancy as separate living quarters.

    See household data taken from Employment and earnings, February 2006.

  • Housing tenure
    Tenancy arrangement of a family's principal place of residence during the Consumer Expenditure survey
    “Owner” includes families living in their own homes, cooperatives or condominium apartments, or townhouses. “Renter” includes families paying rent, as well as families living rent free in lieu of wages.
  • Immediate disability retirement benefits
    Benefits available upon the onset of disability or after a specified waiting period
    Early retirement reductions do not apply to immediate disability benefits; participants’ service credits cease to accumulate once immediate disability benefits begin.
  • Implicit combined inputs deflator
    Index of the change over time in the cost to produce output, relative to a base period
  • Implicit price deflator
    Index of the change over time in the value of output, relative to a base period
  • Imputation
    Process of filling in missing data in a survey by using statistical_methods
    Most BLS surveys collect multiple kinds of data from respondents. When respondents’ information is missing, not collected, or incomplete, BLS uses models to fill in missing items of data.
  • Incentive-based pay
    Pay such as production bonuses or commissions, or pay based on piece rates or incentives such as production, sales, or output
    Nonproduction bonuses or those not tied to individual production or output are considered as part of benefits.
  • Incidence rate (injuries and illnesses)
    Number of injuries and/or illnesses per 100 full-time workers over a specified time
    The Survey of Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) calculates the incidence rate as (N/EH) ´ 200,000, where N = number of injuries and/or illnesses, EH = total hours worked by all employees during the calendar year, and 200,000 = base for 100 full-time equivalent workers (working 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year).
  • Income
    Total money earnings and selected money receipts, including wages and salaries, self_employment earnings, Social Security, retirement benefits, total money earnings and selected money receipts, rental and property money received, unemployment and workers' compensation and veterans' benefits, public assistance, supplemental security benefits, food stamps, regular contributions for support (e.g., alimony and child support payments), money from care of foster children, cash scholarships, fellowships, stipends not based on working, and meals and rent as pay

    For the Consumer Expenditure survey, income includes all consumer unit members (14 years of age or older) during the 12 months preceding the interview. Income and earnings are two distinct concepts, although there are some similarities between them.

    For more information about income and personal taxes, see the Consumer Expenditure Surveys glossary: Personal income and taxes.

    See also the Comparison matrix of BLS compensation data sources.

    See also earnings.

  • Independent contractor
    Individual who identifies as an independent contractor, a consultant, or a freelance worker in the CPS Contingent Worker supplement, regardless of whether the individual identified as a wage and salary worker or self-employed worker in response to the basic CPS labor force status questions
    Workers identified as self-employed (incorporated and unincorporated) in the basic CPS are asked, “Are you self-employed as an independent contractor, independent consultant, or something else (such as a shop or restaurant owner)?” to distinguish those who consider themselves to be independent contractors, consultants, or freelance workers from those who are business operators such as shop owners or restaurateurs. Those identified as wage and salary workers in the basic CPS are asked, “Last week, were you working as an independent contractor, an independent consultant, or a freelance worker? That is, someone who obtains customers on his or her own to provide a product or service.”
  • Index
    Measure of change in some quantity over time

    BLS uses several indexes to gauge certain economic trends. Examples include the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Producer Price Index (PPI), and Employer Cost Index (ECI).

    See also base period.

  • Industry
    Group of establishments performing the same or similar economic activities

    Establishments are classified by industry with the use of an industrial classification system such as the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

    See also NAICS.

  • Industry group
    Group of organizations that produce similar products or services
    For example, all establishments that manufacture automobiles are in the same industry. A given industry, or even a particular establishment in that industry, might have employees in dozens of occupations.
  • Industry input index
    Measure of the average change in prices for domestic inputs consumed by a specific industry or industry sector, excluding capital investment and labor
  • Inflation
    Rising prices of goods and services over time

    When inflation occurs, the purchasing power of money declines. For example, if the inflation rate is 2 percent annually, then, theoretically, a $1 basket of apples will cost $1.02 in a year.

    See contract escalation.

  • Information capital
    Information that has intrinsic value and that can be shared and leveraged within and among organizations
  • Initiation
    Data collectors' attempt both to get an establishment to agree to participate in a survey and to educate the establishment on the methods involved
  • Injury/illness incidence rate
    Number of injuries and/or illnesses per a predetermined number of full-time workers

    Calculated as (N/EH) ´ 200,000, where N = number of injuries and/or illnesses, EH = total hours worked by all employees during the calendar year, and 200,000 = base for 100 full-time equivalent workers (working 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year).

    See the video, "Worker safety data."

  • Injury or Illness
    Condition or significantly aggravated preexisting condition caused by or attributable to the work environment

    An injury or illness is considered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to be work related if the criteria stated in the definition are met.

    See the video, "Worker safety data."

  • Inpatient care
    Treatment in a hospital or specialized facility
  • Input
    Materials, services, and construction products purchased by producers for use in the production of a good or service
  • Input-output price ratio
    Ratio of the aggregate price of capital services and labor hours to the price of the output
    The input–output price ratio is the ratio of the rate of rent paid for capital services to the price of the output.
  • Input price
    Cost of producing goods and services
  • Insured plan
    Employer contract with another organization to assume financial responsibility for the costs of enrollees' medical claims
  • Integration with Social Security
    Process whereby the employer's contribution to taxes falling under the Social Security Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) is taken into account when a retirement plan's benefits are computed
    Defined benefit plans may integrate retirement benefits with Social Security benefits. Integration may be accomplished by an offset or a step-rate method.
  • Intermediate demand
    Portion of the Final Demand-Intermediate Demand (FD-ID) system that tracks price changes, from a producer's perspective, of goods, services, and construction products sold to businesses as inputs to production, excluding capital investment

    The Final Demand–Intermediate Demand system includes two parallel treatments of intermediate demand. The first treatment organizes intermediate demand commodities by type and is composed of three main price indexes: processed and unprocessed goods for intermediate demand, services for intermediate demand, and intermediate demand construction. The second treatment organizes intermediate demand commodities into production stages, with the explicit goal of developing a forward-flow model of production and price change.

    See the video, “Introduction to the Producer Price Index.

  • Intermediate inputs
    Goods and services used in the production process to produce other goods or services, rather than for final consumption
    Examples include energy, raw materials, semifinished goods, and services that are purchased from all sources.
  • Intermediate purchases
    Value of goods and services produced that are used as energy, materials, and purchased services in an industry's or sector's production process
  • Intermediate purchases costs
    Monetary payments made for intermediate purchases that are used to produce output
    Examples include energy, materials, and purchased services.
  • Intermediate purchases cost share
    Proportion of the total cost of producing output that is attributed to the cost of consumed intermediate purchases
  • Intermediate purchases productivity
    Efficiency at which intermediate purchases are utilized in producing output of goods and services
    Intermediate purchases productivity is measured as output produced per unit of intermediate purchases.
  • Intermediate purchases-to-hours ratio
    Change in the amount of intermediate purchases used relative to the change in the amount of labor used to produce output
  • Internal limits
    Limits that apply to individual categories of medical care
    For example, a $250-per-procedure deductible for inpatient surgery.
  • Internal Revenue Code (IRC) limit
    Dollar limitation on benefits and contributions under qualified defined contribution plans
    Section 415 of the IRC provides for dollar limitations on benefits and contributions under qualified defined contribution plans. In 2016, the contribution limit was $18,000 per year.
  • Investment price deflator
    Change in the cost of a unit of capital services over time
  • Item nonresponse
    Nonresponse in which a survey respondent answers some, but not all, questions or provides incomplete information in answering questions

    Item nonresponse is a source of nonsampling error.

    See imputation.

  • Item specification
    Description of an item (a good or service) that includes price-determining characteristics and any other information necessary to distinguish the item from all others
  • Paid absence from work when an employee is unable to work because of a non-work-related illness or injury
    The employer usually provides all or part of an employee’s earnings. Employees commonly receive their regular pay for a specified number of days off per year. Sick leave is provided on a per-year basis, usually expressed in days.
  • Paid time away from work (or pay in lieu of time off) provided on an annual basis and normally taken in blocks of days or weeks
    Paid vacations commonly are granted to employees only after they meet specified service requirements. The amount of vacation leave received each year usually varies with the length of service. Vacation time off normally is paid at full pay or partial pay, or it may be a percentage of employee earnings.
  • Paradata
    Data captured as part of the process of producing a survey statistic
    Paradata can include process data, such as data on the timing of a question or survey, user log-ins for online surveys, or errors triggered in the survey instrument; or observational data, such as interviewer evaluations of respondents’ concerns, neighborhood conditions, and interview data quality.
  • Participation in a benefit plan
    Fulfillment of applicable service and contribution requirements for eligible workers in an insurance or retirement plan
    Employees in noncontributory plans are counted as participating regardless of whether they have fulfilled the service requirements.
  • Part of body
    Area of the body affected by an injury or illness
    Area that is directly linked to the nature of the injury or illness cited—for example, back sprain, finger cut, or wrist and carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Part time
    Less than 35 hours of work per week
  • Part time for economic reasons
    People who usually work part_time and were at work 1 to 34 hours during the reference week for an economic reason
    People classified as at work part time for economic reasons are sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers. Economic reasons are slack work or unfavorable business conditions, inability to find full-time work, and seasonal declines in demand. Those who usually work part time must also indicate that they want and are available for full-time work to be classified as part time for economic reasons.
  • Part time for noneconomic reasons
    People who usually work part_time and were at work 1 to 34 hours during the reference week for a noneconomic reason
    Noneconomic reasons are illness or other medical limitation, childcare problems or other family or personal obligations, school or training, retirement or Social Security limits on earnings, and being in a job in which full-time work is less than 35 hours. The group also includes those who gave an economic reason for usually working 1 to 34 hours but said that they did not want to work full time or were unavailable for such work.
  • Payment in lieu of benefit
    Payment to employees instead of the employer providing a benefit
    In some cases, the employer offers cash to employees who waive employer-sponsored benefits, such as sick leave or healthcare. When the employee accepts the offer, the employer passes the savings from the waived benefit to the employee.
  • Payroll deduction individual retirement account (IRA)
    Retirement savings account established by the employer on behalf of the employee, with no employer contributions and with the employee authorizing a payroll deduction by the employer
    The employee can open either a traditional (tax-deductible) or Roth (contributions are made after taxes but accumulate tax free until retirement) account with a financial institution. As long as the employer’s involvement is minimal, the account is not treated as an employer-sponsored retirement account and is not subject to the legal requirements of such accounts.
  • Pension equity plan
    Retirement savings plan based on each year worked, for which employees receive a percentage applied to their final average earnings
    Benefits generally are distributed as a lump sum but may be converted to an annuity.
  • Percentage of unreduced accrued benefit
    Method in which the participant's pension is not reduced to adjust for survivor benefits
    The participant will receive an amount equal to the straight-life annuity, and the spouse will receive a proportion of that amount, often 50 percent, should the participant die.
  • Percent change (in an index)
    Quantity calculated as [(index period 2 minus index period 1) divided by index period 1] multiplied by 100, or, mathematically [(index period 2 - index period 1)/index period 1] * 100
    Price change is usually expressed in percentage terms.
  • Performance-based stock option
    Stock option offered to employees only if certain company performance criteria are met
    Earnings-per-share targets are an example of performance criteria.
  • Permanent job losers
    Unemployed individuals whose employment ended involuntarily and who began looking for work
  • Personal leave (paid); paid personal leave
    General-purpose paid time off not provided by other specified forms of leave
    Some employers place restrictions on the purposes for which personal leave may be used.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
    Equipment used or worn to minimize exposure to serious workplace_injuries and illnesses
  • Personas
    Representations of a product's target audience(s) based on data, presented as specific details about individuals rather than general descriptions of whole groups, and used to guide design and ensure that users' needs are met
  • Physical demands
    Levels and/or durations of physical exertion generally required for a worker to perform occupational tasks

    For more information on individual demands, see the ORS Visual Overview for Physical Demands Data Element.

    See Occupational Requirements Survey: Visual overview for physical demands data elements.

  • Pilot test
    Small-scale preliminary study conducted to evaluate the feasibility of a system or project prior to its becoming operational
  • Place of residence
    Location where a respondent resides
    This term refers to labor force data that are based on the location where a respondent resides. The data are typically from household surveys.
  • Place of work
    Usual geographic location at which workers carried out their occupational activities during the employment status reference week
    The terms “worksite,” “workplace,” and “place of work” are interchangeable.
  • Point-of-service (POS) plan
    Medical benefit plan that provides services through a network of participating healthcare providers
    Services received within the network or through select medical facilities generally provide more generous benefits than services received outside the network.
  • Poisoning
    Ingestion or absorption of toxic substances into the body, as evidenced by abnormal concentrations of such substances in blood, other bodily fluids, other tissues, or the breath
    Examples include poisoning by lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, or other metals; poisoning by carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, or other gases; poisoning by benzene, benzol, carbon tetrachloride, or other organic solvents; poisoning by insecticide sprays such as parathion or lead arsenate; and poisoning by other chemicals, such as formaldehyde.
  • Population control adjustments
    Independent estimates of a population that are used to weight sample results to reflect population totals
    Developed by the U.S Census Bureau, CPS population controls are based on decennial census population counts, supplemented with birth and death data and estimates of net international migration. The population estimation methodology is available on the Census Bureau’s website. The Census Bureau adjusts the CPS population controls each year to include the latest information about population change and to incorporate any improvements in the estimation methodology. BLS introduces the annual population control adjustments into the CPS estimates with data for January. The adjustments may increase or decrease the estimated population level, depending on whether the latest information indicates that the population estimates had trended high or low. Conceptually, the effects of the annual population control adjustments represent cumulative over- or underestimation of the population since the last decennial census point.
  • Population inference
    Process of deducing characteristics of an underlying distribution from observed data
  • Portability of assets
    Participant's ability to withdraw his or her accumulated retirement plan assets or transfer them to another retirement arrangement
  • Portability of benefits
    Participant's ability to maintain and transfer accumulated benefits when changing jobs
    Portability provisions in defined benefit plans may cover portability of assets, portability of credited service, or both.
  • Portability of credited service
    Ability to receive credit for years of service with a previous employer when determining benefits with the current employer
    For example, an employee with military service may receive federal government credit for that service.
  • Posttax contributions
    Funds that employees establish as part or all of their retirement plan contributions after taxes have been deducted from pay
    Posttax contributions and their earnings are not subject to income tax upon distribution. This approach is similar to the way a Roth IRA plan works.
  • Preferred provider organization (PPO)
    Health plan provider that contracts with medical personnel to create a healthcare network that accepts a negotiated rate for services provided to members of the plan
    Participants may seek services from healthcare providers outside the network, but generally the costs are higher. The additional costs may be in the form of higher deductibles, higher coinsurance rates, or both, or in the form of nondiscounted charges from providers.
  • Premium (insurance)
    Charge for coverage of an insurance benefit for a defined period
    Premiums can be paid by employers, unions, or employees or can be shared by the enrollee and the plan sponsor.
  • Preretirement survivor annuity
    Lifetime payment provided to the spouse of a worker who died before retirement or prior to eligibility for retirement benefits
    At the time of death of the participant, the benefits become fully vested. The amount of the annuity is based on the benefit the participant would have been eligible for if retirement had occurred on the date of death.
  • Prescription drug plan
    Plan that provides coverage for outpatient prescription drugs
    Prescription drugs dispensed during a hospital stay are considered hospital miscellaneous charges.
  • Pretax contributions
    Funds that employees establish as part or as all of their benefit plan contributions before taxes have been deducted from pay
    Pretax contributions may include contributions to retirement plans and/or healthcare plans. Pretax contributions in a retirement plan are subject to income tax upon distribution.
  • Pretesting
    Administration of a set of methods for improving the validity and reliability of survey questions, tools, forms, or websites
    Pretesting can include the administration of methods such as cognitive interviews, focus groups, usability tests, and field tests.
  • Preventive services
    Healthcare services covered under an insurance plan that are designed to help keep people well rather than to treat existing conditions
    Preventive services include wellness visits, cleanings, and x rays.
  • Price deflator
    Factor used to adjust the value of currency over time
    A price deflator can be used to convert current-dollar values to constant-dollar values.
  • private_industry employment
    Employment in businesses owned by individuals or groups of individuals

    Private industry employees include most corporate officials, all executives, all supervisory personnel, all professionals, all clerical workers, many farmworkers, all wage earners, all pieceworkers, and all part-time workers. Workers on paid sick leave, paid holiday, paid vacation, and the like also are covered. Workers on the payroll of more than one firm during the period are counted by each employer that is subject to unemployment insurance (UI), as long as those workers satisfy the preceding definition of employment.

    See also employment.

  • Private household workers
    Workers employed by private households to perform tasks related primarily to the operation of the household or about the premises of the household
    Private household workers include, cooks, maids, butlers, and outside workers, such as gardeners, caretakers, and other maintenance workers.
  • Productive capital stock
    Implicit amount of new investment that would be required to produce the same present-day services as the existing level of capital assets
  • Productivity
    Measure of economic efficiency that shows how effectively economic inputs are converted into goods and services
  • Professional employer organization (PEO)
    Business that provides a service under which an employer can outsource management tasks (e.g., employee benefits, payroll and workers' measure of economic efficiency that shows how effectively economic inputs are converted into goods and services compensation, recruiting, training and development)
    The professional employer organization serves as the coemployer of the client’s employees for payroll, benefits, and related purposes.
  • Profits
    Portion of total income from the sale of goods and services that exceeds the total cost of producing those goods and services
  • Provider network
    Group of healthcare providers with whom a plan has contracted to provide medical care to its members
    There are two categories of network provider groups: “in-network” providers and “out-of-network” providers.
  • Publishability
    Quality of data that meet all the criteria required for their publication
    The criteria may include confidentiality, statistical quality, and timeliness.
  • Purchased services
    Amount of outside contract work used to produce output
  • Quality adjustment
    Method of adjusting prices whenever the characteristics of a good or service change because of innovation or the introduction of a completely new good or service

    For example, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) program uses quality adjustment.

    For an example of quality adjustment, see Quality adjustment in the CPI

  • Quality-of-life benefits
    Family- and environmentally friendly work arrangements that are intended to improve the lives of employees
  • Quartile
    Division of a distribution of values into four equal segments
    The lowest quartile ranges from the lowest value to the 25th percentile; the second quartile ranges from the 25th percentile to the 50th percentile; the third quartile ranges from the 50th percentile to the 75th percentile; the fourth quartile ranges from the 75th percentile to the highest value.
  • Questionnaire design
    Iterative process by which trained staff develop questions and instruments, focusing on issues such as the wording and order of questions, in order to reduce measurement error
    The process often includes multiple pretesting methods.
  • Quintile
    Division of a distribution of values into five equal segments
    The lowest quintile ranges from the lowest value to the 20th percentile; the second quintile ranges from the 20th percentile to the 40th percentile; the third quintile ranges from the 40th percentile to the 60th percentile; the fourth quintile ranges from the 60th percentile to the 80th percentile; and the final quintile ranges from the 80th percentile to the highest value.
  • Race
    Concept of dividing people into populations or groups based on various sets of physical characteristics that usually result from genetic ancestry
    BLS publishes data on the following race groups: White, Black or African American, Asian, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Two or More Races.
  • Random-digit dialing (RDD)
    Method of selecting survey participants by randomly generating a phone number, rather than drawing from a source, such as a phone directory
  • Rate of change
    Ratio between a change in one variable relative to a corresponding change in another variable
    The denominator to calculate the rate of change is often time.
  • Real hourly compensation
    Average monetary payments made to individuals for an hour of labor service, adjusted for inflation
  • Real output
    Value of receipts or sales, adjusted for inflation
  • Real value-added output
    Difference between the output of goods and services and the intermediate inputs consumed to produce that output, adjusted for inflation
  • Recent high school graduates
    People who completed high school in the calendar year of the survey (January through October)
  • Recordable cases
    Severe-to-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses that result in time away from work and are diagnosed by a physician or other licensed healthcare professional
    These cases include any work-related case involving cancer, chronic irreversible disease, a fractured or cracked bone, or a punctured eardrum. Additional criteria that can result in a recordable case include any needlestick injury or cut from a sharp object that is contaminated with another person’s blood or other potentially infectious material, any case requiring an employee to be medically removed under the requirements of an OSHA health standard, and a tuberculosis infection as evidenced by a positive skin test or diagnosis by a physician or other licensed healthcare professional after exposure to a known case of active tuberculosis.
  • Reentrants
    Unemployed people who previously worked but were out of the labor force before beginning their job search
  • Reference person
    Person with respect to whom the relationship of the other consumer unit or household members is determined
    As a participant in the Consumer Expenditure survey, the reference person is the first member mentioned by the respondent when asked to “Start with the name of the person or one of the persons who owns or rents the home.”
  • Reference week (CPS)
    7-day period (Sunday through Saturday) in which CPS labor force questions ask about labor market activities
    "The CPS reference week is the specific week of the month used to determine the employment status of survey respondents, and the last week of the 4-week job search period used to determine unemployment status. The reference week usually is the 7-day calendar week (Sunday–Saturday) that includes the 12th of the month, with occasional exceptions."
  • Referral bonus
    Bonus given to an employee for recommending a qualified applicant who is hired by the organization
  • Regular contacts
    People with whom a worker has an established working relationship
  • Rehabilitation
    Therapy intended to restore someone to health or a normal life after imprisonment, addiction, injury, or illness.
    Services can be provided on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Services include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and psychotherapy.
  • Reliability of estimates
    Extent to which an experiment, test, or measuring procedure yields the same results on repeated trials
    When a sample rather than the entire population is surveyed, there is a chance that the sample estimates may differ from the “true” population values they represent. CPS data are subject to both sampling and nonsampling error. The exact difference, or sampling error, varies with the particular sample selected, and this variability is measured by the standard error of the estimate. There is about a 90-percent chance, or level of confidence, that an estimate based on a sample will differ by no more than 1.6 standard errors from the true population value because of sampling error. BLS analyses are generally conducted at the 90-percent level of confidence. More information about the reliability of data from the CPS can be found at
  • Rented dwellings (expenditures)
    Rent paid for dwellings, and rent received as pay, parking fees, maintenance, and other expenses associated with rented dwellings
  • Repricing
    Process of collecting and providing updated price data for selected items
  • Research and development
    Set of activities directed toward the innovation, introduction, and improvement of products (goods and services) and processes
  • Research participant
    Individual who voluntarily participates in a pretesting study, either in person or online
    Individual research participants may share one or more characteristics with the target survey population, but small samples of research participants are rarely considered representative.
  • Respiratory conditions
    Illnesses associated with breathing hazardous substances at work
    Substances include biological agents, chemicals, dust, gases, vapors, and fumes. Examples include silicosis, asbestosis, pneumonitis, pharyngitis, rhinitis or acute congestion, farmer’s lung, beryllium disease, tuberculosis, occupational asthma, reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), hypersensitivity pneumonitis, toxic inhalation injury such as metal fume fever, chronic obstructive bronchitis, and other pneumoconioses.
  • Respondent burden
    Actual or perceived effort or costs incurred by a respondent in the process of responding to a survey
    Respondent burden may be expressed as an amount of time used.
  • Response rate
    Proportion of sample units providing data
  • Retention bonus
    Payment given by an employer to a current employee to retain that individual within the organization
    "A retention bonus is normally a one-time payment that is offered as an incentive to keep a key employee on the job during a particularly crucial event, such as a merger or an acquisition, or during a crucial production period. "
  • Retiree healthcare plan
    Plan providing healthcare coverage to retired individuals beyond what is mandated by law
    Coverage typically includes provisions found in a medical plan, such as hospitalization and doctor’s care. The retiree plan does not have to be the same plan provided to active employees, nor does it matter whether the retiree pays the entire premium. Plans that cover only dental, vision, or prescription drugs are not included.
  • Retirement benefits
    Benefits an individual receives after retiring
    Retirement benefits apply to defined benefit pension plans and defined contribution retirement plans.
  • Reweighting
    Process by which specifications and weights are adjusted to reflect changes in the representativeness of a sample
  • Rural population
    All people living outside a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and within an area with a population of less than 2,500
  • Safety bonus
    Bonus given to employees for maintaining a high level of safety in the workplace, usually in a high-risk-injury work environment
    For example, warehouse workers may receive a bonus for experiencing no injury days during a quarter.
  • Salary
    See Earnings.
  • Sample
    Subset of a population, usually selected randomly and considered representative of the population
    For example, the CPS monthly sample size is approximately 60,000 households.
  • Sample frame
    Listing of all units in the population from which a sample can be drawn

    See sample.

  • Sampling
    Process of selecting a representative subset of units from some population with the aim of making estimates about that population
  • Sampling error
    Error in estimation arising from using a sample rather than the full population
    Sampling error can result even when no mistakes of any kind are made. To reduce the error, increase the sample size.
  • Savings and thrift plan
    Investment plan allowing employees to contribute a portion of their (usually pretax) earnings-all or part of which the employer matches-to an individual account
  • Savings incentive match plan for employees (SIMPLE)
    Retirement plan limited to employers with fewer than 100 employees
    A SIMPLE can be either part of a 401(k) plan or established as an IRA. Employers must either make matching contributions of up to 3 percent of compensation or make a 2-percent nonelective contribution to all eligible employees. The employee is always 100 percent vested.
  • Savings plan with no employer contributions
    Cash or deferred arrangement plan used to fund savings and retirement plans authorized by the Internal Revenue service (IRS) Code
    This type of plan is authorized by section 401(k), 403(b), or 457 of the IRS code. Employees’ contributions can be pre- and/or posttax. Plans of this type are generally outside the scope of what is reported by the NCS.
  • School enrollment
    Attendance at a regular school- that is, an elementary school, a junior or senior high school, or a college or university
    Respondents are asked whether they were currently enrolled in a regular school, including day or night school in any type of public, parochial, or other private school. Regular schooling is that which may advance a person toward a high school diploma or a college, university, or professional degree. Other schooling, including trade schools, on-the-job training, and courses that do not require one’s physical presence in school, such as correspondence courses or other courses of independent study, is included only if the credits granted count toward promotion in regular schools.
  • Seasonal adjustment
    Statistical modification designed to remove the influences of predictable patterns over a year in order to allow more consistent comparison across periods, including months and quarters
    Some economic data exhibit fluctuations due to seasonal events, including changes in weather, harvests, major holidays, and school schedules. Because these seasonal events follow a more or less regular pattern each year, their influence on statistical trends can be eliminated by seasonally adjusting the statistics from month to month. Seasonal adjustments make it easier to observe the cyclical, underlying trend and other, nonseasonal movements in the series.
  • Sector
    Group of industries engaged in similar economic activities
    In NAICS, the first two digits designate the economic sector, the third digit designates the subsector, the fourth digit designates the industry group, the fifth digit designates the NAICS industry, and the sixth digit designates the national industry.
  • Sectorally adjusted gross output
    Difference between the total of output that has been adjusted for changes in inventory (gross output) and the subtotal of goods and services shipped among related industry establishments
    Referred to as intra-industry and intrasectoral shipments.
  • Self-insured healthcare plan
    Healthcare plan whereby employers directly assume the major cost of health insurance for their employees
    Employers pay for employees’ medical claims, instead of paying premiums to insurance carriers. Self-insured plans can insure against large claims through the purchase of stop-loss coverage. Self-insured plans can also contract with insurance carriers or third-party administrators for claims processing and other administrative services.
  • Separations rate
    See Total separations rate.
  • services sector
    Group of industries that includes wholesale and retail trade; transportation and warehousing; information; finance and insurance; real estate brokering, rental, and leasing; professional, scientific, and technical services; administrative, support, and waste management services; healthcare and social assistance; and accommodation (NAICS sectors 42 through 92)
  • Short-term disability plan
    Plan that provides benefits for non-work-related illnesses or accidents on a per-disability basis
    Benefits are typically for a 6- to 12-month period. Benefits are paid as a percentage of employee earnings or as a flat dollar amount. Short-term disability benefits vary with the amount of predisability earnings, the length of service with the establishment, or the length of the disability.
  • Signing bonus stock option
    Stock option offered to employees to encourage them to join a firm by giving them a chance to make a significant capital gain
  • Simplified employee pension (SEP) plan
    Individual retirement account established by employers for eligible employees that allows employees to direct their investments and be immediately vested in employer contributions
    A SEP is a pension plan that provides business owners with a simplified method to contribute toward their employees’ retirement as well as their own retirement savings; contributions are made to an Individual Retirement Account or Annuity (IRA) set up for each plan participant (a SEP-IRA).
  • Size of the consumer unit
    Number of people whose usual place of residence at the time of the interview is in the sample unit
  • Skilled-nursing facility
    Institution that provides rehabilitation and recovery services, as well as skilled nursing care, to patients who require less intensive treatment than that provided in a hospital
  • Skin diseases or disorders
    Illnesses associated with the worker's skin that are caused by exposure to chemicals, plants, or other substances at work
    Examples include contact dermatitis, eczema, or rash caused by primary irritants and sensitizers or poisonous plants; oil acne; friction blisters; chrome ulcers; and inflammation of the skin.
  • Source of injury or illness
    Object, substance, exposure, or bodily motion that directly produced or inflicted an injury or illness
    "The source can be primary or secondary. For example, if a person is hit at work by a tool accidentally thrown by a frustrated worker, the frustrated worker is the secondary source of the injury and the tool is the primary source. "
  • South
    Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia

    See also census regions.

    For information on census regions, see the BLS interactive geographic regions map.

  • Specific vocational preparation (SVP)
    Education, training, and experience necessary for a typical worker to learn the techniques, acquire the information, and develop the ability needed for average performance in a specific job in support of the job's critical tasks and functions
  • Specified matching percentage
    Benefit whereby the employer matches a specified percentage of employee contributions to retirement plans
    This benefit is commonly used in savings and thrift plans. The matching percentage can vary by length of service, amount of employee contribution, and other factors.
  • Stage of processing (SOP)
    Former bls price analysis system that provided an index at three major stages of processing: crude materials for further processing; intermediate materials, supplies, and components; and finished goods
    The SOP aggregation system that the Producer Price Index (PPI) program used from 1978 until 2014 was replaced by the Final Demand–Intermediate Demand (FD-ID) aggregation system.
  • Standard
    Any document, established by consensus and approved by a recognized body, that provides for common and repeated use, and that contains rules, guidelines, or characteristics for activities or their results
  • Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)
    System for classifying industries by a four-digit code (no longer used by bls)
    In the United States, the SIC was supplanted by the six-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) in 1997.
  • Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system
    System used by federal statistical agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data

    All workers are classified into 1 of more than 800 occupations according to their occupational definition. For facilitating classification, occupations are combined to form 23 major groups, 96 minor groups, and 449 broad occupations. Each broad occupation includes detailed occupations requiring similar job duties, skills, education, or experience.

    For more information about the Standard Classification system, see the Standard Occupational Classification homepage.  

  • State temporary disability plan
    State-required disability plan providing temporary income for a limited period to workers who are unable to work because of non-work-related accidents or illnesses
    California, Rhode Island, Hawaii, New Jersey, and New York require temporary disability insurance (TDI) coverage. California and Rhode Island mandated plans do not require employer contributions; Hawaii, New Jersey, and New York require employer contributions to disability plans.
  • Statistical computing
    Use of computer science to solve statistical problems
    Statistical computing is also known as computational statistics.
  • Statistical model
    Mathematical description that accounts for randomness in a real-world phenomenon
  • Stock bonus plan
    Benefit plan in which the employer pays into a trust fund that invests in securities, including those of the employing company
    Upon the employee’s retirement or separation from the company, proceeds from the trust fund are paid out in the form of company stock or cash. This type of plan is financed by the employer or jointly by the employer and employee.
  • Stock option plan
    Contract between a company and its employees giving the employees the right to buy a specific number of company shares at a fixed price within a certain timeframe
    "Stock options are available only to employees of for-profit private industry establishments. See for more information."
  • Stooping
    Bending the body forward and down by bending the spine at the waist and leaning down toward an object or the ground

    Stooping can occur in a seated position, although it occurs most often while standing.

    For more information, please see the Occupational Requirements Survey: Visual overview for physical demands data elements.

  • Straight-life annuity
    Periodic benefit payment that is made for the life of the retiree, with no additional payments to survivors
  • Strength
    Capacity for exertion or endurance, determined by the amount of weight lifted or carried, the duration of lifting or carrying that weight, and how long a worker sits or stands/walks per day
  • Strike
    Temporary stoppage of work by a group of employees to express a grievance, enforce a demand, or protest the terms, conditions, or provisions of a contract
  • Suggestion bonus
    Payment to employees whose innovative suggestions to create better work processes and improve efficiency in the establishment have been considered or implemented
  • Takeup rate
    Percentage of workers with access to a benefit plan who participate in the plan

    The takeup rate is one of three measures used to examine the incidence of benefits. The other two measures are access and participation.

    See also benefit incidence.

  • Target date fund
    See Life-cycle fund.
  • Task
    Distinct activity assigned to or performed by workers in an occupation such that the activity results in a meaningful outcome
  • Taxonomy
    Classification into ordered categories
  • Temporary-help agency workers
    Workers who are paid by a temporary-help agency
    This category includes workers who say their job is temporary and answer affirmatively to the question, “Are you paid by a temporary-help agency?” Also included are workers who say their job is not temporary and answer affirmatively to the question, “Even though you told me your job is not temporary, are you paid by a temporary-help agency?” To the extent that permanent staff of temporary-help agencies indicate that they are paid by their agencies, the estimate of the number of workers whose employment is mediated by temporary-help agencies can be overstated.
  • Text analysis
    Parsing of texts in order to extract machine-readable facts for the purpose of creating structured data
  • Time-based pay
    Wages and salaries that are based solely on a unit of time, such as an hourly rate or an annual salary
    "Wages and salaries are tied to either an hourly rate or a weekly, monthly, or annual salary. Wages and salaries are not tied directly to production or output. Salaried earnings may be exempt or nonexempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). See the Handbook of Methods for more:"
  • Time series
    Set of periodic measurements designed to be compared over time
    Examples of a time series include measures of labor productivity for a group of industry workers and measures of capital services for an industry’s capital assets.
  • Törnqvist index
    Index calculated by using a weighted geometric mean of growth rates
  • Total compensation
    Employer costs for wages, salaries, and employee benefits
  • Total separations
    Sum of quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations initiated by the employer or the employee
    Other separations include retirements, transfers to other locations, deaths, and employee disability.
  • Total separations rate
    Total separations during the month, divided by the number of employees who worked during or received pay for the pay period that includes the 12th of the month, multiplied by 100
  • Total unit costs
    Total payments (costs) for each unit of output produced
    Unit costs are measured as total income less profits.
  • Township
    Secondary local geographic area (used primarily in the New England states and New Jersey)
  • Traditional defined benefit formula
    Retirement benefit formula determined by a combination of average annual earnings and years of service
  • Traditional fee-for-service plan
    Health benefit plan financing but not delivering healthcare services and allowing participants the choice of any provider without affecting reimbursement
    Employers pay premiums to a private insurance carrier to provide a specific package of health benefits. Some employers may choose to self-fund a fee-for-service plan, in which case the employer, as opposed to an insurance company, assumes responsibility for payment of all eligible benefits.
  • Transfers or rollovers
    Direct payments of plan benefits from a defined contribution plan into an IRA or another employer's plan
    In a direct transfer or rollover, the employee is not taxed on the payment until it is withdrawn or distributed later.
  • Turnover
    See Total separations.
  • Turnover rate
    See Total separations rate.
  • Unemployed
    People who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work at that time, and had made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the 4-week period ending with the reference week

    People who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not be looking for work to be classified as unemployed.

    See also alternative measures of labor underutilization.

  • unemployment_insurance
    Insurance that provides unemployment benefits to eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own and who meet certain other eligibility requirements
    The state and federal Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs provide these benefits. Classification as unemployed in no way depends upon a person’s eligibility for, or receipt of, unemployment insurance benefits. For additional information, see
  • Unemployment rate
    Number unemployed as a percentage of the labor force
  • Union membership rate
    Proportion of total wage and salary workers who are union members
  • Unit capital income
    Amount of value-added revenue, for each unit of output produced, that is attributed to the use of capital
  • Unit labor costs
    Compensation for labor services used to produce each unit of goods and services
  • Unit nonlabor payments
    Costs for each unit of goods and services produced, excluding labor costs
  • Unit nonresponse
    Lack of response to a survey
  • Unit profits
    Corporate profits before taxes, with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments
    Total unit costs less labor costs are profits.
  • Universe
    Total number of units (e.g., individuals, households, or businesses) in the population of interest
  • Unmarried domestic partner benefits
    Benefits extended to an employee's domestic partner
    To qualify for benefits, an employee may need to demonstrate that a partner meets certain criteria set by the employer. Domestic partner benefits can be available for both same-sex and opposite-sex partners.
  • Unpaid family worker
    Person who works without pay for 15 hours a week or more on a farm or in a business operated by a family of the household to whom he or she is related by birth or marriage.
  • Urban population
    All people living in a territory encompassing at least 2,500 people, 1,500 of whom reside outside institutional group quarters

    For the 2010 census, the Census Bureau redefined the classification of urban areas to “a densely settled core of census tracts and/or census blocks that meet minimum population density requirements, along with adjacent territory containing nonresidential urban land uses as well as territory with low population density included to link outlying densely settled territory with the densely settled core.”

    See also rural population.

    For an example of quality adjustment, see Quality adjustment in the CPI.

  • Usability
    Extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use
  • Usability test
    Experiment to observe typical users perform common tasks to uncover potential problems with using a system and to identify possible solutions
  • User research
    Process of learning about the goals and needs of target user groups in order to provide helpful information about users that is needed throughout the development of a product or process
    User research is intended to be done primarily before development begins on the product or process in question.
  • User/stakeholder survey
    Survey sent to users, stakeholders, or customers to collect feedback on current products, programs, or other materials
  • Usual hours
    Usual number of hours an individual works
    Usual number of hours determines a worker’s full- or part-time status.
  • Usual weekly earnings
    Wage and salary earnings before taxes and other deductions
    Usual weekly earnings include any overtime pay, commissions, and tips usually received (at the main job in the case of multiple jobholders). Earnings reported on a basis other than weekly (e.g., annual, monthly, hourly) are converted to weekly. Data refer to wage and salary workers only, excluding all self-employed people (regardless of whether their businesses were incorporated) and all unpaid family workers. Before 1994, respondents were asked how much they usually earned per week. Since January 1994, respondents have been asked to identify the easiest way for them to report their earnings (hourly, weekly, biweekly, twice monthly, monthly, annually, other) and how much they usually earn in the period reported. Earnings reported on a basis other than weekly are converted to a weekly equivalent. The term “usual” is as perceived by the respondent. If the respondent asks for a definition of “usual,” interviewers are instructed to define the term as more than half of the weeks worked during the past 4 or 5 months.
  • Vacancy
    See Job opening.
  • Vacancy rate
    See job_openings rate.
  • Value-added output
    Compensation of employees, plus taxes on production and imports, less subsidies and gross operating surplus
    Value-added output does not include intermediate inputs.
  • Value of production
    Output of an industry or sector, at a given level of aggregation, that reflects only deliveries outside of that industry or sector
  • Variable benefit reduction
    Reduction for early retirement based on age and time necessary to normal retirement benefits
    For example, benefits may be reduced by 3 percent for each year an employee is between age 60 and the age of a plan’s normal retirement, as well as by 6 percent for each year that retirement precedes age 60.
  • Variable-dollar-amount benefit plan
    Benefit plan providing a dollar amount that varies with an employee's earnings and length of service
    For example, employees with 20 years’ length of service receive a benefit of $100,000, whereas those with less than 15 years’ length of service receive a benefit of $50,000.
  • Variable-multiple-of-earnings benefit plan
    A life insurance plan in which benefits are calculated by using multiples that are based on employee earnings
    Variable-multiple-of-earnings benefits is a method of calculating life insurance benefits that is based on thresholds for age, salary, and length of service. For example, employees earning up to $50,000 per year might receive a benefit equal to their annual earnings, whereas employees earning more than $50,000 per year might receive twice their annual earnings.
  • Variance estimate
    Estimate of the uncertainty caused by the use of a sample instead of the population
  • Veterans
    People who have served on Active Duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and who were not on Active Duty at the time of the survey

    Nonveterans never served on Active Duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. Veterans could have served anywhere in the world during the following periods of service: Gulf war era II (September 2001–present), Gulf war era I (August 1990–August 2001), Vietnam era (August 1964–April 1975), Korean war (July 1950–January 1955), World War II (December 1941–December 1946), and other service periods (all other periods). Veterans who served in more than one wartime period are classified into only the most recent one. Veterans who served during one of the selected wartime periods and another period are classified into only the wartime period.

  • Vision care plan
    Plan providing coverage for the improvement of eyesight, including coverage for eyeglasses and contact lenses
    Coverage typically is limited and is subject to applicable copayments or scheduled cash allowances.
  • Wage and salary workers
    People ages 16 and older who receive wages, salaries, commissions, tips, payment in kind, or piece rates

    Wage and salary workers include employees in both the private and public sector. Union membership data and earnings data exclude all self-employed workers, both those with incorporated businesses as well as those with unincorporated businesses. “Wage and salary” is the worker’s hourly straight-time wage rate or, for workers not paid on an hourly basis, straight-time earnings divided by the corresponding hours worked. Straight-time wage and salary rates are total earnings before payroll deductions, excluding premium pay for overtime and for work on weekends and holidays, shift differentials, and nonproduction bonuses such as lump-sum payments provided in lieu of wage increases.

    To find information on pay and benefits, see the "Comparison matrix of BLS compensation data sources."

  • Wages (oes survey)
    Straight-time gross pay, exclusive of premium pay

    The employee’s base rate; cost-of-living allowances; guaranteed pay; hazardous-duty pay; incentive pay, including commissions and production bonuses; and tips are included. Excluded are overtime pay, severance pay, shift differentials, nonproduction bonuses, employer costs for supplementary benefits, and tuition reimbursements. See (section D, question 3).

    To find information on pay and benefits, see the "Comparison matrix of BLS compensation data sources."

  • Wages (qcew)
    Total compensation paid, including bonuses, stock options, severance pay, profit distributions, the cash value of meals and lodging, tips and other gratuities, and, in some states, employer contributions to certain deferred compensation plans (such as 401(k) plans), during the calendar quarter, regardless of when the services were performed

    To find information on pay and benefits, see the "Comparison matrix of BLS compensation data sources."

  • Wages and salaries
    Regular payments from the employer to the employee as compensation for straight-time hourly work or salaried work

    "Straight-time wage and salary rates are total earnings before payroll deductions, excluding premium pay for overtime and for work on weekends and holidays, shift differentials, and nonproduction bonuses such as lump-sum payments provided in lieu of wage increases. However, the NCS does include production bonuses and commissions in wages and salaries.

    See the National Compensation Measures Handbook of Methods concepts section for additional information on wages and salaries.

  • Wealth stock
    Value represented by all existing assets
    Wealth stock is used to estimate depreciation, which is used in computing rental prices.
  • Weight
    Factor applied to sampled units or aggregates and used to make estimates of a population

    For example, sample weights are applied to Consumer Expenditure microdata to estimate total expenditures for an entire year.

    See also reweighting.

  • Well-baby care plan
    Plan providing coverage for preventive care for children 2 years of age and younger
    The benefit includes preventive pediatric care, routine pediatric care, and routine pediatric immunizations. Care immediately after the birth of the child is not included.
  • Wellness program
    Program providing a structured plan, independent from health insurance, that offers employees two or more of the following benefits: • Smoking cessation clinics• Exercise/physical fitness programs • Weight control programs • Nutrition education • Hypertension tests • Periodic physical examinations • Stress management courses • Back care courses• Lifestyle assessment tests
  • West
    Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming

    See also Census regions.

    For information on Census regions, see the BLS interactive geographic regions map.

  • Withdrawal
    Removal of all or a portion of funds in a defined contribution account prior to normal payout
    Normal payout usually occurs after retirement.
  • Workday
    Weekdays Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays
  • Workers paid by the hour
    Wage and salary workers who report that they are paid an hourly rate on their job
    Historically, workers paid an hourly wage have made up approximately three-fifths of all wage and salary workers. Estimates of workers paid by the hour include both full- and part-time workers unless otherwise specified.
  • Workers provided by contract firms
    Individuals who were identified as working for a contract company and who usually work for only one customer, usually at the customer's worksite
    The requirements of usually working for only one customer and usually working at the customer’s worksite are imposed to focus on workers whose employment appears to be very closely tied to the firm for which they are performing the work, rather than including all workers employed by firms that provide services. The category of workers provided by contract firms includes workers who answer affirmatively to the question, “Some companies provide employees or their services to others under contract. A few examples of services that can be contracted out include security, landscaping, and computer programming. Did you work for a company that contracts out you or your services last week?” but who respond negatively to the question, “Are you usually assigned to more than one customer?” and affirmatively to the question, “Do you usually work at the customer’s worksite?”
  • Workers represented by unions
    Union members, as well as workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union or an employee association contract
  • Work level
    Measure of duties and responsibilities that apply to occupations, using an evaluation system based on four factors
    The NCS produces earnings data by levels of work within an occupation. The duties and responsibilities of a job are evaluated with the use of four factors (knowledge, job control and complexity, contacts, physical environment in which the job is performed) to determine a work level. Levels vary by occupation, ranging from 1 to 15. For example, level 1 may represent an entry level, while level 15 may represent master-level skills.
  • Work location
    Physical site where a worker performs the typical duties of his or her occupation
  • Work schedule
    Number of hours a day, days a week, and weeks a year that employees are scheduled to work
  • Work stoppage
    Strike or a lockout