There are many different uses for the WID and depending on the needs of applications or analysts, different problems can rise to the forefront. While it’s not possible to anticipate and solve all those problems, there are some broad approaches that may prevent frustration.
For a full explanation of why OES and SOC codes differ, see the article.
2018 OES Data
In 2019 OES released the 2018 vintage data. This is the version that was largely SOC 2010 based, but included additional hybrid codes and specialty roll-ups. States loaded this data mostly back in May, ideally with codetype 14 and they should have been able to preserve referential integrity by adding a few occupations to the OCCCODES table. Available for download in the WID format for various tables here: http://data.widcenter.org/download/OES%202017%20changes/
2018 OES Data
The 2019 OES data will be released around May of 2020. In broad strokes, though, there are two approaches to preparing the WID for this new data load.
|SOC is king approach:
|OES is best approach:
|Build your lookup table content by combining SOC 2018 values, 2019 hybrid codes, and OES special aggregations from two separate data files.
|Load a complete lookup table generated from the OES publication occupations.
|This makes it easiest to preserve official SOC codes and titles and would be ideal for states that are using several SOC based data sources because it loads a complete SOC structure as well as the OES additions. This would also be the easier approach if a state has already loaded SOC 2018 data – because the codes are added in separate files you can avoid duplication.
|This is easiest for states that use OES data but no other occupation data and that don’t need to relate different data sources.
|The SOC 2018 content linked to below includes all levels of detail, not just the detailed occupations that OES uses for data collection. Standard roll-ups don’t have to be added separately, but it does mean that there may be codes in the OCCCODES table for which there are no data records, depending on suppressions and what aggregations are published.
Depending on application needs, it may also be necessary or desirable to load the OES titles for codes and update a title field with the official OES code so it can be presented consistently with the BLS publication.
|Because in some cases OES publishes to a SOC aggregation (5-digits, instead of the full 6), you will lose some detailed industries and some mid-level aggregations (3- and 4-digit roll-ups) doing it this way, in addition to using titles from the OES program instead of standard SOC.
This file is generated from the national publication. While in general the national estimates have less suppression than local areas and this list is likely to work for preserving referential integrity, some states publish specific detail or different roll-ups. Usually, that’s output from LEWIS. If your state has a special use case for OES there may need to be additional values added to the SOCCODE and OCCCODES tables.
Another hazard is that needs change and if you or a future analyst goes to the SOCCODE or OCCCODES table expecting to get a complete and accurate SOC 2018 code structure they’ll run into problems. Documenting the original source and intention of the contents of those tables is recommended.
Note – in the WID 2.8 release, all title fields were lengthened. That’s the kind of change that can be missed during the upgrade process, but if there are problems getting the titles into the local version of the SOCCODE or OCCCODES table, check to make sure the field length is correct.