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Job Vacancy Survey Methodology

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2023 Methodology

Sample Design

Information on job vacancies for 2023 Minnesota Job Vacancy Survey comes from a survey of 6,996 Minnesota firms and was gathered over two rounds, during second quarter and fourth quarters of 2023. This is a new implementation design that limits publication to once a year, while at the same time allowing us to obtain the data we need to maintain the data series at the level of detail that we’ve published since 2001.

Surveyed employers were randomly selected from Minnesota's Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), which is the universe of firms that were doing business in Minnesota during fourth quarter 2022. Firms were selected based on a sampling procedure that stratified by Planning Region, firm size (1 to 9 employees; 10 to 49 employees; 50 to 249 employees; and 250 employees or more), and 20 industrial sectors.

These 20 major industrial sectors, defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), are represented in the survey sample as shown in the table below:

NAICS Industry Industry Description
Agriculture, Forestry, Fish & Hunt Firms engaged in growing crops, raising animals, harvesting timber, and harvesting fish and other animals from a farm, ranch, or their natural habitats.
Mining Firms that extract naturally occurring mineral solids, such as coal and ores; liquid minerals, such as crude petroleum; and gasses, such as natural gas.
Utilities Firms engaged in the provision of the following utility services: electric power, natural gas, steam supply, water supply, and sewage removal.
Construction Firms engaged in the construction of buildings and other structures, heavy construction, additions, alterations, reconstruction, installations, and maintenance and repairs.
Manufacturing Firms engaged in the mechanical, physical, or chemical transformation of materials, substances, or components into new products.
Wholesale Trade Firms engaged in wholesale merchandising, generally without transformation, and rendering services incidental to the sale of merchandise.
Retail Trade Firms engaged in retailing merchandise, generally without transformation, and rendering services incidental to the sale of merchandise.
Transportation & Warehousing Firms engaged in the transportation of passengers and cargo, warehousing and storage for goods, scenic and sightseeing transportation, and support activities related to modes of transportation.
Information Firms engaged in the production, processing and distribution of information and cultural products.
Finance & Insurance Firms engaged in financial transactions (including the creation, liquidation, or change in ownership of financial assets) and/or facilitating financial transactions.
Real Estate, Rental & Leasing Firms engaged in renting, leasing, or otherwise allowing for the use of tangible or intangible assets, and establishments providing related service.
Professional & Technical Services Firms specializing in performing professional, scientific, and technical activities for others.
Management of Companies Firms who hold the securities of companies and enterprises for the purpose of controlling interest or influencing management decisions or who administer, oversee, and manage the company in a strategic, organizational, or decision-making role.
Admin. Support & Waste Mgmt. Svcs. Firms providing routine support activities for the day-to-day operations of other organizations.
Educational Services Firms providing instruction and training on a wide variety of subjects.
Health Care & Social Assistance Firms providing healthcare and social assistance to individuals.
Arts, Entertainment & Recreation Firms engaged in providing services to meet the varied cultural, entertainment, and recreational interests of their patrons.
Accommodation & Food Services Firms providing customers with lodging and/or preparation of meals, snacks and beverages for immediate consumption.
Other Services Firms engaged in providing services not specifically provided for elsewhere in the classification system.
Public Administration Federal, state and/or local agencies that administer, oversee, and manage public programs and have executive, legislative, or judicial authority over other institutions in a given area.

Source: North American Industry Classification System, United States. NAICS Web page:

Firms excluded from the sampling process included those in private households and personnel service industries and those firms with no employees.

Survey Instrument, Procedure and Results

Contact information, firm size, and industry classification for firms were drawn from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) data maintained by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Additional contact information was obtained through telephone calls and websites.

About 20% of employers were sent survey questionnaires by mail during the one of the two quarters of the survey and asked to supply information on current job vacancies including rates of pay, education and experience requirements, and benefits. Firms without job vacancies were also asked to return the survey reporting "no vacancies". Additional survey mailings and follow-up telephone calls were used to solicit survey responses.

Data was collected by staff directly from firm websites for about 68% of firms in the sample. This data was collected by hand directly from firm websites. The remainder of the responses, about 12%, was collected using web scraping technology and then edited by hand to ensure data quality. The firms for which data was collected from websites tended to be the larger firms in the sample.

Following a review of the survey results and coding to an occupational category using SOC 2018 (see section on SOC coding below), the data were scaled to produce estimates representative of Minnesota's labor market by Planning Region. The scaling process takes account of the distribution of job vacancies and overall employment by industry and size in the respondent group and in the universe of regional employers.

Breaks in Series and Re-estimation Processes

In second quarter 2005, we changed the regional stratification from Planning Regions to Economic Development Regions (EDR). Since the estimation method did not change and Planning Region level data are still produced, comparisons to previous rounds remain valid. In the second quarter of 2020, we changed the regional stratification back to Planning Regions.

Starting with the second quarter of 2007 survey round, we made some slight adjustments to the classification of the "very small" and "small" size classes. The "very small" size class was altered to include companies with one to nine employees, where before it included only employers with one to four employees. The "small" size class was adjusted to include only those companies with 10 to 49 employees. This change was made to better group smaller companies that have similar hiring practices. This change does produce a break in the time series for these size classifications.

Due to changes in methodology made for the fourth quarter of the 2001 survey round, comparisons of estimated job vacancies to the fourth quarter of 2000 and second quarter of 2001 rounds should be made with caution. In order to make any comparisons between all rounds of the survey, job vacancy totals from fourth quarter 2000 and second quarter 2001 were re-estimated. Comparisons of job vacancy totals in the Minnesota Job Vacancy Survey report use the re-estimated job vacancy totals and not the estimated job vacancies reported in the fourth quarter of 2000 and second quarter 2001 Minnesota Job Vacancy Survey reports.

In fourth quarter 2012 we made changes to the estimation process in response to an analysis conducted by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve in 2011 which showed that wage estimates probably understate wage offers in the population of job vacancies. The study found that our method of collecting some job vacancies on-line leads to a systematic underreporting of wages. This is due to the fact that fewer than 20% of job postings available on-line report wage offers and the job vacancies collected on-line tend to be the higher skill/wage vacancies (on-line collection tends to be done for the largest firms including headquarters, colleges and universities and hospitals, for example). Their recommendation was to impute wage offers.

In response, we are now imputing wage offers for all reported vacancies where wages are missing. We are also imputing education, experience, and benefits offered where they are missing. At this time, all estimates have been revised for all years available on our website.

Finally, in the second quarter of 2020, we changed the regional stratification back from Economic Development Regions to Planning Regions. Since the estimation method did not change and Planning Region level data are still produced, comparisons to previous rounds remain valid.

For more information, please call Oriane Casale in the Labor Market Information Office at 651-259-7383 or e-mail

Matching Job Titles to the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) System

Over 35,000 specific open-for-hire job titles were collected through the data collection process. Analysts reviewed these job titles and matched them to appropriate Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) titles. Also starting in the second quarter of 2020, the 2018 SOC structure was used in this study. The 2018 SOC Code structure is a set of six-digit occupational codes that is currently being used by a number of different agencies, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of the Census, to classify occupations.

The 2018 SOC is a four-tiered structure. For the purpose of this study, occupational information is presented at both the major occupational group and detailed occupational levels. Major occupational groups include the following:

Major Occupational Group Sample Occupations
Management Educational Administrators, Marketing Managers, and Medical and Health Service Managers
Business and Financial Operations Accountants, Financial Analysts, and Human Resource Specialists
Computer and Mathematical Actuaries, Computer Programmers, and Computer Support Specialists
Architecture and Engineering Architects, Chemical Engineers, and Drafters
Life, Physical and Social Science Anthropologists, Chemists, and Geographers
Community and Social Service Clergy, Health Educators, and Marriage and Family Therapists
Legal Court Reporters, Lawyers, and Paralegals
Education, Training and Library Librarians, Post-secondary Teachers, and Special Education Teachers
Art, Design, Entertainment Sports and Media Coaches, Producers and Directors, and Radio Operators
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Dentists, Physicians, and Registered Nurses
Healthcare Support Dental Assistants, Home Health Aides, and Pharmacy Aides
Protective Service Animal Control Workers, Detectives, and Police Officers
Food Preparation and Serving Related Cooks, Food Preparation Workers, and Waiters and Waitresses
Building, Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Housekeeping Cleaners, Janitors, and Pest Control Workers
Personal Care and Service Child Care Workers, Hairdressers and Hairstylists
Sales and Related Cashiers, Insurance Sales Agents, and Retail Salespersons
Office and Administrative Support Customer Service Representatives, Tellers, and Secretaries
Farming, Fishing and Forestry Agricultural Inspectors, Animal Breeders, and Farmers
Construction and Extraction Construction Laborers, Carpenters, and Electricians
Installation, Maintenance and Repair Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, Motorcycle Mechanics, and Millwrights
Production Butchers and Meat Cutters, Foundry Mold and Coremakers, and Machinists
Transportation and Material Moving Airline Pilots, Bus Drivers, and Truck Drivers

In matching employer job titles to detailed occupational SOC codes and titles, analysts were careful to match vague titles, such as "Laborer", to appropriate codes by examining industry, wage, education and experience information provided by employers and when necessary looking back at on-line job postings for more detail. As a result of this process, job vacancies for this round are reported in more than 450 occupational codes. Not all of these are published: Three firms must be represented in a cell to meet publication criteria.

For more information on the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) System, see the SOC Web page at:

Occupational Employment Estimates

The Local Employment and Wage Information System (LEWIS) provides occupational employment estimates for the state of Minnesota and its 6 Planning Regions. LEWIS uses the results of the annual Occupational Employment & Wage Statistics (OEWS) in the calculation of employment within occupational groups and detailed occupations for user-defined areas such as the state, Greater Minnesota, and the Twin Cities seven-county metropolitan area.

Survey Response Rates

The overall survey response rate for this round is 92.4%, or 6,437 of 6,966 total firms sampled. The following tables provide response rates by survey strata.

Survey Response Rates by Firm Size and Industry for Minnesota

Size of Firm Sample Received Response Rate
Very Small (1 to 9 employees) 1,152 1,020 88.54%
Small (10 to 49 employees) 1,799 1,562 86.83%
Medium (50 to 249 employees) 2,620 2,469 94.24%
Large (250 or more employees) 1,395 1,386 99.35%
Region Sample Received Response Rate
Central 928 884 95.26%
Northeast 534 478 89.51%
Northwest 917 859 93.68%
Southeast 590 533 90.34%
Southwest 740 688 92.97%
Twin Cities Metro Area 3,257 2,995 91.96%
Industry Sample Received Response Rate
Agriculture & Forestry 145 126 86.90%
Mining 98 93 94.90%
Utilities 138 136 98.55%
Construction 262 232 88.55%
Manufacturing 603 572 94.86%
Wholesale Trade 269 253 94.05%
Retail Trade 788 743 94.29%
Transportation & Warehousing 302 280 92.72%
Information 185 181 97.84%
Finance & Insurance 240 233 97.08%
Real Estate, Rental & Leasing 133 122 91.73%
Professional & Technical Services 389 370 95.12%
Management of Companies 213 208 97.65%
Admin. Support & Waste Management Services 277 249 89.89%
Educational Services 349 341 97.71%
Health Care & Social Assistance 1,198 1,068 89.15%
Arts, Entertainment & Recreation 225 208 92.44%
Accommodation & Food Services 657 551 83.87%
Other Services 209 186 89.00%
Public Administration 286 285 99.65%
Total 6,966 6,437 92.41%
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