Saturday, January 5, 2019

Superficial Contact in Normal Work Duties

We addressed the issue of superficial contact with supervisors as incompatible with reacting appropriately to criticism from a supervisor.  We separately address the question on qualitative versus quantitative contact with supervisors and coworkers.  This typically engenders a re-definition of terms by the ALJ or the ALJ just ignores the cross-examination that in turn leads to a lengthy appeal.  In this piece, we address a method that uses vocationally recognized and relevant terms for which we have hard data.  We start with the assumption in the hypothetical question to occasional superficial contact with the public, coworkers, and supervisors.  The vocational expert identified three occupations representing a significant number of jobs.  It is now time for cross-examination. 
Q. Do you consider coordinating with other people to be superficial?
Q. Do you consider factual information exchange to be superficial?
Q. Do you consider gentle persuading to be superficial?
Coordinating with other people and persuading other people fall outside the superficial box.  Those two questions should get a "no."  That leaves factual information exchange to be the focal point of potentially superficial.  We used office clerks, general (SOC 43-9061) in the most recent articles, so we continue to use them as illustrative here. 

43-9061.00 (office clerks, general)

Series ID: ORUC1000075800001030
Not seasonally adjusted
Series Title: % of office clerks, general; type of interaction with regular contacts is factual info exchange
Requirement: Cognitive And Mental Requirements
Occupation: office clerks, general
Estimate: type of interaction with regular contacts is factual info exchange
YearPeriodEstimate
2017Annual30.7

Series ID: 
ORUC1000075800001036
Not seasonally adjusted
Series Title: % of office clerks, general; type of interaction with other contacts is factual info exchange
Requirement: Cognitive And Mental Requirements
Occupation: office clerks, general
Estimate: type of interaction with other contacts is factual info exchange
YearPeriodEstimate
2017Annual51.2

As between the two types of contacts, interacting with regular contacts is limited to factual information exchange in a smaller percentage of jobs -- general office clerks coordinate or persuade in the majority of jobs. 

Series ID: 
ORUC1000075800001031
Not seasonally adjusted
Series Title: % of office clerks, general; type of interaction with regular contacts is coordinating
Requirement: Cognitive And Mental Requirements
Occupation: office clerks, general
Estimate: type of interaction with regular contacts is coordinating
YearPeriodEstimate
2017Annual62.8

Series ID: 
ORUC1000075800001032
Not seasonally adjusted
Series Title: % of office clerks, general; type of interaction with regular contacts is gentle persuading
Requirement: Cognitive And Mental Requirements
Occupation: office clerks, general
Estimate: type of interaction with regular contacts is gentle persuading
YearPeriodEstimate
2017Annual6
https://beta.bls.gov/dataViewer/view/timeseries/ORUC1000075800001032

Having suspected and then confirmed the inference, we can confidently state that the data shows that 30.7% of general office clerks are limited to factual information exchange as an expected part of the job performance.  We now turn to frequency.  

Series ID: ORUC1000075800001050
Not seasonally adjusted
Series Title: % of office clerks, general; frequency of contact with regular contacts is continuous
Requirement: Cognitive And Mental Requirements
Occupation: office clerks, general
Estimate: frequency of contact with regular contacts is continuous
YearPeriodEstimate
2017Annual21.6

Series ID: 
ORUC1000075800001051
Not seasonally adjusted
Series Title: % of office clerks, general; frequency of contact with regular contacts is more than once per hour
Requirement: Cognitive And Mental Requirements
Occupation: office clerks, general
Estimate: frequency of contact with regular contacts is more than once per hour
YearPeriodEstimate
2017Annual53.4

Series ID: 
ORUC1000075800001052
Not seasonally adjusted
Series Title: % of office clerks, general; frequency of contact with regular contacts is more than once per day
Requirement: Cognitive And Mental Requirements
Occupation: office clerks, general
Estimate: frequency of contact with regular contacts is more than once per day
YearPeriodEstimate
2017Annual21.5

The data change the terminology.  Continuous translates over to constant easily.  More than once per hour is the corollary for frequent and more than once per day is the corollary for occasional.  If we use contact with other contacts, we get the phrase for seldom or never:

Series ID: ORUC1000075800001048
Not seasonally adjusted
Series Title: % of office clerks, general; frequency of contact with other contacts is no more than once per day, including never
Requirement: Cognitive And Mental Requirements
Occupation: office clerks, general
Estimate: frequency of contact with other contacts is no more than once per day, including never
YearPeriodEstimate
2017Annual31.9

Getting to that definition has the serendipity of providing a hold on how many general office clerks have no contact with the public -- other contacts.

Now we get to the point where commonsense controls. Who is more likely to have contact with coworkers and supervisors to coordinate activity, unskilled or skilled workers? Who is more likely to have their work checked by a coworker or supervisor regularly during the workday, unskilled or skilled workers? This is our last data point for this discussion:

Series ID: 
ORUC1000075800001075
Not seasonally adjusted
Series Title: % of office clerks, general; work review is more than once a day
Requirement: Cognitive And Mental Requirements
Occupation: office clerks, general
Estimate: work review is more than once a day
YearPeriodEstimate
2017Annual32.2

Series ID: 
ORUC1000075800001076
Not seasonally adjusted
Series Title: % of office clerks, general; work review is once per day
Requirement: Cognitive And Mental Requirements
Occupation: office clerks, general
Estimate: work review is once per day
YearPeriodEstimate
2017Annual29.8

Series ID: 
ORUC1000075800001077
Not seasonally adjusted
Series Title: % of office clerks, general; work review is at least weekly
Requirement: Cognitive And Mental Requirements
Occupation: office clerks, general
Estimate: work review is at least weekly
YearPeriodEstimate
2017Annual24.7

Less than a quarter have their work checked less than daily; less than a third have their work checked daily; and a third get checked more than daily.  We have three competing assumptions to make about the world of work:
1. Unskilled workers have less contact with coworkers and supervisors compared to skilled or semi-skilled workers.
2. Unskilled workers have more contact with coworkers and supervisors compared to skilled or semi-skilled workers.
3. Unskilled workers have about the same contact with coworkers and supervisors compared to skilled or semi-skilled workers.
Absent a statistical basis for an assumption, the default has to be #3.  We go back to the OOH for the raw job numbers:

43-9061 Office clerks, general

Typical Education Needed
High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation
None
Typical On-The-Job Training Needed to Attain Competency
Short-term on-the-job training
2016 Employment
3,117,700

We broke down the skill level based on ORS data to get to 1,100,548 unskilled jobs as a general office clerk.  We broke those numbers down to light and sedentary jobs and those with less than or equal to six hours of sitting.  Putting those conclusions together with today's data and we get:

43-9061.00 (office clerks, general)
# of Jobs
% Unskilled
# Unskilled
3,117,700
35.3%
1,100,548
# Unskilled
% Fact Info Ex.
# Fact Info Ex.
1,100,548
30.7%
337,868
# Fact Info Ex.
% > Daily
# > Daily
337,868
21.5%
72,642
# Unskilled
% Light
# Light
72,642
41.0%
29,783
# Light
% 6 hour sitting
# 6 hour sitting
29,783
25.0%
7,446
# Unskilled
% Sedentary
# Sedentary
72,642
32.8%
23,826
# Sedentary
% 6 hour sitting
# 6 hour sitting
23,826
25.0%
5,957

If we have an occasional superficial contact with others with either a sedentary or light residual functional capacity, the number of jobs drops below 30,000  in both exertion levels.  Imposing a limitation to six hours of sitting and the number of jobs becomes insignificant in most circuits.  

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