From the advent of the eight-factor analysis, availability analyses have been a central part of all federal affirmative action plans. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) changed from an eight-factor analysis to a two-factor analysis (i.e. an analysis examining only external populations and internal populations that may be able to enter jobs) more than ten years ago. However, the central idea behind any availability analysis is the same: an availability analysis should provide a reasonably accurate picture of the percentage of minorities and females who are available for positions in any particular job group.

As the U.S. Census Bureau enters the final stages of preparing for the release of new census data that will be used in availability analyses, it is worth taking a moment to ask an important question:

  • Do the availability analyses found in affirmative action plans actually provide reasonably accurate information?

Having prepared availability an