Part of the fun of teaching business research is your own learning: about your students, about yourself, and about new resources and strategies. Sometimes students discover interesting sources on their own (for example, the GAIN reports, which an Export Odyssey team introduced to me). Sometimes the process of creating assignments or active-learning exercises results in your own discoveries. From teaching the 530 class in the spring, my favorite discovery was the BLS’s Occupational Employment Statistics.
The BLS has so much data (see above) that I overlooked this site in the past, I guess. In class this spring, we looked at the OES late in the semester as part of a discussion of BLS employment and unemployment data. However, the next time I teach this class (next spring), the students will use the OES in the context of industry analysis and financial benchmarking. They will see how useful it is for their own career and job-hunting research, too. A couple of the students used OES data very effectively for their capstone project.
The OES provides statistical profiles of over 800 occupations. The data covers the U.S., states, and MSAs. The site also identifies the largest occupations in each industry – potentially useful for business plan writing as well as industry analysis. You can also look up what industries have the highest employment levels for each occupation – useful for job hunters to consider their options by industry. Wage data is here too (more financial benchmarking).
Documentation on the occupation definitions is provided.
In class, the students worked in teams on three applications of the OES data:
- Occupations in a MSA (using the Data section)
- Occupation profiles (Data)
- Rankings (Charts)
Exercise #1: What are the top computer-related occupations in the San Jose, CA MSA? Aspects to note:
- Number of employment?
- Annual mean wages?
- Concentration of jobs?
- Which specific computer occupation under 15-0000 has the most workers? The highest wages?
Exercise #2: OCC Profiles: Look up “Art Directors”
- What is the biggest industry for this occupation? (levels v. concentration v. top-paying)
- Note the maps. What does the quotient mean? (index = 1)
- Next: look up your current or desired occupation
- What are the highest-paying states?
- What are the top employing industries?
Exercise #3: Charts
- What NYC occupation has the highest quotient? (Try to guess this first.)
- What about Rochester, NY?
- What are the biggest occupations for the publishing industry? (NAICS 51)
- Look up your [capstone] industry: what are the top occupations?