Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210






November 17, 2000




October 31, 2001











Office of Workforce Security




Revised Coding Instructions for Race and Ethnicity Data in the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefit Accuracy Measurement (BAM) Data Collection Instrument (DCI)

  1. Purpose. To provide State Employment Security Agencies with instructions for coding race and ethnicity data in the BAM DCI.

  2. References. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Statistical Policy Directive No. 15, Race and Ethnic Standards for Federal Statistics and Administrative Reporting (May 12, 1977); Federal Register Notice 62 FR 58782-58790 (October 30, 1997); Benefit Accuracy Measurement State Operations Handbook, ET Handbook No. 395; and Benefits Quality Control ADP User Guide, ET Handbook No. 400.

  3. Background. The standards in OMB's Statistical Policy Directive No. 15 were designed to promote uniformity and comparability for data on race and ethnicity. In the aftermath of the 1990 decennial census, the standards came under increasing criticism from those who believe that the minimum categories set forth in Directive No. 15 did not reflect the increasing diversity of the United States population. In response to the criticisms, OMB announced in July 1993 that it would undertake a comprehensive review of the categories for data on race and ethnicity.

    This review was conducted in collaboration with the Interagency Committee for the Review of the Racial and Ethnic Standards, which OMB established in March 1994 to facilitate the participation of Federal agencies in the review. The members of the Interagency Committee, from more than 30 agencies, represented the many and diverse Federal needs, including statutory requirements, for data on race and ethnicity.

    OMB announced revisions to the standards for classification of Federal data on race and ethnicity in a Federal Register Notice on October 30, 1997 (62 FR 58782). The revised standards have five minimum categories for data on race: American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; Black or African American; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and White. There are two categories for data on ethnicity: Hispanic or Latino and Not Hispanic or Latino.

    The new standards were used by the Bureau of the Census in the 2000 decennial census. OMB directed that other Federal programs should adopt the standards "as soon as possible."

    The structure of the current BAM data element does not conform to the revised standards. Ethnic classification (data element b13 in the b_master table) provides only four race categories, combines Asian with Pacific Islander, does not provide a specific category for Native Hawaiian, combines the non-Hispanic ethnicity category with only two of the race categories, and does not provide for Hispanic to be coded in combination with a racial category.

  4. Category Definitions. The following are the definitions established by OMB for the coding of race and ethnicity data:

  5. Coding Instructions for BAM DCI. According to OMB's standards in 62 FR 58782, "To provide flexibility and ensure data quality, separate questions shall be used wherever feasible for reporting race and ethnicity. When race and ethnicity are collected separately, ethnicity shall be collected first." BAM DCI data element b13 is a two-position character (non-numeric) field. The coding structure is being revised to capture ethnicity data in the first position and race data in the second position of the data element.

    The OMB standards also state that, "Respondents shall be offered the option of selecting one or more racial designations. Recommended forms for the instruction accompanying the multiple response question are 'Mark one or more' and 'Select one or more'." The BAM claimant interview should include the option of designating more than one race. Note that the BAM coding structure differs from the structure used to report race data in the ETA 203 report, Characteristics of the Insured Unemployed, and the Liable-Agent Data Transfer (LADT) record, which do not include a category for reporting multiple racial categories. Because BAM uses both survey data from individual claimants as well as data from agency records, the revised BAM coding structure includes a code to record that the claimant selected more than one category.

    The revised structure is summarized in the following table.

    Revised Structure of Race / Ethnicity Data Element (b13)

    First Position

    Second Position
    0 - Not Hispanic or Latino 1 - Hispanic or Latino 9- Ethnicity Unknown
    1 - White 01 11 91
    2 - Black or African American 02 12 92
    3 - Asian 03 13 93
    4 - American Indian or Alaska Native 04 14 94
    5 - Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 05 15 95
    6 - Multiple Categories Reported 06 16 96
    9 - Race Unknown 09 19 99

  6. Effective Date. BAM investigators and supervisors will begin to use the new ethnicity and race codes for all BAM cases signed off or reopened on or after January 1, 2001. BAM supervisors must ensure that all cases signed off or reopened on or after January 1, 2001, are coded using the new ethnicity and race codes.

    Ethnic classification code data (BAM DCI data element b13) for all records in the b_master table in the State's UI database with supervisor sign-off dates (BAM DCI data element h10) on or before December 31, 2000, and no reopen date after December 31, 2000, will be retroactively converted to the new coding structure by the Department, and uploaded to the National Office's UI database. Codes will be converted as follows:

    Current Code New Code
    1 - White, not Hispanic 01 - White, not Hispanic or Latino
    2 - Black, not Hispanic 02 - Black, not Hispanic or Latino
    3 - Hispanic 19 - Hispanic or Latino, Race Unknown
    4 - American Indian or Alaskan Native 94 - American Indian or Alaska Native,
    Ethnicity Unknown
    5 - Asian or Pacific Islander 97 - Former "Asian or Pacific Islander",
    Ethnicity Unknown*
    -1 - Missing or Unknown 99 - Race and Ethnicity Unknown

    * Code '97' will be used only to convert the former "Asian or Pacific Islander" category. This is not a valid code for data entry on or after January 1, 2001. Codes '3' (Asian) or '5' (Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander) will be used in the second position of the race / ethnicity data element, as discussed in section 5.

    The Department will also revise the Benefit Accuracy Measurement State Operations Handbook, ET Handbook No. 395, and the Benefits Quality Control ADP User Guide, ET Handbook No. 400, to reflect the new coding structures.

  7. Action Required. State Administrators are requested to provide copies of these instructions to the appropriate staff.

  8. Inquiries. Questions should be directed to the appropriate ETA Regional Office.