United States - Primary Industries Employment

United States: Primary Industries Employment

Mnemonic EPRI.IUSA
Unit #, NSA
Adjustments Not Seasonally Adjusted
Monthly 0.46 %
Data Sep 2022 1,362,871
Aug 2022 1,356,616

Series Information

Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Release Census of Employment & Wages (QCEW)
Frequency Quarterly
Start Date 1/31/1990
End Date 9/30/2022

United States: Labor

Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Labor Force Feb 2023 166,251 165,832 Ths. #, SA Monthly
Labor Force Employment Feb 2023 160,315 160,138 Ths. #, SA Monthly
Manufacturing Employment Feb 2023 12,983 12,987 Ths. #, SA Monthly
Total Employment Non-Ag Feb 2023 155,350 155,039 Ths. #, SA Monthly
Unemployment Feb 2023 5,936 5,694 Ths. #, SA Monthly
Unemployment Rate Feb 2023 3.6 3.4 %, SA Monthly
Wage & Salaries 2022 Q4 11,552,540 11,361,026 Mil. USD, SAAR Quarterly
Primary Industries Employment Sep 2022 1,362,871 1,356,616 #, NSA Monthly
Agriculture Employment 2016 2,702,095 2,674,749 # Annual

Release Information

For the U.S., the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW, formerly known as the ES-202) Program is a cooperative program involving the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor and the State Employment Security Agencies (SESAs). The QCEW program produces a comprehensive tabulation of employment and wage information for workers covered by state unemployment insurance (UI) laws and federal workers covered by the Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) program.

Data include the number of establishments, monthly employment, and quarterly wages, by NAICS industry, by county, by ownership sector, for the entire United States. These data are aggregated to annual levels, to higher industry levels (NAICS industry groups, sectors, and supersectors), and to higher geographic levels (national, state, and metropolitan statistical area (MSA)).


  • Concepts: Establishments, employment, wages, taxes
  • Industry classification: NAICS to six digits
  • Measurements:
    • Unitary count (#)
    • Thousands of U.S. dollars (Ths. USD)
  • Adjustments:
    • Calendar day adjusted and seasonally adjusted (CDASA)
    • Seasonally adjusted (SA)
    • Not seasonally adjusted (NSA)
  • Native frequencies:
    • Monthly
    • Quarterly
    • Annual
  • Start date: As early as 1975m1
  • Geo coverage:
    • Country (IUSA)
    • Census regons (C^^R) and divisions (C^^^)
    • States and equivalents (^^) incl. DC, PR, VI
    • Metro areas under Census 2010 delineations
      • MSAs (IUSA_M^^^)
      • Metro divisions (IUSA_DM^^^)
      • Micropolitan areas (IUSA_O^^^)
      • Combined statistical areas (IUSA_CS^^^)
      • Aggregates (US_MET, US_NMET)
    • Counties (aannn)


  • SIC

The QCEW program serves as a near-census of monthly employment and quarterly wage information by 6-digit 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.

What are "wages"? Total compensation paid during the calendar quarter, regardless of when services were performed. Included are pay for vacation and other paid leave, bonuses, stock options, tips, the cash value of meals and lodging, and in some states, contributions to deferred compensation plans (such as 401(k) plans).

Who is counted? Employment data under the QCEW program represent the number of covered workers who worked during, or received pay for, the pay period including the 12th of the month.

Who is excluded? Members of the armed forces, the self-employed, proprietors, domestic workers, unpaid family workers, and railroad workers covered by the railroad unemployment insurance system. QCEW has partial information on agricultural industries and employees in private households.

Why are there gaps? In accordance with BLS policy, data provided to the Bureau 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. 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.

For example, series XYSP52Q.MNEY (wages in NAICS industry 52, finance and insurance, in the New York MSA) has fewer gaps than XYSP523Q.MNEY (523, securities; commodity contracts; investments).  There are different gaps in XYSP52312Q for geos MNEY and MSAF.

Moody's Analytics supplements

Geo aggregates. Seasonal adjustment.

Revisions to the full previous year may occur with Q1 updates. 

Breaks may be introduced in the first quarter of every year due to industry re-classifications.

The data by size of establishment is only published with the first quarter of each year. Data is not available for intervening periods. Please note that the totals will not sum to the revised totals from the QCEW as size data are not revised.

The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program also produces data on establishments, employment, and wage by size of establishment for the first quarter of each year.   The size category of each establishment is determined by the March employment level. These size class data are available at the national level by 6-digit NAICS, and at the State level by NAICS sector. It is important to note that each establishment of a multi-establishment firm is tabulated separately into the appropriate size category. The total employment level of the reporting multi-establishment company is not used in the size tabulation.

The data by size of establishment is only published with the first quarter of each year.  Data is not available for intervening periods.  Please note that the totals will not sum to the revised totals from the QCEW.  This is due to the fact that the size data is not revised.

Some of the reported not seasonally adjusted wage data does not show a strong calendar trend. In these cases, the Moody’s Analytics supplements have been seasonally, but not calendar day adjusted as noted in the series metadata.


A number of other statistical data series are comparable in some respects to those provided in the QCEW program. These series all have certain applications, strengths, and shortcomings. They include the following:

Current Employment Statistics (CES)

The CES program uses a sample of over 350,000 establishments to provide current estimates of monthly nonfarm employment, average weekly hours, and average hourly and weekly earnings. Employment estimates derived from the CES are benchmarked primarily to QCEW records, which cover 98% of all nonfarm employees and 99% of those in the private nonfarm sector. For the remaining industries, the CES program uses other sources to estimate employment not covered by state UI laws.

The few industries not covered by QCEW because they are exempt from mandatory UI coverage include religious organizations, private schools, and interns and trainees in hospitals. The Bureau of Census, County Business Patterns, are used for these series.

Data for interstate railroads are obtained from the Interstate Commerce Commission. Federal Government employment series in the CES are a complete count provided monthly by the Office of Personnel Management.

The state and local government employment are supplemented as necessary with the Bureau of Census data derived from the Census of Governments for local elected officials and certain other groups. In addition to being both sample-based rather than a universe count and more current, the CES program differs from the QCEW program in that the CES provides paid hours and weighted weekly earning estimates for production workers in manufacturing and nonsupervisory workers in nonmanufacturing.

Current Population Survey (CPS)

The CPS is a sample survey of about 60,000 households selected to represent the entire civilian noninstitutional population and designed to measure overall employment, unemployment, and those not in the labor force. In terms of employment, the sample includes categories of workers which are entirely or partly excluded from the QCEW program: Certain farm and domestic workers, the self-employed, person working 15 hours or more in the survey week as unpaid workers in family-operated enterprises, employees of certain non-profit organizations, and railroad workers. The CPS also counts employees uncompensated because of temporary absence but excludes workers under 16 years old.

The CPS does not provide employment and wage data in the industrial detail available under the QCEW. As a household survey, its focus is on individuals, whereas establishment-based surveys such as the QCEW program focus on jobs.

County Business Patterns (CBP)

The CBP differs from the QCEW in the following major areas:

  • CBP data exclude administrative and auxiliary units from "operating" unit data at the 4-digit level and include these data at the industry division level only. QCEW covered employment, on the other hand, includes data for these units at the 4-digit SIC level.
  • Differences in the unit of industrial classification (establishment versus reporting unit).
  • CPB exclude agricultural production workers and household workers, some of whom are included in QCEW.
  • CBP also exclude government units, all of which are included in the QCEW program.
  • CBP include but the QCEW excludes small nonprofit organizations, certain religious organizations, and church-charted schools.
  • Every 5 years, data are collected for all multi-units within the scope of business and economic censuses and included in the CBP for that year. Annual updates for the large multi-units are obtained from the sample selected for the Report of Organization Survey, and data for nonsample multi-units are estimated. Annual updates for single units come from the IRS and the Social Security Administration. QCEW data, on the other hand, includes data collected from all active units each quarter.

BEA Employment

The BEA employment data are derived primarily from the 12-month average of the QCEW data. However, four major differences do exist. (Wallace Bailey of the BEA 202-606-5360):

  • Self-Employment. The QCEW does not make estimates for the number of self-employed. The BEA using IRS records estimates the number of FARM and NONFARM self-employed. The FARM self-employed are estimated by allocating the number of non-corporate FARMs at the State level to each county according to the share of non-corporate farms in the county to the total number of non-corporate farms in the state from the Census of Agriculture. The NONFARM self-employed are calculated from IRS records of Individual at Partnership tax returns.
  • Noncompliance (approximately 1-2% of employment). The QCEW makes no attempt to estimate the number of persons employed by firms that either do not file for UI coverage or who under-report their employment. These estimates are made at the national level from a study by the IRS on noncompliance and shared out to counties by industry.
  • Uncovered UI Industries. Certain industries are not covered by UI laws. The largest of these industries include Farm, Agricultural services, Private Households, religious institutions, interns and Railroads. Estimates from these industries are made from data from the Department of Agriculture, Economic Censuses and the Interstate Railroad Commission.
  • Non-civilian Military employment. The BEA collects data on those employed in the military from the Military services. Included are reserves who meet on a regular and frequent basis.