Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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South Dakota e-Labor Bulletin

December 2017

The Bureau of Labor Statistics: Celebrating 75 Years of Federal-State Cooperation

The Labor Market Information Center (LMIC) is helping the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) celebrate a milestone this year – 75 years of state and federal collaboration in providing statistical data to the public. The LMIC cooperates with BLS to develop statistics through four programs.

Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

LAUS provides monthly estimates of total employment and unemployment for approximately 7,500 areas:

  • Census regions and divisions
  • States
  • Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) and Metropolitan New England City and Town Areas (NECTAS)
  • Metropolitan Divisions and NECTA Divisions
  • Micropolitan Statistical Areas and Micropolitan NECTAs
  • Combined Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Combined NECTAs
  • Small Labor Market Areas
  • Counties and county equivalents
  • Cities of 25,000 population or more
  • Cities and towns in New England regardless of population

These estimates are key indicators of local economic conditions. State and local governments use the estimates for planning and budgetary purposes and to determine the need for local employment and training services. Private industry, researchers, the media and other individuals use the data to assess localized labor market developments and make comparisons across areas.

The LAUS program is what makes possible the South Dakota labor force data available through the LMIC website and several tables of data published in the monthly South Dakota e-Labor Bulletin. The menu page of the LMIC website that serves as the entry point to labor force data is visited more than 3,000 times a year.

The concepts and definitions underlying LAUS data come from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the household survey that is the source of the national unemployment rate. State monthly model-based estimates are controlled in "real time" to sum to national monthly employment and unemployment estimates from the CPS. These models combine current and historical data from the CPS, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey and state unemployment insurance systems. More information about the LAUS program is available on the BLS website.

Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW)

The QCEW program produces a quarterly count of employment and wages reported by employers liable for covering their employees with unemployment insurance. It accounts for more than 95 percent of U.S. jobs. The data is available at the county, MSA, state and national level. The powerful QCEW data set provides employment and wage data available by industry, area and employer size class through the LMIC website. The table of annualized pay data included in each month’s e-Labor Bulletin also comes from the QCEW program.

Nationally, data classified using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) are available from 1990 forward, and on a more limited basis from 1975 to 1989. Data classified using the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system are available from 1975 through 2000. NAICS-based data files from 1990 to 2000 were reconstructed from data classified under the former Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system. NAICS-based data files from 1975 to 1989 contain only totals by ownership. More information on the QCEW program is available on the BLS website.

Current Employment Statistics (CES)

This program is a nationwide monthly payroll survey of business establishments. CES provides current estimates of employment, hour, and earnings by industry and area detail for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each month, CES surveys approximately 147,000 businesses and government agencies, representing approximately 634,000 individual worksites.

Survey sampling, data collection and estimation for the CES program transitioned from state workforce agencies to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) beginning with preliminary estimates for March 2011. However, it remains a federal-state cooperative program in many respects, with the states reviewing and providing feedback on estimates, providing BLS with ongoing input on events and occurrences impacting the state’s industries.

The CES program makes possible the South Dakota nonfarm worker data available through the LMIC website and several tables of data published in the e-Labor Bulletin. Nationally, the CES program provides additional data on the manufacturing industry, including data on production and nonsupervisory worker levels with a breakout on women employees, as well as average hourly earnings, average weekly hours and average weekly overtime hours for both all employees and production and nonsupervisory employees. Employment data by aggregate industry sector and most major industry sectors are published as far back as 1939. More information on the CES program is available on the BLS website.

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The OES program produces employment and wage estimates annually for more than 800 occupations. OES estimates are available for the nation, individual states, and metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. National occupational estimates for specific industries are also available. These are estimates of the number of jobs in certain occupations, and estimates of the wages paid. Wage estimates for each occupation include a mean (or average) and median wage, as well as 10th, 25th, 75th and 90th percentile wage estimates. The OES program is what makes possible the availability of the popular and widely used occupational wage estimates on the LMIC website. The menu page where LMIC website users access occupational wage data is visited more than 5,700 times a year. More information on the OES program is available on the BLS website.

Funding for the BLS programs have steadily decreased over the years as the federal budget has been tightened, and technological advances have made it possible to collect, tabulate, analyze and publish the data more efficiently.

Overviews of each of these four state-federal cooperative programs can be found on the LMIC website.

More information regarding the history of the BLS is available on their website through the links below.

The First Hundred Years of the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

BLS 50th Anniversary:

Overview of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: