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Employment in industries covered by the UI programs

The estimates of about 95 percent of wage and salary employment are derived from tabulations by the state employment security agencies (ESAs) from their state employment security reports (form ES-202). These tabulations summarize the data from the quarterly UI contribution reports filed with a state ESA by the employers subject to that state's UI laws. Employers usually submit reports for each operating establishment, classified by county and industry. However, in some cases, an employer may group very small establishments in a single "statewide" report without county designation. Each quarter, the various state ESAs submit the ES-202 tabulations to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides the data to BEA as the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). The tabulations present monthly employment and quarterly wages for each county in Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) four-digit detail up through 2000. Data for 2001 and later are provided in North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)four-digit and five-digit industry detail.

BEA adds several million administrative records received from the states and the District of Columbia to its database annually. The records are checked for major errors by several computerized edit routines. One edit routine analyzes the current quarter county data for invalid SIC four-digit codes or invalid NAICS codes, duplicate records, and records that contain no data. Another edit routine calculates expected county-level average employment and average wage estimates on a quarterly basis at the three-digit SIC level or NAICS industry group, based on percentage changes for that quarter in the previous two years. If the difference between the actual numbers and the estimated numbers exceeds established limits, the record is identified for further review. Anomalies that remain unreconciled after reviewing comments and other supporting data are referred back to BLS for further investigation.

The basic procedure for preparing the local area estimates of wage and salary employment for each UI-covered industry is to average the 12 monthly QCEW employment observations and to allocate the higher level geographic total in proportion to the averaged series. However, QCEW employment does not precisely meet the statistical and conceptual requirements for BEA's employment estimates. Consequently, the data must be adjusted to meet the requirements more closely. The necessary adjustments affect both the industrial and geographic patterns of county employment.