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Economic News Release
QCEW QCEW Program Links

Employment and Average Annual Pay For Large Counties Technical Note

Technical Note

   These data are the product of a federal-state cooperative program known
as Covered Employment and Wages, or the ES-202 program.  The data are de-
rived from summaries of employment and total pay of workers covered by
unemployment insurance (UI) legislation and provided by State Employment
Security Agencies (SESAs).  The summaries are a byproduct of the admini-
stration of state unemployment insurance programs that require most em-
ployers to pay quarterly taxes based on the employment and wages of workers 
covered by UI.  Data for 2001 are preliminary and subject to revision.  The 
2000 data used to calculate the 2000-01 changes presented in this release 
were adjusted for changes in county classification to make them comparable 
to data for 2001.  As a result, the adjusted 2000 data differ to some ex-
tent from the data available on the BLS Web site.


   Employment and wage data for workers covered by state UI laws and for
federal civilian workers covered by the Unemployment Compensation for
Federal Employees (UCFE) program are compiled from quarterly contribution
reports submitted to the SESAs by employers.  In addition to the quarterly
contribution reports, employers who operate multiple establishments within
a state complete a questionnaire, called the "Multiple Worksite Report,"
which provides detailed information on the location and industry of each 
of their establishments.  Average annual employment and pay data included 
in this release are derived from microdata summaries of 8.0 million employer
reports of employment and wages submitted by states to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics.  These reports are based on place of employment rather than
place of residence.
   UI and UCFE coverage is broad and basically comparable from state to
state.  In 2001, UI and UCFE programs covered workers in 129.7 million
jobs.  The estimated 124.8 million workers in these jobs (after adjust-
ment for multiple jobholders) represented 99.7 percent of wage and salary
civilian employment.  Multiple jobholder estimates are produced by the
Current Population Survey.  Covered workers received $4.695 trillion in
pay, representing 94.8 percent of the wage and salary component of per-
sonal income and 46.6 percent of the gross domestic product.
   Major exclusions from UI coverage during 2001 are self-employed workers, 
most agricultural workers on small farms, all members of the Armed Forces, 
elected officials in most states, most employees of railroads, some domestic 
workers, most student workers at schools, and employees of certain small 
nonprofit organizations.

Concepts and methodology

   Average annual pay was computed by dividing total annual pay of employees 
covered by UI programs by the average monthly number of these employees.  In 
addition to salaries, average pay data include bonuses, the cash value of 
meals and lodging when supplied, tips and other gratuities, and, in some 
states, employer contributions to certain deferred compensation plans, such 
as 401(k) plans and stock options.  Monthly employment is based on the num-
ber of workers who worked during or received pay for the pay period includ-
ing the 12th day of the month.  With few exceptions, all employees of covered 
firms are reported, including production and sales workers, corporation offi-
cials, executives, supervisory personnel, and clerical workers.  Workers on 
paid vacation and part-time workers also are included.  Percent changes in 
average annual pay were computed using preliminary North American Industry 
Classification System (NAICS)-based 2000 data as the base.  These prelimin-
ary NAICS-based 2000 data will differ from the Standard Industrial Classifi-
cation (SIC)-based 2000 data previously published.
   Average annual pay is affected by the ratio of full-time to part-time
workers as well as the number of individuals in high-paying and low-paying
occupations.  When comparing average annual pay levels between counties,
these factors should be taken into consideration.  Annual pay data only
approximate annual earnings because an individual may not be employed by
the same employer all year or may work for more than one employer.  Also,
year-to-year changes in average annual pay can result from a change in the
proportion of employment in high- and low-wage jobs, as well as from
changes in the level of average annual pay.
   In order to insure the highest possible quality of data, SESAs verify
with employers and update, if necessary, the industry, location, and own-
ership classification of all establishments on a 3-year cycle.  Changes
in establishment classification codes resulting from the verification
process are introduced with the data reported for the first quarter of 
the year.  Changes resulting from improved employer reporting also are
introduced in the first quarter.  For these reasons, some data, especi-
ally at more detailed geographic levels, may not be strictly comparable 
with earlier years.  The 2000 data have been adjusted for code changes 
in order to be comparable with 2001 data.
   County definitions are assigned according to Federal Information Pro-
cessing Standards Publications (FIPS PUBS) as issued by the National In-
stitute of Standards and Technology, after approval by the Secretary of
Commerce pursuant to Section 5131 of the Information Technology Manage-
ment Reform Act of 1996 and the Computer Security Act of 1987, Public 
Law 104-106.  Areas shown as counties include those designated as inde-
pendent cities in some jurisdictions and, in Alaska, those designated as 
census areas where counties have not been created.  County data also are 
presented for the New England states for comparative purposes even though 
townships are the more common designation used in New England (and New 
Jersey).  The regions referred to in this release are defined as census 

Additional statistics and other information

   An annual bulletin, Employment and Wages, features comprehensive infor-
mation by detailed industry on establishments, employment, and wages for
the nation and all states.  Employment and Wages Annual Averages, 2001
will be available for sale in late 2002 from the BLS Publications Sales
Center, P.O. Box 2145, Chicago, Illinois 60690.  News releases providing
2001 average annual pay data by state and industry and by metropolitan
areas also are available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Average
annual industry employment and pay data at the national, state, Conso-
lidated Metropolitan Statistical Area, Metropolitan Statistical Area,
and county levels are available upon request from the Division of Admin-
istrative Statistics and Labor Turnover, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC 20212, telephone 202-691-6567
(e-mail:  Also available from BLS is a news release 
of first quarter 2002 employment and wage data at the national industry
subsector level.  First quarter 2002 data at the state total level will 
be available on the BLS web site on November 22.
   Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired
individuals upon request.  Voice phone:  202-691-5200; TDD message referral
phone number:  1-800-877-8339.

Table of Contents

Last Modified Date: November 21, 2002