Use of the American Commuity Survey to Improve Occupation Earnings Estimates

[Free, No CEUs] There are an abundance of sources for expected earnings by occupation relied upon by rehabilitation counselors. Perhaps the most respected source is the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) database from the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This presentation demonstrates the value of combining occupation with education level for improved measurement. For example, the occupation of “accountant” can be held by persons of all education levels, depending upon the employer and the job responsibilities. Traditional datasets like the OES combine all these persons for a single measure, resulting in earnings that are an amalgamation of all these backgrounds. By segregating the earnings by the highest level of education of each accountant, a statistically diverse continuum of earnings becomes obvious. The presentation includes the methodology used to extract data from the ACS for 2010-2013.


  1. Compare and contrast ACS earnings to the OES
  2. Demonstrate significantly enhanced measures of earning capacity
  3. Identify the typical occupation-specific earnings measured in commonly used surveys

Dave Gibson, MBA,CPA,MRC

Here's what attendees said...
"Fantastic presentation. Learned about limitations of OES data which does not provide information on shift differentials, over-time, commissions, etc. Also, it does not include the self-employed. ACS data is unbelievably good."
"Great session for forensic experts who labor market information."