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Skills and Earnings in the Full-Time Labor Market
Neeta Fogg, Paul Harrington, and Ishwar Khatiwada

Appendix A: Data Source and Methodology

In this report, we used PIAAC 2012-2014 U.S. Restricted Use File (RUF) data provided by ETS. We have restricted our findings to 25-to-54-year-old full-time workers with positive earnings. We define full-time workers as those who reported to have worked at least 35 hours per week. We have also excluded those workers whose earnings fell in the bottom 1 and top 1 percentile of earnings distributions. This exclusion accounted for only a 1.7 percent sample of full-time workers (25-54) with positive monthly earnings. 64 We have also excluded a total of 10 workers from the full-time workers sample: with foreign degrees (7), missing educational attainment levels (1), and missing class of workers status (2). Our analysis is based on a sample of 2,242 full-time workers. In regression models appearing in the report, the literacy and numeracy variables are standardized for all persons (16 and older) to have a mean of 0 and standard deviation of 1. We have followed OECD-recommended cutoff points for literacy and numeracy plausible values in creating proficiency levels. Definition of proficiency levels for literacy and numeracy are displayed in Table A-1. All analyses of literacy and numeracy proficiency scores and levels in this report are based on averages of 10 plausible scores and standard errors include both sampling and measurement errors.

Table A-1: Defining Proficiency Levels for Literacy and Numeracy Plausible Values, PIAAC 2012-2014

Proficiency Level

Plausible Values Range

Note: Information about the procedures used to set the achievement levels is available in the OECD PIAAC Technical Standards and Guidelines.

Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD Skills Outlook 2013: First Results from the Survey of Adult Skills (Paris: OECD Publishing, 2013), https://www.oecd.org/skills/piaac/Skills%20volume%201%20(eng)--full%20v12--eBook%20(04%2011%202013).pdf.

Below Level 1

0 to 175.9999

Level 1

176 to 225.9999

Level 2

226 to 275.9999

Level 3

276 to 325.9999

Level 4/5

326 to 500

Standard errors in the report without plausible values are jackknife standard errors. Whenever analysis involved use of the 10 plausible values, standard errors included measurement errors. In our analysis involving the 10 plausible values, we have used the REPEST STATA program developed by Francesco Avvisati and Francois Keslair of the OECD. We thank them for their valuable guidance in using the program. 

Table A-2: Mean of Literacy Proficiency Score for Full-Time Workers (25 to 54 Years Old) Selected in the Analysis, 2012-2014

Educational Attainment

Male

Female

Total

Source: 2012 and 2014 PIAAC surveys, restricted use files, tabulations by authors.

No HS Diploma

214

199

208

HS Diploma

254

261

256

Some College

281

280

281

Certificate from college/trade school

282

271

277

Associate's degree

290

287

288

Bachelor's degree

311

301

307

Master's or higher degree

322

311

316

Master's degree

318

310

313

Professional degree

333

307

320

Doctorate degree

327

329

327

Total

281

282

281

Table A-3: Mean of Numeracy Proficiency Score for Full-Time Workers (25 to 54 Years Old) Selected in the Analysis, 2012-2014

Educational Attainment

Male

Female

Total

Source: 2012 and 2014 PIAAC surveys, restricted use files, tabulations by authors.

No HS Diploma

207

185

199

HS Diploma

243

236

241

Some College

272

256

265

Certificate from college/trade school

279

247

265

Associate's degree

284

262

274

Bachelor's degree

307

285

296

Master's or higher degree

322

294

308

Master's degree

318

294

305

Professional degree

329

289

308

Doctorate degree

333

309

326

Total

275

262

269

Table A-4: Sample Cases for Tables A-2 and A-3

Educational Attainment

Male

Female

Total

Source: 2012 and 2014 PIAAC surveys, restricted use files, tabulations by authors.

<12 or 12, no HS Diploma

82

54

136

HS Diploma

315

199

514

Some College

147

125

272

Certificate from college/trade school

110

98

208

Associate's degree

109

123

232

Bachelor's degree

254

270

524

Master's or higher degree

153

203

356

Master's degree

101

156

257

Professional degree

29

36

65

Doctorate degree

23

11

34

Total

1,170

1,072

2,242

Table A-5: Distribution of 25- to 54-Year-Old Full-Time Workers Universe Selected in the Analysis by Literacy Proficiency Levels and Educational Attainment Levels, 2012-2014

Educational Attainment

Level 1 or Below

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4/5

Total

Source: 2012 and 2014 PIAAC surveys, restricted use files, tabulations by authors.

No HS Diploma

57.5

34.3

7.9

0.8

100.0

HS Diploma

22.6

44.3

28.5

4.6

100.0

Some College

12.8

28.4

45.4

13.4

100.0

Certificate from college/trade school

9.2

37.4

44.2

9.2

100.0

Associate's degree

5.6

30.6

48.0

15.8

100.0

Bachelor's degree

2.0

16.3

51.9

29.7

100.0

Master's or higher degree

1.3

12.1

45.4

41.2

100.0

Master's degree

1.2

13.1

48.5

37.2

100.0

Professional degree

2.7

10.5

39.2

47.7

100.0

Doctorate degree

0.0

8.0

34.4

57.6

100.0

Total

13.0

28.5

40.4

18.1

100.0

Table A-6: Sample Cases for Table A-4

Educational Attainment

Level 1 or Below

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4/5

Total

Source: 2012 and 2014 PIAAC surveys, restricted use files, tabulations by authors.

No HS Diploma

74

49

12

1

136

HS Diploma

111

229

153

21

514

Some College

32

84

121

35

272

Certificate from college/trade school

17

78

95

18

208

Associate's degree

11

69

113

39

232

Bachelor's degree

12

89

272

151

524

Master's or higher degree

6

42

161

148

356

Master's degree

3

33

123

98

257

Professional degree

3

7

26

29

65

Doctorate degree

0

2

12

20

41

Total

262

641

927

412

2242

Table A-7: Distribution of 25- to 54-Year-Old Full-Time Workers Universe Selected in the Analysis by Numeracy Proficiency Levels and Educational Attainment Levels, 2012-2014

Educational Attainment

Level 1 or Below

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4/5

Total

Source: 2012 and 2014 PIAAC surveys, restricted use files, tabulations by authors.

No HS Diploma

64.2

30.2

4.8

0.8

100.0

HS Diploma

36.7

39.8

20.8

2.7

100.0

Some College

19.9

36.7

35.7

7.7

100.0

Certificate from college/trade school

18.0

43.1

30.1

8.8

100.0

Associate's degree

13.5

35.6

40.7

10.2

100.0

Bachelor's degree

5.5

23.4

46.7

24.4

100.0

Master's or higher degree

4.3

16.5

45.2

34.4

100.0

Master's degree

4.4

18.7

44.8

32.2

100.0

Professional degree

4.3

15.4

47.2

33.0

100.0

Doctorate degree

3.6

3.8

44.9

52.0

100.0

Total

20.5

31.5

33.9

14.2

100.0

Table A-8: Sample Cases for Table A-5:

Educational Attainment

Level 1 or Below

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4/5

Total

Source: 2012 and 2014 PIAAC surveys, restricted use files, tabulations by authors.

No HS Diploma

86

41

8

1

136

HS Diploma

178

215

110

11

514

Some College

52

107

93

21

272

Certificate from college/trade school

35

92

66

16

208

Associate's degree

33

85

90

24

232

Bachelor's degree

30

133

239

122

524

Master's or higher degree

14

33

123

98

356

Master's degree

10

51

115

81

257

Professional degree

4

12

30

20

65

Doctorate degree

0

1

16

18

34

Total

427

736

766

313

2242

Notes

64 The weighted earnings were $833 at percentile 1 and $25,167 at percentile 99.