CAUTION:

The information on this page relates to the 2000 SOC, for more recent information, see the 2010 SOC System.

 

SOC Federal Register Notice

September 30, 1999

OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET

1998 Standard Occupational Classification
AGENCY: Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President
ACTION: Notice of Final Decisions

SUMMARY

Under title 44 U.S.C. 3504, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is announcing final decisions for the 1998 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC). In consultation with the Standard Occupational Classification Revision Policy Committee (SOCRPC), OMB based its decisions on public comments received in response to the SOCRPC's final recommendations that were published in the Federal Register on August 5, 1998 (63 FR 41895-41923). The 1998 Standard Occupational Classification replaces the 1980 version. It covers all jobs in the national economy, including occupations in the public, private, and military sectors.

All Federal agencies that collect occupational data will use the 1998 SOC. Similarly, all State and local government agencies, as well as private sector organizations, are strongly encouraged to use this national system that provides a common language for categorizing occupations in the world of work. The new SOC system will be used by the Occupational Employment Statistics program of the Bureau of Labor Statistics for gathering occupational information. It will also replace the Bureau of the Census' 1990 occupational classification system and will be used for the 2000 Census. In addition, the new SOC will serve as the framework for information being gathered through the Department of Labor's Occupational Information Network (O*NET) which will replace the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT).

In four prior Federal Register notices (February 28, 1995, 60 FR 10998-11002; October 5, 1995, 60 FR 52284-52286; July 7, 1997, 62 FR 36337-36409; and August 5, 1998 (63 FR 41895-41923)), OMB and the SOCRPC requested comment on the uses of occupational data; the existing 1980 SOC classification principles, purpose and scope, and conceptual options; the SOCRPC's proposed revision process; the composition of detailed occupations; the hierarchical structure and numbering system; and update procedures.

The hierarchical structure, numbering system, and occupational categories of the 1998 SOC are presented in Appendix A of this notice. Changes from the SOCRPC's final recommendations are outlined below in the Supplementary Information section. The SOCRPC is preparing the 1998 Standard Occupational Classification Manual for publication. Committee members have completed definitions and assigned associated titles; agencies with occupational classification systems are developing crosswalks from their existing systems to the 1998 SOC. To ensure that the successful efforts of the SOCRPC continue and that the 1998 SOC remains appropriate to the world of work, OMB plans to establish a new standing committee, the Standard Occupational Classification Policy Committee (SOCPC). The SOCPC will consult periodically to ensure that the implementation of the 1998 SOC is comparable across Federal agencies. This consultation will include regularly scheduled interagency communication to ensure a smooth transition to the 1998 SOC. The SOCPC will also perform SOC maintenance functions, such as recommending changes in the SOC occupational definitions and placement of new occupations. It is anticipated that the next major review and revision of the SOC will begin in 2005 in preparation for use in the 2010 Decennial Census.

DATES: Publication of the 1998 Standard Occupational Classification Manual is planned for the first half of 2000. Federal statistical agencies will begin using the 1998 SOC for occupational data they publish for reference years beginning on or after January 1, 2000. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics will begin using it for some data series for the last quarter of 1999.) Further information can be found in the Supplementary Information section below. Use of the SOC for nonstatistical purposes (e.g., for administrative, regulatory, or taxation functions) will be determined by the agency or agencies that have chosen to use the SOC for nonstatistical purposes. Readers interested in the effective dates for the use of the 1998 SOC for nonstatistical purposes should contact the relevant agency to determine the agency's plans, if any, for a transition from the 1980 SOC to the 1998 SOC.

ADDRESSES: Correspondence about the adoption and implementation of the SOC as described in this Federal Register notice should be sent to: Katherine K. Wallman, Chief Statistician, Office of Management and Budget, 10201 New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503, telephone number: (202) 395-3093, FAX number: (202) 395-7245 or E-mailed to ( soc@omb.eop.gov ).

Electronic Availability: This document is available on the Internet from the Bureau of Labor Statistics via WWW browser and E-mail. To obtain this document via WWW browser, connect to ( http://www.bls.gov/soc/2000/soc_home.htm ). This WWW page contains links to the 1998 SOC major groups; the complete 1998 SOC hierarchical structure and detailed occupational definitions; a numerical index of detailed occupations; an SOC user's guide; and an SOC search capability, as well as previous SOC Federal Register notices and related documents. To obtain this document via E-mail, send a message to ( soc@bls.gov ).

Inquiries about the definitions of particular occupations or requests for electronic copies of the SOC structure that cannot be satisfied by use of the web site should be addressed to Laurie Salmon, Standard Occupational Classification Revision Policy Committee, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Room 4840, Washington, DC 20212, telephone number: (202) 691-6511, FAX number: (202) 691-6645.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Bugg, 10201 New Executive Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20503, E-mail address: soc@omb.eop.gov, telephone number: (202) 395-3093, FAX number: (202) 395-7245.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION

Purpose. The 1998 SOC was developed in response to a concern that the 1980 SOC did not meet the need for a universal occupational classification system that all Federal Government agencies and other collectors of occupational information would adopt. Despite the existence of the 1980 SOC, a variety of Government agencies have continued to collect and use occupational data based on unique classification systems designed for their individual needs. The existence of different occupational data collection systems in the Federal Government presents a major problem. Comparisons across these systems are limited by the completeness and accuracy of crosswalks between them. For example, data on occupation by educational attainment collected through the Current Population Survey can only be used with data on employment from the Occupational Employment Statistics program for those occupations that are considered comparable in both data collections. Observing this problem, the Bureau of Labor Statistics hosted an International Occupational Classification Conference in September 1992 to establish a new context for the SOC revision process. Many new ideas and approaches were presented that subsequently influenced the SOCRPC. Similarly, the Employment and Training Administration's Advisory Panel for the Dictionary of Occupational Titles had completed a review of the dictionary and in May 1993 had recommended substantial changes. It became increasingly clear that development of an occupational classification standard that garners universal adherence would aid analysis of demographic, economic, educational, and other factors that affect employment, wages, and other worker characteristics.

Revision Process. Persuaded that a reconciliation was in order, OMB invited all Federal agencies with occupational classification systems to join together to revise the SOC and chartered the SOC Revision Policy Committee (SOCRPC) in October 1994. The SOCRPC included representatives from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of the Census, the Defense Manpower Data Center, the Employment and Training Administration, and the Office of Personnel Management. In addition, ex-officio members included the National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee, the National Science Foundation, and OMB. Other Federal agencies, such as the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, participated either in meetings of the SOCRPC or in the Federal Consultation Group, a group of Federal agency representatives with interests in the outcome of the SOC revision.

In February 1995, the Standard Occupational Classification Revision Policy Committee published a notice in the Federal Register (February 28, 1995, 60 FR 10998-11002) calling for comments specifically on the following: 1) the uses of occupational data, 2) the purpose and scope of occupational classification, 3) the principles underlying the 1980 SOC, 4) conceptual options for the new SOC, and 5) the SOC revision process. The SOCRPC chose the Occupational Employment Statistics system, an occupational classification currently used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to gather occupational information, as the starting point for the new Standard Occupational Classification framework. The Committee also relied heavily on the Department of Labor's Occupational Information Network (O*NET), which is replacing the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. To carry out the bulk of the revision effort, the Committee created six work groups to examine occupations in the following areas:

Administrative and Clerical occupations;
Science, Engineering, Law, Health, Education, and Arts occupations;
Services and Sales occupations;
Agriculture, Construction, Extraction, and Transportation occupations;
Mechanical and Production occupations; and
Military Specific occupations.

The Committee charged the work groups with ensuring that the occupations under their consideration conformed to the criteria laid out in the October 5, 1995, Federal Register notice (60 FR 52284-52286):

The Classification should cover all occupations in which work is performed for pay or profit, including work performed in family-operated enterprises by family members who are not directly compensated. It should exclude occupations unique to volunteers.

The Classification should reflect the current occupational structure of the United States and have sufficient flexibility to assimilate new occupations into the structure as they become known.

While striving to reflect the current occupational structure, the Classification should maintain linkage with past systems. The importance of historical comparability should be weighed against the desire for incorporating substantive changes to occupations occurring in the work force.

Occupations should be classified based upon work performed, skills, education, training, licensing, and credentials.

Occupations should be classified in homogeneous groups that are defined so that the content of each group is clear.

Each occupation should be assigned to only one group at the lowest level of the Classification.

The employment size of an occupational group should not be the major reason for including or excluding it from separate identification.

Supervisors should be identified separately from the workers they supervise wherever possible in keeping with the real structure of the world of work. An exception should be made for professional and technical occupations where supervisors or lead workers should be classified in the appropriate group with the workers they supervise.

Apprentices and trainees should be classified with the occupations for which they are being trained, while helpers and aides should be classified separately since they are not in training for the occupation they are helping.

Comparability with the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-88) should be considered in the structure, but should not be an overriding factor.

In carrying out their reviews, the work groups carefully considered all proposals received in response to Federal Register notices issued by OMB and the SOCRPC. The work groups invited experts from many areas to testify and also requested written recommendations using the SOC revision guidelines. Their procedure was to develop a proposed structure plus a title, a definition, and a list of associated job titles. Each proposed occupation was reviewed by the SOCRPC.

General Characteristics of the Revised SOC

The 1998 SOC is designed to ensure comparable occupational classification across the spectrum of surveys of the world of work while mirroring the current occupational structure in the Nation. The new system should lead to the collection of meaningful data about the workforce and benefit various users of occupational data. These users include education and training planners; job seekers, students, and others seeking career guidance; various government programs, including occupational safety and health, welfare-to-work, and equal employment opportunity; and private companies wishing to relocate or to set salary scales.

Reflecting advances in factory and office automation and information technology, the shift to a services-oriented economy, and increasing concern for the environment, the new classification structure has more professional, technical, and service occupations and fewer production and administrative support occupations. Although the designation "professional" does not exist in the 1998 SOC, the new classification system reflects expanded coverage of major occupational groups, such as computer and mathematical occupations, community and social services occupations, healthcare practitioners and technical occupations, and legal occupations. Designers, systems analysts, drafters, counselors, dentists, physicians, artists, and social scientists are among the occupations that are covered in greater detail in the 1998 SOC. For example, the SOC breaks out a number of designer specialties - commercial and industrial, fashion, floral, graphic, interior, and set and exhibit designers. Similarly, the new classification breaks out additional social science specialties - market and survey researchers, sociologists, anthropologists and archeologists, geographers, historians, and political scientists.

Examples of new occupations include environmental engineers; environmental engineering technicians; environmental scientists and specialists, including health; environmental science and protection technicians, including health; computer software engineers; multimedia artists and animators; and forensic science technicians. In the services groups, gaming occupations, such as gaming and sports book writers and runners, have been added as a result of growth among these occupations in several States. Other relatively new service occupations include skin care specialists, concierges, massage therapists, and fitness trainers and aerobics instructors.

Production occupations, on the other hand, have undergone significant consolidation. For example, various printing machine operators have been combined into one occupation in the 1998 SOC. Because many factories now employ one person to perform the tasks of setting up and operating machines, both tasks have been combined into one occupation. In addition, many factories now employ teams in which each team member is able to perform all or most of the team assembly activities; these people are included in the occupation, team assemblers. The SOC also includes relatively new production occupations such as semiconductor processors and fiberglass laminators and fabricators.

Office and administrative support occupations - for example, office machine operators - also have been consolidated. Relatively new office and administrative support occupations include customer service representatives and executive secretaries and administrative assistants.

To accommodate the needs of different data collection agencies, the SOC enables data collection at more detailed or less detailed levels, while still allowing data comparability at given levels of the hierarchy. In response to comments received in reference to the July 7, 1997, Federal Register notice (62 FR 36337-36409), the SOCRPC significantly modified the hierarchical structure and numbering system of the revised SOC to ensure that all detailed occupations are placed within a broad occupation. In the 1998 SOC, there are four levels of aggregation: 1) major group; 2) minor group; 3) broad occupation; and 4) detailed occupation. All occupations are clustered into 23 major groups (listed below), such as Management Occupations or Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations. These major groups are broken down into occupationally-specific minor groups, such as Operations Specialties Managers in the Management Occupations major group or Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners in the Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations major group. Minor groups, in turn, are divided into broad occupations, such as Human Resources Managers or Therapists, which are further divided into detailed occupations, such as Compensation and Benefits Managers, or Physical Therapists.

The 1998 SOC contains 822 detailed occupations, aggregated into 452 broad occupations. These broad occupations are grouped into 98 minor groups, that are, in turn, grouped into the 23 major groups. For comparison purposes, the 1980 SOC included 664 unit groups (comparable to detailed occupations in the 1998 SOC), 223 minor groups (comparable to broad occupations in the 1998 SOC), 60 major groups (comparable to minor groups in the 1998 SOC), and 22 divisions (comparable to major groups in the 1998 SOC).

Each item in the hierarchy is designated by a six-digit code. The first two digits of the 1998 SOC code represent the major group; the third digit represents the minor group; the fourth and fifth digits represent the broad occupation; and the sixth digit represents the detailed occupation. Major group codes end with 0000 (e.g., 29-0000, Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations), minor groups end with 000 (e.g., 29-1000, Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners), broad occupations end with 0 (e.g., 29-1120, Therapists), and detailed occupations end with a nonzero digit (e.g., 29-1123, Physical Therapists). The hyphen between the second and third digit is used only for presentation clarity.

All residuals ("Other," "Miscellaneous," or "All Other"), whether at the minor group, broad occupation, or detailed occupation level, will contain a 9 at the level of the residual. Minor groups that are major group residuals will end in 9000 (e.g., 11-9000, Other Management Occupations); broad occupations that are minor group residuals will end in 90 (e.g., 11-9190, Miscellaneous Managers ); and residual detailed occupations will end in 9 (e.g., 11-9199, Managers, All Other):

11-0000   Management Occupations
      11-9000   Other Management Occupations
           11-9190   Miscellaneous Managers
                 11-9199   Managers, All Other

In cases where there are more than 9 broad occupations in a minor group (or more than eight, if there is no residual), the xx-x090 will be skipped (reserved for residuals), the xx-x000 will be skipped (reserved for minor groups), and the numbering system will go to xx-x110. The residual broad occupation will then be xx-x190 or xx-x290 (e.g., 51-9190, Miscellaneous Production Workers).

The 1998 SOC occupational groups and detailed occupations presented in Appendix A are not always consecutively numbered, both to accommodate these coding conventions and to allow for the insertion of additional occupational groups in future revisions of the SOC. In addition, data collection agencies wanting more detail to measure additional worker characteristics can split a defined occupation into more detailed occupations by adding a decimal point and more digits to the SOC code. For example, Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Vocational Education (25-2031) is a detailed occupation. Agencies wishing to collect more particular information on teachers by subject matter might use 25-2031.1 for secondary school science teachers or 25-2031.12 for secondary school biology teachers. Additional levels of detail also may be used to distinguish workers who have different training, demographic characteristics, or years of experience. It is recommended that users needing extra detail use the structure currently being implemented for the Employment and Training Administration's O*NET.

Each occupation in the revised SOC will be placed within one of the following 23 major groups:

11-0000    Management Occupations
13-0000    Business and Financial Operations Occupations
15-0000    Computer and Mathematical Occupations
17-0000    Architecture and Engineering Occupations
19-0000    Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations
21-0000    Community and Social Services Occupations
23-0000    Legal Occupations
25-0000    Education, Training, and Library Occupations
27-0000    Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations
29-0000    Healthcare Practitioner and Technical Occupations
31-0000    Healthcare Support Occupations
33-0000    Protective Service Occupations
35-0000    Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations
37-0000    Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations
39-0000    Personal Care and Service Occupations
41-0000    Sales and Related Occupations
43-0000    Office and Administrative Support Occupations
45-0000    Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations
47-0000    Construction and Extraction Occupations
49-0000    Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations
51-0000    Production Occupations
53-0000    Transportation and Material Moving Occupations
55-0000    Military Specific Occupations

For users wanting less detail in data tabulations, the SOCRPC suggests combining the 23 major groups into 11, or even 6, groups as presented below.

Intermediate Level Aggregation (11 groups)

11-0000—13-0000    Management, Business, and Financial Occupations
15-0000—29-0000    Professional and Related Occupations
31-0000—39-0000    Service Occupations
41-0000    Sales and Related Occupations
43-0000    Office and Administrative Support Occupations
45-0000    Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations
47-0000    Construction and Extraction Occupations
49-0000    Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations
51-0000    Production Occupations
53-0000    Transportation and Material Moving Occupations
55-0000    Military Specific Occupations

High-level Aggregation (6 groups)

11-0000—29-0000    Management, Professional, and Related Occupations
31-0000—39-0000    Service Occupations
41-0000—43-0000    Sales and Office Occupations
45-0000—49-0000    Natural Resources, Construction, and Maintenance Occupations
51-0000—53-0000    Production, Transportation, and Material Moving Occupations
55-0000    Military Specific Occupations

Significant Changes and Responses to Comments. In response to public comments received on the August 5, 1998, Federal Register notice (63 FR 41895-41923), OMB, in consultation with the SOCRPC, revised the SOCRPC's final recommendations by adding a few occupations, mostly in the gaming occupations (to reflect their growth) and the primary and secondary teaching occupations (to distinguish further special and vocational education teachers); changing some occupational titles; and making necessary renumbering changes. These changes are reflected in the listing of the 1998 SOC presented in Appendix A. New broad occupations added include the following:

11-9070    Gaming Managers
25-2010    Preschool and Kindergarten Teachers
25-2020    Elementary and Middle School Teachers
25-2030    Secondary School Teachers
33-9030    Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers

New detailed occupations added include the following:

11-9071    Gaming Managers
25-1194    Vocational Education Teachers, Postsecondary
25-2011    Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education
25-2012    Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education
25-2021    Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education
25-2022    Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Vocational Education
25-2023    Vocational Education Teachers, Middle School
25-2031    Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Vocational Education
25-2032    Vocational Education Teachers, Secondary School
25-2041    Special Education Teachers, Preschool, Kindergarten, and Elementary School
25-2042    Special Education Teachers, Middle School
25-2043    Special Education Teachers, Secondary School
27-4011    Audio and Video Equipment Technicians
33-9031    Gaming Surveillance Officers and Gaming Investigators
39-1011    Gaming Supervisors
39-1012    Slot Key Persons
39-3011    Gaming Dealers
39-3012    Gaming and Sports Book Writers and Runners
39-3019    Gaming Service Workers, All Other
41-2012    Gaming Change Persons and Booth Cashiers
43-3041    Gaming Cage Cashiers
47-4091    Segmental Pavers

Next Steps in Process

Implementation of the 1998 SOC. The SOCRPC is preparing the 1998 Standard Occupational Classification Manual for publication. Committee members have completed definitions and assigned associated titles, while agencies with occupational classification systems are developing crosswalks from their existing systems to the 1998 SOC. The SOCRPC will consult periodically to ensure that the implementation of the 1998 SOC is comparable across Federal agencies. This consultation will include regularly scheduled interagency communication to ensure that there is a smooth Federal transition to the 1998 SOC. It is anticipated that the next major review and revision of the SOC will begin in 2005 in preparation for use in the 2010 Decennial Census.

All Federal Government agencies that collect occupational data are expected to adopt the 1998 SOC over the next few years. The following implementation schedule will be used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of the Census - the agencies with the most comprehensive occupational data collection systems.

Bureau of Labor Statistics. The annual Occupational Employment Statistics survey will first reflect the 1998 SOC in 1999; national, State, and Metropolitan Statistical Area data are expected to be available in early 2001. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Office of Employment Projections develops new national employment projections every 2 years, reflected in its "industry-occupation matrix." This matrix presents estimates of current and projected employment - covering a 10-year period - by detailed industry and occupation. The occupational staffing pattern, or detailed occupational makeup, of each industry in the matrix reflects Occupational Employment Statistics survey data. The 1998 SOC will first be reflected in the industry-occupation matrix covering the 2002-12 period, which is expected to be released in late 2003.

The Office of Employment Projections also produces the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which is among the most widely used career guidance resources in the Nation, and related publications based on the Bureau's biennial employment projections. Occupational definitions and data completely based on the 1998 SOC will be incorporated for the first time in the 2004-05 edition of the Handbook, which is expected to be published in early 2004.

Bureau of the Census. Data collected by the 2000 Census of Population will be coded to the 1998 SOC and published in 2002. Data from the Current Population Survey will be based on the new classification for the first time in 2003.

Where to Find More Information. The complete occupational structure of the 1998 SOC will be contained in Bureau of Labor Statistics Report 929, forthcoming. The final 1998 SOC ultimately will be published in a two-volume 1998 Standard Occupational Classification Manual. Volume I will contain the hierarchical structure, a complete list of occupational titles and their definitions, a description of the SOC revision process, and a section on frequently asked questions. Volume II will contain a list of some 30,000 job titles that are commonly used by individuals and establishments when reporting employment by occupation with their corresponding SOC codes. The second volume also will include an alphabetical index of all associated titles and industries and will reference them to the occupations in which they are found. Volumes I and II of the 1998 SOC also will be available at the following Internet address: http://www.bls.gov/soc/

O*NET, the Occupational Information Network of the Employment and Training Administration, adheres to the 1998 SOC. Information on this occupational classification system appears in "Replace with a Database: O*NET Replaces the Dictionary of Occupational Titles," Occupational Outlook Quarterly (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Spring 1999). O*NET also may be accessed at the following Internet address: http://www.doleta.gov/programs/onet

The 1998 SOC will be incorporated into the Occupational Outlook Handbook and the Bureau of Labor Statistics industry-occupation matrix. Both the Handbook and matrix can be accessed at the following Internet address: http://www.bls.gov/emp/

To facilitate historical comparisons, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will develop a crosswalk showing the relationship between occupations in the 1998 SOC and the 1997 Occupational Employment Statistics survey. The Bureau of the Census also is developing a crosswalk showing the relationship between the occupations in the 1998 SOC and those of the 1990 and 2000 Censuses. This crosswalk will be available at the following Bureau of the Census Internet address: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/ioindex/crosswalks.html

Standard Occupational Classification Policy Committee. It has been eighteen years since the last revision of the SOC. OMB plans to establish a new standing committee, the Standard Occupational Classification Policy Committee (SOCPC), to ensure that the successful efforts of the SOCRPC continue and that the 1998 SOC remains appropriate to the world of work. The new committee will meet twice per year to perform SOC maintenance functions, such as recommending changes in the SOC occupational definitions and placement of new occupations. In addition, it will provide timely advice to the Bureau of the Census during its 2000 Census occupation coding operation, particularly with respect to the proper classification of unfamiliar job descriptions and job titles. The committee will also undertake a thorough review of the entire SOC once per decade, in conjunction with preparations for the decennial census. The next major review and revision of the SOC is expected to begin in 2005 in preparation for use in the 2010 Decennial Census.

It is anticipated that the SOCPC will consist of representatives of the following agencies:

Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census
Department of Defense, Defense Manpower Data Center
Department of Education
Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Health Professions
Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee
National Science Foundation
Office of Management and Budget (ex-officio)
Office of Personnel Management

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will chair the committee and staff its secretariat which will carry out the day-to-day work of the SOCPC, such as organizing working groups to make recommendations for changes.

Nonstatistical Uses of the SOC. The 1998 SOC was designed, as was the 1980 SOC, solely for statistical purposes. Although it is likely that the 1998 SOC, like the 1980 SOC, will also be used for various nonstatistical purposes (e.g., for administrative, regulatory, or taxation functions), the requirements of government agencies that choose to use the 1998 SOC for nonstatistical purposes have played no role in its development, nor will OMB modify the classification to meet the requirements of any nonstatistical program.

Consequently, as has been the case with the 1980 SOC (Statistical Policy Directive No. 10, Standard Occupational Classification), the 1998 SOC is not to be used in any administrative, regulatory, or tax program unless the head of the agency administering that program has first determined that the use of such occupational definitions is appropriate to the implementation of the program's objectives. If the terms, "Standard Occupational Classification" or "SOC" are to be used in the operative text of any law or regulation to define an occupation or group of occupations, language similar to the following should be used to ensure sufficient flexibility: "An occupation or grouping of occupations shall mean a Standard Occupational Classification detailed occupation or grouping of occupations as defined by the Office of Management and Budget, subject to such modifications with respect to individual occupations or groupings of occupations as the Secretary (Administrator) may determine to be appropriate for the purpose of this Act (regulation)."

In addition, if an agency decides to require its respondents to provide an SOC code for a nonstatistical purpose, the agency needs to have trained personnel available to answer the respondent's questions and otherwise assist them in providing the appropriate SOC codes.

John T. Spotila

Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

 

Last Modified Date: May 1, 2002