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Mar 14 -- The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor, invites comments to OMB by April 15, 2024 regarding the continuation of the Annual Refiling Survey.

The Annual Refiling Survey (ARS) is used in conjunction with the Unemployment Insurance tax reporting system in each State. The primary purpose of the ARS is to verify or to correct the North American Industry Classification System code assigned to establishments as well as to obtain accurate mailing and physical location addresses of establishments. As a result, changes in the industrial and geographical compositions of the economy are captured in a timely manner and reflected in the BLS statistical programs. Federal, State, and local government officials as well as private researchers depend on accurate geographical and industrial coding based on the 2017 North American Industry Classification System Manual. BLS routinely shares NAICS codes with the Census Bureau to improve consistency, reduce costs and burden, and improve the accuracy of their products.

The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program is a Federal/State cooperative effort that compiles monthly employment data, quarterly wages data, and business identification information from employers subject to state Unemployment Insurance (UI) laws. These data are collected from state Quarterly Contribution Reports (QCRs) submitted to State Workforce Agencies (SWAs). Similar data for Federal Government employees covered by the Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) Program are also included in each state report. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands submit microlevel employment and wages data, supplemented with the names, addresses, and business identification information of these employers to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS then summarizes these data to produce totals for the Nation, states, Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSAs) and counties. These data are used to create the BLS sampling frame and constitute the longitudinal QCEW data.

The QCEW program is a comprehensive and accurate source of monthly employment and quarterly wages data, by industry, at the national, state, MSA, and county levels. Several states publish QCEW data at the city or town level. The QCEW Report, produced for each calendar quarter, provides a virtual census of nonagricultural employees and their wages, with approximately 52 percent of the workers in agriculture covered as well. As the most complete universe of monthly employment and quarterly wages information by industry and detailed geography, QCEW data are used in evaluating labor trends and major and detailed industry developments, conducting time-series analyses and industry comparisons, and conducting special studies such as analyses of wages by size of establishment and firm.

The QCEW program provides data necessary to both the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and the states in administering the Employment Security Program. These data accurately reflect the extent of coverage of the state UI laws and are used to measure UI revenues and disbursements; national, state, and local area employment; and total and taxable wages trends. The information is also used in actuarial studies, experience rating determination, maximum benefit level determination, Federal assistance determination, and UI fund solvency. To ensure the continued accuracy of these published economic statistics, the information supplied by the employers must be reviewed and updated periodically.

There are nearly 11.7 million establishments on the QCEW file. These establishments cover all civilian employers (except interstate railroads) and some agricultural, domestic, and charitable organization employers. BLS intends to continue its review of private sector employers' North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes and geographic codes on a three-year cycle. Government establishments are not reviewed routinely. Each year, approximately one-third of private sector establishments are reviewed and updated, if necessary. Customarily, the BLS-3023 forms, collectively known as Annual Refiling Survey (ARS) forms, have been used in conjunction with the UI tax reporting system in each state. As a result, changes in the industrial and geographical compositions of our economy are captured in a timely manner and reflected in the BLS statistical programs.

This survey is authorized by Federal law 29 U.S.C. 2 and Section 15 of the Wagner-Peyser Act. Although employer cooperation is not required by Federal law, twenty-nine states and two territories have laws that make completion of the ARS mandatory. Establishments in the survey are selected across industries using the seventh and eight digits of the Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) in order to maintain balanced panels. In year one, units in the range 00-33 are surveyed. In year two, units in the range 34-66 are surveyed. Finally, units in the range 67-99 are surveyed in year three. For establishments that have no EIN on record, selection will be based on a range of digits within the establishment's UI account number. Establishments classified in Public Administration (NAICS Sector 92) and the United States Postal Service (NAICS 491110) are not surveyed. In addition, single establishments classified as private households (NAICS 814110) are not surveyed. Finally, multi-unit establishments classified as Professional Employer Organizations (NAICS 561330) are not surveyed because establishment level industry information is requested quarterly through the Multiple Worksite Report.

ARS: https://www.bls.gov/respondents/ars/
BLS submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202401-1220-002 Click IC List for information collection instrument, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2024-05360

For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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