Getting County Data:
The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages Program

The Quarterly Census of Employment Wages (QCEW) provides some of the most detailed industry and establishment data available on the county level. QCEW is a federal-state cooperative program between the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. MERIC administers the QCEW program in Missouri.

The QCEW program provides data on monthly employment, total quarterly wages, taxable wages, employer contributions and other business identification information on employers that are liable under their respective state's Unemployment Insurance laws. The State of Missouri covers over 167,000 establishments, 2.6 million employees, and $91.6 billion in wages.

The QCEW Program is the best source of detailed establishment data at the county level. The program serves as a near census of monthly employment and quarterly wage information by 6-digit North American Industry Classification System (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 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics policy, data provided to BLS 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. To preserve the anonymity of establishments, BLS withholds publication of data for any geographic industry level in which there are fewer than three firms or in which the employment of a single firm accounts for over 80 percent of the industry. On the BLS website, 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.

The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages is a valuable program both for the data it directly provides and for other programs and data sets that use QCEW information.

QCEW figures serve as a sample frame and benchmark to establishment-based statistical surveys, such as the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program, and are a major input into personal income statistics and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) produced by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

MERIC uses data from the QCEW program to produce a variety of reports and publications, including Industry Analyses, reports on Missouri Business Size and much more. Data from the QCEW program can be found on the MERIC website.



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