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Category: Labor markets

Overview: O*NET, the Occupational Information Network, is a comprehensive database of worker attributes and job characteristics. O*NET supports public and private sector efforts to identify and develop the skills of the American workforce. It provides a common language for defining and describing occupations. Its flexible design reflects the rapidly changing job requirements.

Unit of Analysis: Occupation

Coverage and Size: The O*NET Data Collection Program provides information for over 900 O*NET-SOC occupations, covering the entire U.S. economy. These occupations can be directly lined to the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system.

Key Data Elements: The database contains information about knowledge, skills, abilities (KSAs), interests, general work activities (GWAs), and work context. Each occupation has 239 descriptors and over 400 ratings. O*NET can link related occupational, educational, and labor market information databases to the system.

Timeframe:   Ongoing since 2002

Frequency: The project has established a continuing data collection program to populate and maintain the O*NET database. Approximately 100 occupations are updated annually.

Data Collection Method:  The O*NET questions have been organized into several different questionnaires covering various aspects of the occupation. A minimum of 60 surveys are completed for each occupation. Data are collected primarily from sampled workers. A subset of occupations has ratings collected from occupational experts. Workers sampled from establishments are randomly assigned to answer only one of three questionnaires.  Occupational expert complete all three surveysIn addition, trained occupational analysts provide skills and abilities information. Information collection thus far has included over 40,000 businesses and 170,000 employees.

Access: Available for download (tab-delimited text format; SQL format; Microsoft Access; SAS/PC versions) and directly to end users via the following websites: O*NET Online, My Next Move, My Next Move for Veterans, and O*NET Code Connector.

Potential Uses for Regional Analysis: Assess regional occupational and skills clusters, using crosswalk between occupations and skills; identify workforce KSAa and GWAs; explore evolution of regional job base over time. See O*NET Resource Center for examples of O*NET at work.

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