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Job Vacancy Survey Methodology

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Second Quarter 2019

Sample Design

Information on job vacancies for the second quarter 2019 Minnesota Job Vacancy Survey comes from a survey of 10,240 Minnesota firms. Surveyed employers were randomly selected from Minnesota's Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). These firms were selected from the universe of firms that were doing business in Minnesota during second quarter 2018. Firms were selected based on a sampling procedure that stratified by Economic Development Region, firm size (one to nine employees; 10 to 49 employees; 50 to 249 employees; and 250 employees or more), and 20 industrial sectors.

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




Firms engaged in growing crops, raising animals, harvesting timber, and harvesting fish and other animals from a farm, ranch, or their natural habitats.


Firms that extract naturally occurring mineral solids, such as coal and ores; liquid minerals, such as crude petroleum; and gasses, such as natural gas.


Firms engaged in the provision of the following utility services: electric power, natural gas, steam supply, water supply, and sewage removal.


Firms engaged in the construction of buildings and other structures, heavy construction, additions, alterations, reconstruction, installations, and maintenance and repairs.


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 and 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.


Firms engaged in the production, processing and distribution of information and cultural products.

Finance and Insurance

Firms engaged in financial transactions (including the creation, liquidation, or change in ownership of financial assets) and/or facilitating financial transactions.

Real Estate

Firms engaged in renting, leasing, or otherwise allowing for the use of tangible or intangible assets, and establishments providing related service.

Technical Services

Firms specializing in performing professional, scientific, and technical activities for others.


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.

Administrative and Support

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.


Firms providing healthcare and social assistance to individuals.

Arts and Entertainment

Firms engaged in providing services to meet the varied cultural, entertainment, and recreational interests of their patrons.


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: www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/ .

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 half of employers were sent letters and survey questionnaires during the quarter 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 4,037 firms in the sample. These tended to be the larger firms. Seventy-seven percent of raw (unweighted) openings were collected directly from employer websites and 23 percent were collected by mail, phone, fax or another method.

One drawback of website collection is that very few employers include wage offers on job postings. In order to supplement our wage offer data collection, we sent a survey to just over 1,000 firms. The survey listed the job vacancies that we had obtained from their website and requested that they provide wage offers (or ranges) for each position. As a result, 40 percent of the raw unweighted vacancies had wage offers reported. We plan to continue this wage survey in subsequent rounds.

Following a review of the survey results and coding to an occupational (SOC) category (see section on SOC coding below), the data were scaled to produce estimates representative of Minnesota's labor market by Economic Development 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.

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.

Finally, 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 percent 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. This had the result of increasing the median wage from $12.00 to $13.14 during the fourth quarter of 2012 round.

At this time, all estimates have been revised for all years available on our website.

For more information, please call Oriane Casale in the Labor Market Information Office at 651-259-7383 or e-mail oriane.casale@state.mn.us

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

A total of 20,611 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. The 2010 SOC structure used in this study 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 2010 SOC is a four-tiered structure with 840 detailed occupations that can be summarized into 461 broad occupations, 97 minor occupational groups, and 23 major occupational groups. 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:




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


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, and Personal and Home Care Aides

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


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 a total of 482 detailed occupational codes. Not all of these are published: Three firms must be represented in a cell to meet publication criteria.

Internships were coded to 910000 and apprenticeships to 920000, neither of which are SOC codes but simply a way to separate out internships and apprenticeships from other jobs. To be considered a job vacancy, these postings had to indicate that the position was paid.

For more information on the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) System, see the SOC Web page at: www.bls.gov/soc/.

Occupational Employment Estimates

The Local Employment and Wage Information System (LEWIS) provides occupational employment estimates for the state of Minnesota and its 13 Economic Development Regions. LEWIS uses the results of the annual Occupational Employment Survey (OES) 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 75.3 percent. Survey response rates were above 65 percent in each strata.

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