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Measuring Workforce Diversity

Wed Nov 28 2012
Jennifer Cheeseman Day
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Have you ever wondered about the diversity of your occupation?  What is its demographic composition, age distribution, educational attainment, earnings ranges, percent U.S. citizen, or from where people are commuting?  These questions and more can be answered using the new Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Tabulation, which will be available tomorrow, Nov. 29.

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For the past five decades, the Census Bureau has had the job of measuring the diversity of the American workforce.  After the decennial censuses of 1970, ’80, ’90, and 2000, we published the “EEO Special File” tabulation, a comprehensive set of tables of the civilian workforce showing the demographic characteristics of sex, race, and ethnicity, by detailed occupation, for the nation, states, metro areas, counties, and places.

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This immense tabulation serves as the primary benchmark for organizations wishing to compare the diversity of their labor force with the diversity of the areas from which they draw their workers, and for the federal government to monitor and enforce compliance with civil rights laws.  We are now publishing a new version of the EEO Tabulation based on the five-year American Community Survey (2006-2010) for the first time.

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The new EEO Tabulation consists of 107 tables with about 6,500 different geographic entities, for residence, worksite, and commuting flows (that is, the connections between where people work and where they live). The tables include 488 detailed occupation categories based on the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification, 15 different race and ethnicity group combinations, and – for the first time – citizenship. The tables cover a wealth of additional information, including age, industry, earnings, educational attainment, and unemployment status.

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This tabulation is so detailed, it took more than 1 trillion calculations to complete, yielding more than 19 billion statistics.

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The Census Bureau created the EEO Tabulation for four sponsoring agencies: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Employment Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division, Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

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Economists, researchers, and business leaders will find that these statistics are the only source for counts of workers in specific occupations by sex, race and ethnicity, crossed by specific characteristics at such a local geographic level.  City planners will find that the tables provide extensive information on the movements of different populations between worksites and the communities in which they live. Researchers can explore the relationship between civil rights laws and equality in work opportunities. Labor specialists can study the geographic patterns in work opportunities or other geographic patterns in labor force characteristics.

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These tabulations will be released tomorrow. We hope that by publishing this rich information source, easily accessible through the  American FactFinder on-line statistics search tool, it will help people in many fields discover new things about the American workforce.

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If you would like to learn more, visit the Equal Employment Opportunity Tabulation page.

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