Electronic Data Reporting

Chapter 3 - Standardized Reporting Procedures

The CES and the MWR programs collect 17 data elements that are common to both programs. BLS has standardized these common data elements and their associated field specifications and descriptions. These data elements are then incorporated into two standardized flat file formats of equal length.

Each CES and MWR file format begins with the 17 common data elements and are 350 characters long; the first 152 characters in both file formats are exactly the same. The remaining characters in each file format contain the data elements that are unique to each program.

These standardized layouts are designed to reduce your start-up programming costs and should substantially simplify the process for creating these files. Field specifications and detailed data element descriptions for these standardized flat file formats are contained in Appendices A and C for the CES program and Appendix B for the MWR.

3.1 Types of Data Elements

Each data element is categorized by one of three types based on how critical the data element is for processing and on the likelihood of the element being available to the employer. The three categories are as follows:

Required — A data element without which BLS cannot process the data received. It is imperative that the "required" elements are provided with each live submittal and that they are accurate. Failure to provide accurate "required" elements may result in the loss of EDI participation until BLS is assured of compliance.

Conditional — (For CES program only) A data element that is required depending on whether another related data element is reported. For example, if you report payroll and/or hours data, then either the Start and End of Pay Period, or the Length of Pay Period Code is required.

Optional — A data element that is not essential for processing, but is important for maintaining accurate and up-to-date employer information. Please include all optional data elements if they are available.

3.2 Establishments and Reporting Levels


Firms are organized differently and the definition of an establishment may vary from firm to firm. BLS defines an establishment as an economic unit that produces goods or services, usually at a single physical location, and is engaged in one or predominantly one activity.

Reporting Levels

BLS prefers data to be reported at the establishment level.

This reporting level allows each location to be included in the proper geographical area.

For each program (CES or MWR), the employer should generate a data record in the standardized flat file format for each establishment (or each payroll frequency for CES) and transmit all available data records for that program in a single transmission to the EDI Center.

3.3 Business Identification Information

Both programs use six data elements to differentiate and identify each physical location of an employer. These six items are:

  • A 9-digit Employer Identification Number (EIN) assigned by the Internal Revenue Service. The EDI reporter should supply an EIN for each physical location owned by the reporter or owned by the reporter's subsidiaries. The EIN is located at positions 21 to 29 on the CES or MWR EDI file format.

  • A State-specific Unemployment Insurance (UI) account number is assigned to each employer or employer subsidiary by the UI tax division within the State. The EDI reporter should supply the UI account numbers for each physical location owned by the reporter or owned by the reporter's subsidiaries. The UI account number to be entered on to the EDI file is an alpha/numeric and should not contain hyphens or other punctuation. The UI account number is located at positions 6 to 15 on the CES or MWR file format.

    Because UI account number configurations will vary from State to State, it is possible that the UI account number configurations stored in an employer's system may not match the configurations required for transmittal to the EDI Center. Due to the variability of the UI account numbers, prospective EDI reporters should consult the EDI Center staff for advice when initially populating the UI account numbers on their test EDI files.

  • Accurate address information (street, city, State, and minimum five-digit zip code) for every physical location supplied by the employer on the EDI file. These address fields are positions 65 to 136 on the CES or MWR EDI file format.

  • A trade name is required for each physical location. The trade name is located at positions 30 to 64 on the CES or MWR EDI file formats. The trade name which would be equivalent to the name on the door of the establishment if the public could visit that physical location. For example, a business owner of a restaurant named "Mom's Place" may be incorporated as Mr. Ames Enterprises, Inc... The legal name of the physical locations would be "Mr. Ames Enterprises Inc." The trade name to be provided on the EDI file would be "Mom's Place." The public upon visiting the location would see on the doorway "Mom's Place." Note that for the MWR program, the legal name, in addition to the trade name, must be reported on the EDI MWR file format (positions 154 to 188 on the MWR file format).

  • The Reporting Unit Number (RUN) is a 5-digit number that is used in conjunction with the UI account number to uniquely identify a reported establishment at its address. The RUNs, like the UIs, are assigned by the State UI agencies. The UI account numbers assigned to employers are generally constant, and the changes to UI account numbers are usually employer-initiated. Unlike UI account number changes, the changes to RUNs are usually initiated by the State UI agencies. Because the State UI agencies can change RUNs without pre-notifying employers, it is difficult for employers to know or maintain correct RUN assignments on their reported EDI files. Because prospective EDI reporters will have this RUN uncertainty, the RUN is not a required data element on an EDI data submittal. Employers should zero-fill the RUN field, which is located at positions 16 to 20 on the CES or MWR EDI file format.

  • Worksite Identification Code: The Worksite Identification Code fields are used to uniquely differentiate and identify each EDI reporter's physical location. This code is usually maintained in the reporter's internal accounting/payroll systems to identify a specific worksite location. On the CES EDI file format, the EDI reporters must provide a unique identifier using the fields in positions 165 to 206. On the MWR EDI file format, the EDI reporters must provide a unique worksite identifier in positions 302 to 322. The EDI reporter must populate these fields on every EDI file so that crosswalk linkages can be created for the proper State UI account number/RUN assignments. The EDI Center will internally maintain the crosswalk table that establishes a one-to-one relationship for each unique worksite identifier mapped to a unique State UI account number/RUN combination.

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Appendix A, B, C, D, E, F


Last Modified Date: September 29, 2005