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Industry Context Methodology

The SkillTRAN Industry Context methodology to estimate employment numbers at the DOT level was introduced in June 2008 in the Job Browser Pro software.  It is a significant departure from other methods of estimating employment, detailed in the Job Numbers article.  The full method is disclosed in this document, which has been continuously publicly available at SkillTRAN web sites since late 2008. This document was significantly expanded in October 2020.

SkillTRAN uses existing employment numbers from multiple government data sources. SkillTRAN does not collect or create the numbers, rather it carefully mines existing, available government data. SkillTRAN presents relevant industry data from the existing government sources in a spreadsheet-like format. The spreadsheet does simple, basic math for the user. The user can recomend to add or remove relevant industries initially suggested by SkillTRAN from the available pool of government statistics to better reflect local realities as known by the experienced user.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently authored an article "Forty years of falling manufacturing employment", citing the rise and decline of the Manufacturing sector of the US economy since 1979, but documents the rise from 1939 to 1979 first! In another BLS article: "Inside the decline of sales occupations", note the relationship drawn between type of sales occupation and the type of industry by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

SkillTRAN suggests relevant industries because it has, over the years, read the DOT from cover to cover and considered existing Occupational Employment Survey (OES) statistics and occupational employment reported by industries (using NAICS codes). It has also considered government created long term employment projections. While its inital objective was for the purpose of suggesting appropriate potential employers for job placement, the research is equally useful for the purpose of determining employment numbers for a DOT occupation. The review process was a rational review of available resouces, including the DOT description itself, combined with DOT industry designation(s), alternate occupation titles, MPSMS codes, and government employment statistics and projections. SkillTRAN and its predecessor companies (Ability Information Systems, CAPCO: The Capability Corporation, and JobQuest) and consultants did this research because the government failed to do so for any other than the 182 OES occupations that have only one DOT occupation in its code group. The result of this review enables better targeted job search and a better method to estimate employment numbers at the DOT level.

An Example: Applying the Industry Context Method to an entire SOC/OES Group

Consider the following SOC/OES occupational group - 53-7064 - Packers & Packagers. This group consists of 59 unique DOT occupations. The SVP ranges from 1 to 4. Strength ranges from Sedentary to Heavy. General Educational Development ranges from 111 to 312. This is a moderately homogeneous occupation in terms of SVP and GED-RML. However, there is extensive variation in terms of strength requirements. Examination of this group by a vocational expert (a SkillTRAN customer) showed a small number (8.4%) of persons employed (n= 57,680) among the 31 DOT occupations that were Sedentary and Light. The balance of employment turned out to be in the Medium and Heavy strength categories when one digs into the industries which employers report that actually do employ this SOC/OES group. These remaining 28 DOT occupations turned out to represent 91.6% of the employment for this OES occupational group. Three of these 28 medium and heavy strength DOT occupations showed the highest estimated levels of employment (75.9%) in this group: Grocery Bagger, Hand Bander, and Hand Packager.

Using the SkillTRAN industry context method as distributed to estimate employment of this group showed that 18.1% of the group employment was missing. When Temporary Employment Agencies (as NAICS industry 5613) was added to this mix (standard distribution from SkillTRAN has excluded this industry group), the remainder of the employment puzzle fell into place. SkillTRAN has historically been excluding NAICS 5613 from its industry suggestions because of limited available data about this employment segment. However, newer data available from the OES program make it very easy to determine which SOC/OES occupations have the most temporary employment. SkillTRAN will integrate this important and growing industry into its suggestions going forward.  Temp agencies now employ more than 3 million workers, many of which are in the occupational groups most often associated with sedentary and light unskilled occupations. The addition of this NAICS industry ended up overestimating the actual total for the entire OES group by only 1%.

Important Takeaways

  1. Most of the employment in this OES group appears to be Medium and Heavy in terms of physical strength requirement.
  2. Only 3 occupations emerged as the predominant occupations in the group, using the government's own statistics and SkillTRAN's industry context method.
  3. These 3 occupations make great logical sense as two of them are common in many industry segments.
  4. The numbers are sometimes very small for Sedentary and Light unskilled occupations.
  5. Temporary employment agencies now account for a substantial amount of the industry employment for certain occupational groups. See new chart showing SOC occupations with the highest temporary employment.
  6.  It is very easy to get to the DOT estimate in SkillTRAN's Job Browser Pro, Job Browser Web, and OASYS Web - 4 Easy Steps - 1 page pdf


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