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Featuring the QCEW

by Brent Pearson
May 2014

Last January, we premiered the new series entitled, "Featuring the QCEW" in which we provided some historical background for the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) Labor Market Information (LMI) data tool. This month's column will highlight the data elements contained in the QCEW and practical uses for them.

The QCEW provides a comprehensive view of labor market economies (approximately 97 percent of all jobs are covered under UI) by industry. As a census of employment, its usefulness extends well beyond generating new LMI tools. Anyone with a need for labor market information can use the QCEW for analysis. How many jobs and employers are in a given region? What are some of the highest paying industries? How do these regions compare with neighboring municipalities, counties, states, and the national? What is the percentage of public and private jobs and establishments? The QCEW answers all these questions and more.

Table 1 is an example of the power of the QCEW. Using the data it provides, we can examine Minnesota's labor market, private jobs by employment share, employer share, and average weekly wage, and compare it nationally - a simple analysis with long-term planning possibilities.

Table 1: Percentage Private Employment by Industry Sector (3rd Quarter, 2013)

Industry

Percentage Employment

Percentage Establishment

Average Weekly Wage

U.S.

MN

U.S.

MN

U.S.

MN

Total, All Industries

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

$914

$944

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting

1.2%

0.9%

1.1%

1.6%

$555

$587

Mining

0.7%

0.3%

0.4%

0.1%

$1,765

$1,591

Construction

5.3%

4.8%

8.3%

10.2%

$1,005

$1,087

Manufacturing

10.6%

13.1%

3.7%

5.1%

$1,125

$1,145

Utilities

0.5%

0.6%

0.2%

0.3%

$1,676

$1,702

Wholesale Trade

5.1%

5.6%

6.9%

8.6%

$1,261

$1,426

Retail Trade

13.2%

12.2%

11.6%

12.1%

$534

$501

Transportation and Warehousing

3.7%

3.1%

2.5%

2.9%

$891

$866

Information

2.4%

2.3%

1.6%

2.1%

$1,622

$1,242

Finance and Insurance

4.9%

5.9%

5.2%

5.8%

$1,507

$1,544

Real Estate and Rental and Leasing

1.8%

1.7%

3.9%

4.0%

$896

$972

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

7.1%

5.7%

12.1%

12.4%

$1,528

$1,560

Management of Companies and Enterprises

1.8%

3.3%

0.7%

0.8%

$1,864

$2,068

Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services

7.4%

5.8%

5.5%

5.0%

$656

$613

Educational Services

2.2%

1.9%

1.2%

1.4%

$909

$752

Health Care and Social Assistance

15.4%

17.9%

15.2%

8.8%

$858

$850

Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

2.0%

1.9%

1.4%

1.8%

$595

$546

Accommodation and Food Services

10.9%

9.3%

7.3%

7.2%

$351

$305

Other Services (except Public Administration)

3.7%

3.7%

8.9%

9.7%

$623

$553

Source: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW)

While employment and employers are two key measures of local labor economies, total wages create another measure of a labor market. In addition to contributing to the tax base of a given region, analyzing total wages offers an alternative to simple job counts in that it shows which specific industries pumped the most payroll dollars into the local economy. For a deeper dive, we can also use the QCEW data to show the annual average of total wages for all employment in a given region, both public and private, across all NAICS sectors dating back to 2000.

As an analytical tool, the QCEW is one of the leading public LMI datasets. It has, however, some limitations which we will discuss in a future article. Future articles will also touch on some of the more advanced features of the QCEW and a few analytical tips that will allow the user to identify industry clusters and concentration.

So, what are some of the major industries in your region? Head to DEED's QCEW page and begin using the QCEW data tool at: mn.gov/deed/qcew.

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