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This page presents a table summarizing selected variables from the NLSY79 surveys (use the drop-down menu to select topics of interest). The table lists individual items or groups of related items, with year columns indicating the survey years in which the item(s) are available. Both survey questions and created variables are included. "R" used in variable descriptions stands for "respondent." Users are encouraged to consult the questionnaires for exact question wording in each survey round.

I. Labor Market Experience Variables

A. Current labor force and employment status and characteristics of current/most recent job1

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10
Survey week labor force and employment status * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *       *    
Occupation (DOT code) *                                              
Hours worked in survey week * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *       *    
Hours per week usually worked * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Shift worked * * * * * * *     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Promotion (varies with year)           * * * * * * *         * * * * * * * *
Commuting time to current job * * *             *         * *                
Availability of benefits (beginning in 1994 for multiple jobs) * *   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Global job satisfaction item * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Job satisfaction scale * * * *           *                            
Job characteristics inventory *     *                                        
Size of employer * *           * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Minority status of coworkers (1980, 1982), supervisor   *   *                                        
Time R expects to stay at job * * * *                                        
Participation in work-study program * * * * * * * *                                
1 Beginning in 1994, characteristics of the current or most recent job were collected in the first Employer Supplement loop, rather than in the CPS section. To maintain consistency, these questions are still included in this section of the table.

B. Work experience since Jan. 1, 1978, or previous survey, or in past calendar year

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10
Weeks worked * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Hours usually worked per week * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Number of weeks, spells of unemployment * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Weeks out of labor force * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

C. Characteristics of jobs since Jan. 1, 1978, or last survey, including current or most recent job (more than 10 to 20 hours per week and more than 9 weeks in duration if not CPS job)2

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10
Occupation and industry (Census code) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Class of worker * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Start date and stop date * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Hours usually worked at home                   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Shift worked                               * * * * * * * * *
Rate of pay, hourly rate of pay * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Covered by collective bargaining * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Is R union member *                 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reason for leaving job * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Severance pay received                               * * * * * * * * *
Availability of benefits (CPS job) (all jobs since 1994)             * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Characteristics of employer's pension plan                               * * * * * * * * *
Is employer exempt from Social Security; does another plan replace it                                       * * * * *
Global job satisfaction item                               * * * * * * * * *
Promotion and promotion potential with employer           *       * * *         * * * * * * * *
Size of employer                                 * * * * * * * *
Sex of supervisor and coworkers   *   *                         * *            
Is R a temporary or contractual worker                               * * *         * *
2 Note that, beginning in 2002, the questionnaire includes separate sets of questions for self-employed respondents and respondents with nontraditional employment arrangements. The information collected is very similar to the regular employment questions, but wordings may vary to accommodate different situations. The three types of employer questions are not represented separately in the table.

D. Job search

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10
Job search activities and (some years) intentions * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *     *    
R looking for work or employed when found current or most recent job       *                       * * * *          
Methods of job search       *   * * * * * * * * * * * * * *     *    
Job offers rejected (while looking for each job)       *       * * *           * * * *          
Desired characteristics of job sought       *   * * *