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National Compensation Survey - Wages

OCSP At a Glance

The primary objective of OCSP surveys is to describe the level and distribution of occupational pay in a variety of the Nation's labor markets, using a consistent survey approach. We also provide information on the incidence of employee benefits among and within local labor markets. (Note: OCSP Benefit data are not on the Internet yet.)

Pay data is collected, usually by regional offices , from establishments with 50 or more workers in goods-producing and service industries, and from State and local governments. Probability samples are selected using information compiled from State unemployment insurance reports.

The program develops information that is used for a variety of purposes, including wage and salary administration, collective bargaining, and assistance in determining business or plant location. Survey results also are used by the U.S. Department of Labor in making wage determinations under the Service Contract Act, and by the President's Pay Agent (the Secretary of Labor and Directors of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget) in determining local pay adjustments under the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990.

We publish approximately 85 locality surveys each year and approximately 90 service contract act summaries , 45 published every other year. Data are collected and published for white-collar and blue-collar occupations. For a list of occupations, see Occupational Job Descriptions. Part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees are excluded from both the white-collar and blue-collar categories.

Occupational pay data are shown for full-time workers, i.e., those hired to work a regular weekly schedule. Pay data exclude premium pay for overtime and for work on weekends, holidays, and late shifts. Pay increases-but not bonuses-under cost-of-living allowance clauses and incentive payments, however, are included in the pay data.

Incidence of selected employee benefits are collected for each survey every four years. When benefit data are collected, the percent of workers covered by labor-management agreements is also collected.

For more information about survey design and methods, see Scope and Method of Survey .


Last Modified Date: October 16, 2001