The Census Bureau Releases New Equal Employment Opportunity Data

On November 29, 2012, the United States Census Bureau started releasing census data for its Equal Employment Opportunity Tabulation (“EEO data”).  Since the 1970s, the Census Bureau has produced similar EEO data sets about every ten years to help employers, including federal contractors, measure their compliance with federal EEO and affirmative action requirements.

The EEO data consists of 107 tables breaking down the United States workforce by geography, occupation, gender, and race/ethnicity.  The data released on November 29 is based on the American Community Survey (“ACS”) from 2006 to 2010.  The ACS is an annual census of about 2 million U.S. households produced at the request of certain federal agencies, including the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (“EEOC”) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”).  The EEO data categorizes jobs into occupational codes and provides data on a number of other factors, including education, age, and earnings.  The Census Bureau has also reduced the number of occupational codes from 539 to 488 in the new EEO data.

The Census Bureau plans to release additional sets of the EEO data on December 13, 2012.  In the Spring of 2012, the Census Bureau also plans to release for the first time the Disability Employment Tabulation that provides employment and occupational data based on disability status.

Federal contractors use the EEO data annually to prepare and update their affirmative action plans and compare the racial, ethnic, and sex composition of their workforce to the relevant external labor markets.  Although the OFCCP has not announced when contractors should begin using the EEO data, contractors will want to start implementing this into their new affirmative action plans as soon as possible.  In addition, because the number of occupational codes has been reduced, contractors should review and make adjustments to their occupational codes before calculating availability based on the new EEO data.

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Filed under Census Bureau, OFCCP

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