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Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

QCEW Area Code Guide

This is a brief guide for users on the various types of area codes used for QCEW data in the BLS publication databases and data files. These notes are applicable to both NAICS and SIC coded QCEW data, the later of which are available for reference periods from 1975 to 2000.

Code and Title Lists

See https://www.bls.gov/cew/classifications/ for links to lists of QCEW area codes and titles.

Code Types

1) The most common area codes are for the county level records. In these cases, the area code is formed from the 2-digit state FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) and the 3-digit county FIPS code. An example of this type of area code, and its corresponding title is:

47037     Davidson County, Tennessee

2) Statewide data follows the same convention as the county level data substituting three zeros for the county FIPS code. An example of this type of area code, and its corresponding title is:

21000     Kentucky -- Statewide

3) Special national codes begin with US in the first 2 positions of the area code. An example of this type of area code, and its corresponding title is:

USMSA     U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (combined)

4) Area codes for Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) based on the definitions introduced in February 2013 are based on the 5-digit MSA codes for those MSAs. However, in order to take advantage of QCEW's existing software and systems, only the first 4 digits of the Census 5-digit MSA codes are used to make up the QCEW MSA area code. (For all Census MSAs, the 5th digit of the Census MSA code is zero). To make up the full 5 character QCEW area code field, the letter C precedes the first 4-digits of the Census MSA code to make up the 5 character QCEW MSA area code. An example of this type of area code, and its corresponding title is:

QCEW - C3310     Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL MSA     33100 - Census

Note that QCEW MSA data from 1990 to 2012 are classified using the December 2003 MSA definitions. Data classified using the February 2013 definitions are planned to be used from 2013 until the finalization of the decennial census in 2023.  The QCEW program has incorporated those and subsequent changes in a manner that attempts to minimize the burden on users to relate MSA coded QCEW data for different periods of time.

5) Area codes for Combined Statistical Areas (CSAs) based on the definitions introduced in February 2013 are based on the 3-digit CSA codes for those CSAs. To make up the full 5 character area code field, the letters CS precede the 3 digits of the Census CSA code to make up the 5 character area code. An example of this type of area code, and its corresponding title is:

QCEW - CS176     Chicago-Naperville, IL-IN-WI CSA     176 - Census

6) Area codes for Micropolitan Statistical Areas (MicroSAs) based on the definitions introduced in February 2013 are based on the 5-digit MicroSA codes for those areas. However, in order to take advantage of QCEW's existing software and systems, only the first 4 digits of the Census 5-digit MicroSA codes are used to make up the QCEW MSA area code. (For all Census MicroSAs, the 5th digit of the Census MSA code is zero). To make up the full 5 character QCEW area code field, the letter C precedes the first 4-digits of the Census MSA code to make up the 5 character QCEW MSA area code. An example of this type of area code, and its corresponding title is:

C3350     Minot, ND MicroSA

7) Area codes for Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) based on the definitions introduced before December 2003 are based on the 4-digit MSA codes for those MSAs from various historical MSA definition files (See Pre-2004 MSA codes for details). To make up the full 5 character QCEW area code field, the letter M is added to the beginning of the 4-digit Census MSA code to make up the 5 character QCEW MSA area code. An example of this type of area code, and its corresponding title is:

QCEW - M2760     Fort Wayne, In MSA     2760 - Census

8) Area codes for Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) based on the definitions introduced before December 2003 are based on the 2-digit CMSA codes for those CMSAs from various historical MSA definition files (See Pre-2004 MSA codes for details). To make up the full 5 character QCEW area code field, the letters CMS are added to the beginning of the 2-digit Census CMSA code to make up the 5 character QCEW MSA area code. An example of this type of area code, and its corresponding title is:

QCEW - CMS77     Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City, Pa-NJ-De-Md CMSA     77 - Census

 

 Last Modified Date: March 19, 2021