The wage calculations used in this STATE CHART BOOK ON WAGES FOR PERSONAL CARE AIDES, 2000-2010 are derived from the median hourly wage data reported by the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Program of the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (1982-84=100), also from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Federal poverty guidelines are issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 2010 guidelines can be found at: http://aspe.hhs.gov/POVERTY/10poverty.shtml. Percentage multiples of the guideline for a single-person household were calculated and then divided by 2,080 hours, the standard annual number of full-time work hours, to arrive at the mean hourly wages yielding the various federal poverty wage thresholds.
Personal Care Aides refer to BLS Standard Occupational Code (SOC): 39-9021. This occupation is defined as those who "Assist elderly or disabled adults with daily living activities at the person's home or in a daytime non-residential facility. Duties performed at a place of residence may include keeping house (making beds, doing laundry, washing dishes) and preparing meals. May provide meals and supervised activities at non-residential care facilities. May advise families, the elderly, and disabled on such things as nutrition, cleanliness, and household utilities."
The OES survey, from which the median hourly wages are taken, is a semi-annual mail survey of employers, selected from the list of non-farm establishments maintained by State Workforce Agencies (SWAs) for unemployment insurance purposes. The OES survey covers all full-time and part-time wage and salary workers in non-farm industries. The survey does not cover the self-employed, household workers, or unpaid family workers, which leads to the exclusion of many individuals who participate in the workforce as Personal Care Aides.
The OES survey methodology is designed to create detailed cross-sectional employment and wage estimates, and in general, the BLS does not use or encourage the use of OES data for time-series analysis due to periodic changes in the occupational classifications, changes in the way data are collected, changes in the survey reference period, and changes in wage estimation methods. However, the limitations described do not significantly affect the occupations under consideration for this analysis, and therefore a time series analysis of wages is provided.
The OES estimated hourly wage data is based on a pooling of six semi-annual panels for three consecutive years. Thus, the resulting estimates constitute a conservative moving average calculated from a pooled sample, rather than one wage reported at a specific time of the year. However, in spite of estimating wages from more than one year's data to reduce sampling error, some state data show significant variation which may be attributable to high mean square errors. Therefore, caution should be used, since these estimates may be at variance with actual wages for these occupations. For more technical details on the OES survey and data, see information provided at: http://www.bls.gov/oes/