Department of Labor and Regulation

Title - Labor Market Information Center

Covered Workers & Pay - Technical Notes

Covered workers are employed at firms covered by South Dakota unemployment insurance (UI) law and the Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) program. Covered workers include employees who are paid a wage or salary during the year; it excludes the self-employed and unpaid family workers. Wage and salaried workers are covered regardless of type of ownership; employees working at privately owned businesses and federal, state and local government agencies are all included.

However, not all employees are covered workers. South Dakota wage and salaried workers not covered by South Dakota unemployment insurance law include railroad employees, government elected officials, election workers, work-study students and religious organization employees. (Some religious organizations may opt to provide unemployment insurance coverage to their employees and are included in the published data.)

Nonprofit organizations may or may not be covered by unemployment insurance; it depends upon whether or not they meet specific employment requirements. Smaller businesses may also be exempted from coverage if they do not meet unemployment insurance law minimum payroll and employment criteria. Businesses who hire only a few workers on a part-time or seasonal basis make up a large part of the exempted group.

Each employer in South Dakota who is covered by unemployment insurance is assigned an industry classification and a county code. The industry classification is determined by the business activity and type of ownership and the county code is determined by worksite location (store, branch, office, etc.).

Covered worker data includes businesses in both the agricultural and non-agricultural industries. For example, farms and ranches would be included in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry. Of course, only the larger farms and ranches employing year-around workers would be covered.

Covered worker data is based on unemployment insurance reports submitted by South Dakota employers and data gathered by the LMIC in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The LMIC collects covered worker data as part of the national Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program. Although the unemployment insurance reports are based on employer serial number, the LMIC gathers additional data by establishment. A covered employer could include one or more establishments, conducting business at different worksite locations. Each establishment is given an industry and county code.

The covered worker data is a great source of information for several reasons. First, it provides a lot of industry data, because it covers almost all industries and data is collected by individual establishment. Confidentiality laws restrict the publication of individual employer data, but a great deal of information by industry can be published. In addition, covered workers represent almost all wage and salaried workers. It is basically a universe of all wage and salaried workers. Thus, covered workers provide very solid information on worker and industry trends.

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Marcia Hultman, Secretary
700 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501-2291
Tel. 605.773.3101
Fax. 605.773.6184