Occupational Requirements Survey technical note
Last Modified Date: December 22, 2020
Data in this release are from the Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS), conducted by
the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The ORS gathers job-
related information regarding physical demands, environmental conditions, mental and
cognitive demands, and vocational preparation requirements. This release contains 2016
estimates on occupational requirements for jobs within the U.S. economy for all civilian
workers. Excluded are the federal government, the military, agricultural workers, private
household workers, and the self-employed. Additional estimates by occupational group and
industry are available through the public database query tools at www.bls.gov/ors/#data.
The 2016 estimates are from a single sample of data collected from an establishment based
survey using a national sample design. The BLS is building the survey and combining data
over three sample years. The full ORS sample, using the three sample years, is expected
to reach approximately XX,XXX establishments.
Data for the 2016 reference period were collected from a national probability sample of
X,XXX private industry and state and local government establishments. The ORS estimates
represent XXX,XXX civilian workers in the United States.
Measures of reliability
To assist users in ascertaining the reliability of ORS estimates, standard errors are
made available shortly after publication of the news release. Standard errors provide
users a measure of the precision of an estimate to ensure that it is within an acceptable
range for their intended purpose. The standard errors are calculated from collected and
imputed data, the BLS is researching methods for estimating the variance excluding
imputed values. For further information see: www.bls.gov/ncs/ors/orse.htm.
The occupational classification system used by the BLS is the Standard Occupational
Classification (SOC) system (www.bls.gov/soc). The ORS classifies occupations by eight-
digit codes used by O*NET’s detailed occupational taxonomy referred to as “O*NET-SOC 2010
Occupations”. There are 840 six-digit SOCs and 1,110 eight-digit SOCs, although military
specific occupations (55-0000.00) are out of scope for the ORS.
Definitions of Major Terms
For definitions of major terms used in the ORS, please see the glossary beginning on page
108 of the ORS Collections Manual. Additionally, explanation of the ORS methodology can
be found in the ORS Handbook of Methods www.bls.gov/opub/hom/ors.
For research papers on the ORS and testing activities please see information listed at