Program Descriptions

Program Descriptions

This area provides a short description of the following programs and data elements. Links are also provided for those who would like more detailed descriptions.

Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW/ES-202)

The QCEW program is a comprehensive and accurate source of employment and wage data, by industry, at the national, State, and county levels. It provides a virtual census of nonagricultural employees and their wages. In addition, about 47 percent of all workers in agricultural industries are covered. Jobs that are exempt or not covered by UI law are not included in tabulations. Data collected by the program are used as a sampling frame for other BLS surveys and as an input to other Federal and State programs. The data play a central role in monitoring the economy, and are used to evaluate labor trends, time series analysis, industry developments and comparisons, and in studies of employment growth and wages by size of establishment. The program similarly provides data necessary for UI reporting and administration of the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) program.

Cautionary note to users: - The data reported on WORKnet may not match the information posted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as they continue to process the data after we publish. Comparisons between Wisconsin and other states should use the information from BLS at

Long Description

Contact: Sarah Hoffman - (608) 267-2424
Contact: Richard Krause - (608) 267-3513

Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW / ES202) Query

Current Employment Statistics (CES)

In cooperation with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the State of Wisconsin conducts the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey to collect data each month on employment, hours, and earnings from a sample of nonfarm establishments (including government). The survey is often called the establishment survey or payroll survey. The sample includes about 9,500 reporting units in Wisconsin. From these data, employment, hours, and earnings estimates are produced for various industry detail at the state and the major metropolitan statistical area level. The data are published each month and are considered one of the earliest indicators of the state's economic health in terms of employment.

Cautionary note to users: 11/18/2010 - New methodological procedures by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) require state employment estimates to be in closer alignment with the national estimate. This results in increased volatility in employment statistics from month to month.

Long Description

Contact: - Andrea Gabel - (608) 266-6775

Current Employment Statistics (CES) Query

Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)

The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program develops monthly estimates of the labor force, employment, unemployment, and unemployment rates for the State of Wisconsin, all counties, Workforce Development Areas, Small Labor Market Areas, Metropolitan Divisions, Combined Statistical Areas, Metropolitan Statistical Areas, and cities with a population of at least 25,000 people.

In Wisconsin, data are produced using models, which combine current and historical data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program, the state Unemployment Insurance (UI) system, the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program, and the Decennial Census.

Current LAUS estimates serve a variety of functions. For example, they are used as a basis for allocating Federal funds, as an indication of need for employment and training programs, and as a tool for planning and budgetary purposes.

Long Description

Contact: Heather Thompson - (608) 267-5053

Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) Query

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey is a joint effort of the U.S. Departmentof Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. The survey attempts to determine the occupations that are in demand, the number of employees in each occupation, and the wages paid to employees in those occupations. The survey generates estimates of the mean wage, the median wage, the 10th percentile wage, the 25th percentile wage, the 75th percentile wage and the 90th percentile wage for about 800 occupations. Separate wage and employment estimates are published for the state, for each of the 13 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in Wisconsin and for each of the four Balance of State(BOS) areas.

In 2004, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) redefined many of the nation’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA). At that time, they also gave states the opportunity to redefine their Balance of State (BOS) areas. These areas consist of counties that are not part of an MSA. Wisconsin has defined four such areas, the maximum allowed. The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program implemented these changes with the release of the May 2005 estimates.

The OES sample in Wisconsin consists of about 10,000 firms with a total employment of roughly 650,000 employees. Roughly one-half of these firms are contacted from May through January and the other half from November through July.

BLS requires we obtain information from firms containing at least 65% of the employment in the overall sample. It also requires we collect data from a minimum of 75% of the sampled units or 75% of the sampled employment in each of the MSAs and BOS areas.

Long Description

Contact: Sal Serio - (608) 266-2069

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Query

Mass Layoff Statistics (MLS)

The Mass Layoffs Statistics (MLS) program is a Federal-State cooperative statistical effort which uses a standardized, automated approach to identify, describe, and track the effects of major job cutbacks, using data from individual state unemployment insurance (UI) databases.

The MLS program reports on mass layoff actions that result in workers being separated from their jobs. Monthly mass layoff numbers are from establishments which have at least fifty (50) initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) filed against them in a 5-week period. Extended mass layoff numbers (released quarterly) are from a subset of such establishments, those where the employer indicates that 50 or more people were separated from their jobs for at least 31 days.

The MLS program was discontinued on June 30, 2013, as a result of the cuts under the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act (commonly referred to as sequestration).

Long Description

Contact: Sheila Ulrich - (608) 267-9611


The Projections Unit of the Office of Economic Advisors develops both long- and short-term outlooks of employment in Wisconsin's industries and occupations. Employment includes all nonfarm wage and salary employment and nonfarm self-employment. Employment in approximately 300 industries and 770 occupations is examined.

The long-term projections are for ten years out into the future and are updated every two years. The short-term projections are for two years into the future and are updated annually. Projections are done for Wisconsin as a whole and for workforce development areas (WDAs).

Long-term projections assist customers in long-range planning, while short-term projections help inform customers of more immediate employment conditions. Students, job seekers, and counselors may use the projections to explore employment in occupations and industries. Educational institutions may use occupational projections to evaluate degree and/or course offerings. Researchers may use the data in analyses of Wisconsin’s labor market. Employers may use the data to examine expected employment in industries and occupations.

All projections are subject to the economic, demographic, and social forces occurring at the time the projections are prepared. Anticipated changes in these forces are taken into account when developing the projections, but it is impossible to predict the nature and implications of all changes. It is important to note that unanticipated events may affect the accuracy of the projections.

This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA).

Long Description

Blania Calderon - (608) 267-7314

Industry Projections Query

Occupation Projections Query

Projections Matrix Query

County Wages and Employment by Occupation

The occupational wage and employment data provided at the County level are estimates based on the Local Employment and Wage Information System (LEWIS) developed by the State of North Carolina and used in a number of other states. The data are intended to show occupational wages at a smaller geographic detail than what is normally offered via other Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys.

Long Description

Contact: Sal Serio - (608) 266-2069

County Wages and Employment by Occupation Query

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