Weird values for hours usually worked per week at all jobs

There is a weird pattern for UHRSWORK values, that show some people reporting to work more than 100 hours per week. Should I treat them as outliers and discard them to obtain average weekly hours worked from CPS?

Hi Isadora. It looks like you posted a similar question in the IPUMS USA forum. I will respond to your question here because your question is about IPUMS CPS, not IPUMS USA.

There are 168 hours in a week. Very high values of UHRSWORKT are possible as some people work long hours. From a brief look at January BMS samples from 2000 to 2023, less than one half of one percent (0.03%) of workers have values of UHRSWORKT greater than 100. It is up to the individual researcher to determine what value of UHRSWORKT they believe to be unreliable, and how to treat outliers and/or unrealistic values. Bear in mind that people who live at work (for example, property caretakers, dormitory staff, oil rig workers) may be on the clock at all times, and people may work multiple jobs simultaneously. The flag QUHRSWORKT records suspected data quality issues with each response to UHRSWORKT if they exist.

Note that the code UHRSWORKT=997 corresponds to “Hours vary” and the code UHRSWORKT=999 corresponds to “Not in universe.” If you do not account for these codes, you will see much larger numbers of workers with values of UHRSWORKT greater than 100.