Pre-1982 earnings and usual hours (ORG) data; pre-1989 actual hours data

  1. I’m wondering if there’s a harmonization reason (e.g. change in question or groups asked) why earnings <EARNWEEK> and usual hours <UHRSWORK1/UHRSWORKORG> asked monthly to outgoing rotation groups are only available starting since 1982 in IPUMS-CPS. My question stems from reading the NBER webpage on the CPS, which suggests that these variables are available monthly since 1979: “From 1969-1978, usual weekly hours and earnings… were asked only in May. From 1979 on, these questions were asked during the respondent’s outgoing rotations.”

  2. Relatedly, is data on actual hours <AHRSWORKT> available anywhere before 1989?

Thank you in advance for your time and help! :slight_smile:

  1. In looking more into question 1. above, I came across the following two points.
  • The IPUMS-CPS “comparability” discussion for EARNWEEK states that “Information about weekly earnings was collected beginning in 1982, as part of a series of questions about usual weekly and hourly earnings.”
  • However, Technical Paper 66 linked therein suggests that October 1978 saw “the introduction of earnings questions for the two outgoing rotations. New items focused on usual hours worked, hourly wage rate, and usual weekly earnings.”

Is there some difference in the weekly earnings and usual hours data starting in 1982 compared with the data from 1979-1981?

The 1979-1981 earnings data does exist, and there are no major comparability issues. They were originally included in a separate file and have not yet been integrated by IPUMS CPS. They are currently available through the NBER’s MORG files, which you should be able to merge with an IPUMS CPS extract using the process outlined here.

AHRSWORKT is currently available before 1989 for ASEC samples. For basic monthly samples, you can find the data in the unharmonized variable UH_HOURS_B1.

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Thank you so much! This perfectly answers both of my questions.
I really appreciate your help :slight_smile:

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