Quality of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Business Establishment List as a Sampling Frame

Michael A. Searson


The Business Establishment List (BEL) is one of the outputs of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Covered Employment and Wages (ES-202) program. The ES-202 program is a Federal/State statistical program managed by BLS and the State Employment Security Agencies (SESA) in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The BEL is used as the sampling frame for most of the BLS' programs. Nationwide, in 1996, Federal and State Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs covered 118 million full- and part-time workers who received $3.42 trillion in pay. ES-202 program data were collected for approximately 7.2 million employer establishments in 1996. The BEL is the most complete and timely source of business establishment information used as a sampling frame. The SESAs conduct four principal ES-202 program activities: data collection; assigning industrial and geographical codes; periodic review of these codes including review of the business identification information (names, addresses, etc.); and, micro/macro data editing. The SESAs submit both micro-level data (Quarterly Unemployment Insurance Name and Address File-QUI) and macro-level data (ES-202 Report) to BLS. The QUI is an input to the BEL.