best use of occ1990 for year-by-year stats in the CPS data?

#1

I’m looking at within-occupation changes over time in the CPS, and it seems like occ1990 is the variable to use. I’m confused, though, since I still see some noticeable noticeable breaks in trend around the year when the census occupation definitions changed.

For example, if I calculate percent change in employment for each occupation, I see a noticeable jump in 2003, when the 2000 definitions kicked in. Is there a recommended way to use occ1990 in order to get smooth within-occupation trends, or is this jump just an artifact of all the recoding?

Thanks!

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#2

The Census Bureau significantly changing their occupational coding scheme in 2003 is the likely cause of the breaks in trend you are seeing. OCC1990 is our best effort to maintain a consistent coding scheme across time; however, these major shifts in classification can still cause inconsistencies such as you have discovered.

I am sorry that I do not have better news to deliver.

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