Overview

The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages Program is a cooperative program involving the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor and the State Employment Security Agencies (SESAs). The QCEW program produces a comprehensive tabulation of employment and wage information for workers covered by State unemployment insurance (UI) laws and Federal workers covered by the Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) program. Publicly available files include data on the number of establishments, monthly employment, and quarterly wages, by NAICS industry, by county, by ownership sector, for the entire United States. These data are aggregated to annual levels, to higher industry levels (NAICS industry groups, sectors, and supersectors), and to higher geographic levels (national, State, and Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)).

The QCEW program serves as a near census of monthly employment and quarterly wage information by 6-digit NAICS industry at the national, State, and county levels. At the national level, the QCEW program publishes employment and wage data for nearly every NAICS industry. At the State and area level, the QCEW program publishes employment and wage data down to the 6-digit NAICS industry level, if disclosure restrictions are met. In accordance with BLS policy, data provided to the Bureau in confidence are not published and are used only for specified statistical purposes. BLS withholds publication of UI-covered employment and wage data for any industry level when necessary to protect the identity of cooperating employers. Totals at the industry level for the States and the Nation include the nondisclosable data suppressed within the detailed tables. However, these totals cannot be used to reveal the suppressed data.

Employment data under the QCEW program represent the number of covered workers who worked during, or received pay for, the pay period including the 12th of the month. Excluded are members of the armed forces, the self-employed, proprietors, domestic workers, unpaid family workers, and railroad workers covered by the railroad unemployment insurance system. Wages represent total compensation paid during the calendar quarter, regardless of when services were performed. Included in wages are pay for vacation and other paid leave, bonuses, stock options, tips, the cash value of meals and lodging, and in some States, contributions to deferred compensation plans (such as 401(k) plans). The QCEW program does provide partial information on agricultural industries and employees in private households.

Data from the QCEW program serve as an important input to many BLS programs. The QCEW data are used as the benchmark source for employment by the Current Employment Statistics program and the Occupational Employment Statistics program. The UI administrative records collected under the QCEW program serve as a sampling frame for BLS establishment surveys.

In addition, data from the QCEW program serve as an input to other Federal and State programs. The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the Department of Commerce uses QCEW data as the base for developing the wage and salary component of personal income. The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the Department of Labor and the SESAs use QCEW data to administer the employment security program. The QCEW data accurately reflect the extent of coverage of the State UI laws and are used to measure UI revenues; national, State and local area employment; and total and UI taxable wage trends.

BLS publishes data from the QCEW program every quarter in the County Employment and Wages press release.  This is usually released 6 to 7  months after the end of the quarter.  The QCEW program also publishes a subset of its quarterly data through the Create Customized Tables system, and full quarterly industry detail data at all geographic levels in several file formats, our data files.

In addition, QCEW publishes the annual bulletin Employment and Wages, Annual Averages about 10 months after the end of the year.  The 2002 edition is the first to appear on the internet in its entirety.  For more information about this, please see the Publications section of our home page.  Also, the cooperating SESAs issue quarterly and/or annual reports of QCEW data.  

 

Last Modified Date: March 24, 2014