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Occupational Outlook Quarterly, v54 n2 p13-19 Sum 2010

Making sense of occupational data isn't always easy. But the task is less daunting when the data are well organized. For Federal occupational statistics, the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system establishes that organization. And a recent revision to the SOC means that the data will be current, in addition to being well organized. The SOC assists Federal statistical agencies in organizing the occupational data they collect, tabulate, and analyze. By classifying jobs into occupational categories, the SOC provides a standardized way for agencies to share their data. This article explains the origins of occupational classification, the process for revising the latest SOC, and the results of that revision. It describes the kinds of changes the new SOC incorporates and how the updated system compares with its most recent predecessor. A final section discusses plans for future revisions and where to find more information. (Contains 2 tables.)

Descriptors: Classification, Occupational Information, Career Information Systems, Federal Programs, Occupational Clusters, Program Descriptions, Statistical Data, Standards

Bureau of Labor Statistics. Division of Information and Marketing Services, 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE Room 2850, Washington, DC 20212. Tel: 202-691-5200; Fax: 202-691-6235; e-mail: ooqinfo[at]; Web site:

Author: Emmel, Alissa; Cosca, Theresa


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