Tag Archives: Regions and states

Building a Business? Start Here

You have an idea.

It’s time to get serious about it.

Entrepreneurial drive got you to this point, but now it’s time to chart a plan. For that you need a reliable overview of the factors that can lead to a flourishing business — or work against it.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Business Builder application is designed to provide small business owners with key data to give them a clear-eyed view of their potential market. This data-mapping tool combines data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Economic Census, and County Business Patterns, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

For version 2.6 of the tool, released this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has collaborated with the Census Bureau to include data from our Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). QCEW is based on quarterly mandatory reports to the Unemployment Insurance systems in each state, covering more than 95 percent of the jobs in the U.S. economy. It is the most complete and current source of data on employment and wages at a detailed geographic and industry level.

To help illustrate why this tool is so useful, and why the data from the QCEW broadens that usefulness, I’ll make up an example.

Ever since you can remember, your grandmother, who was born and raised just outside of Naples, has fed you a type of pizza full of unusual flavors that has never been equaled in all your travels. As you grew and came into your own as a cook, she entrusted you with her secret knowledge, like a magician passing along her repertoire to a favored protégé.

Ever since, you’ve dreamed of sharing the pleasures of that delicacy with the world, and you’re going to start with a pizzeria somewhere near your home in Olympia, Washington. You may ask yourself: What exactly does the restaurant market look like in Olympia? Who are my potential customers? What kind of wages do they earn?

The Census Business Builder is a good place to start.

Census Business Builder home screen

Here, you can enter the type of establishment you’d like to research, as well as the area where you intend to do business. You find that data are not available for Olympia, but knowing that Olympia is the county seat, you are able to search in Thurston County.

The resulting map provides data on income, education, wages, and perhaps most importantly for you, the number of similar establishments in the area – also known as your competition.

Map of Thurston County, Washington, showing Census Business Builder search results

With the new QCEW data, another crucial batch of information is at your fingertips: more up-to-date establishment counts, employment numbers, and wages. It also provides an important metric known as the location quotient. This measure lets you compare an industry’s employment concentration or wages in your search area with the country as a whole. Will you be able to hire enough staff? What might you need to pay them if you want the best in the business?

Map of Thurston County, Washington, showing Census Business Builder search results with QCEW location quotient

The possibilities advance from this example as far as your entrepreneurial mind wants to take them. It is you, after all, who will transform these numbers into the real-world business that fulfills your vision. Our job as public servants is to give you the most relevant tools to realize that transformation. We’re grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the Census Bureau to bring you this vital information in this user-friendly format.

The Census Business Builder is updated twice per year using feedback that comes from customers and stakeholders, including small business owners, trade associations and other government agencies. The update also adds QCEW data into the Regional Analyst version of the tool, which is designed for chambers of commerce and regional planning staff who need a broad portrait of the people and businesses in their area. The December release, for example, will add more QCEW features to the Regional Analyst version.

BLS publishes data from the QCEW program every quarter in the County Employment and Wages news release. QCEW data are available through our Open Data Access and the QCEW Databases.

Baseball, Hot Dogs, and Statistics

Summer is in full swing, which means that when I’m not talking about BLS data, I’m talking about baseball, something I could do full time. Luckily these two topics have a lot in common; nothing quite says statistics in the summertime like baseball does. We fans have followed baseball statistics for nearly as long as the game has been played. Teams today increasingly use statistics—or “analytics”—to decide which players to add to their rosters, who to play in any game situation, and even where to position fielders for certain batters. That’s a lot like the innovations BLS and the other federal statistical agencies focus on to help people make informed decisions for their families, businesses, and the broader economy.

I grew up a St. Louis Cardinals fan until the mid-1960s, when the lamentable Kansas City Athletics moved to Oakland and the American League expansion team, Kansas City Royals, brought winning baseball to Kansas. I had a second home, as it were, in the seats of Kauffman Stadium, or “The K” to us Kansas City Royals fans. Today I cheer for the Washington Nationals, having lived in the D.C. area for the past 25 years. Regardless of your favorite team, if you’re a baseball fan you know statistics are a huge part of how your team performs. While I could talk about George Brett’s batting average, home runs, or wins above replacement, let’s instead look at where America’s agency on labor data meets America’s favorite pastime.

Spectator sports employed over 144,000 workers in 2018. The map below shows the metropolitan areas with the most jobs in spectator sports. The New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA metro area, home of the Yankees and Mets, employs the most people at 8,674. Spectator sports include all professional and semi-professional sport teams.

Employment in spectator sports by metropolitan area, 2018

Editor’s note: Data for this map are available in the table below.

Also consider the Occupational Employment Statistics program. In 2018, there were 27,780 radio and television announcers and 7,480 public address announcers. There were also 236,970 coaches and scouts and 19,090 umpires and referees in 2018.

Here’s a look at some of the occupations within the spectator sports industry:

Employment in selected occupations in the spectator sports industry, May 2018

Editor’s note: Data for this chart are available in the table below.

If you’re going to the game, the Consumer Price Index can tell you how prices have changed over time. For example, ticket prices for sporting events decreased 0.8 percent from June 2018 to June 2019. Over the same period, parking fees and tolls increased 3.2 percent and prices for food away from home increased 3.1 percent. At the low end of the increases is beer away from home—a modest 0.8 increase over the year.

Or maybe you just decide to enjoy the game in front of your new 80-inch flat screen TV. You aren’t alone. According to the American Time Use Survey, Americans spend, on average, 2.84 hours a day watching television in 2017. That’s almost enough time to watch your typical 9-inning baseball game.

Can we squeeze any more baseball out of BLS statistics? There’s wage data for ushers, occupational injuries for umpires, and productivity in certain recreation industries. But we’ll save that for another day. For now, sit back and enjoy the game. Play Ball!

Employment in spectator sports by metropolitan area, 2018
Metropolitan area Employment
Abilene, TX 14
Akron, OH 215
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY 537
Albuquerque, NM 241
Anchorage, AK 204
Ann Arbor, MI 84
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 1,948
Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC 314
Austin-Round Rock, TX 1,071
Bakersfield, CA 229
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 1,872
Bangor, ME 32
Barnstable Town, MA 9
Baton Rouge, LA 15
Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX 5
Billings, MT 78
Birmingham-Hoover, AL 372
Bloomington, IL 54
Boulder, CO 22
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 83
Burlington-South Burlington, VT 92
Canton-Massillon, OH 13
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 718
Charleston, WV 118
Charleston-North Charleston, SC 256
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 6,081
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 4,763
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN 1,473
Cleveland-Elyria, OH 2,019
Coeur d’Alene, ID 36
College Station-Bryan, TX 20
Colorado Springs, CO 214
Columbia, SC 383
Columbus, OH 813
Corpus Christi, TX 153
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 3,392
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL 1,294
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 999
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA 375
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI 1,682
Dover, DE 222
Dubuque, IA 72
Duluth, MN-WI 75
El Paso, TX 269
Erie, PA 105
Eugene, OR 67
Evansville, IN-KY 209
Fairbanks, AK 29
Flint, MI 6
Florence, SC 43
Fort Collins, CO 4
Fresno, CA 542
Grand Junction, CO 67
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI 234
Great Falls, MT 72
Greeley, CO 96
Greenville, NC 54
Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC 234
Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS 121
Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV 21
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA 316
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT 233
Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC 111
Hot Springs, AR 665
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 2,968
Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH 27
Huntsville, AL 47
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN 2,786
Jacksonville, FL 1,397
Janesville-Beloit, WI 52
Joplin, MO 11
Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI 3
Kansas City, MO-KS 1,737
Kennewick-Richland, WA 84
Lake Charles, LA 11
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL 387
Lancaster, PA 160
Las Cruces, NM 18
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 835
Lebanon, PA 16
Lexington-Fayette, KY 1,556
Lincoln, NE 172
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR 148
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 7,100
Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN 1,337
Lubbock, TX 12
Manchester-Nashua, NH 144
Medford, OR 23
Memphis, TN-MS-AR 1,349
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL 6,476
Midland, TX 99
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI 2,218
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 3,337
Missoula, MT 20
Mobile, AL 79
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC 171
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL 23
Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 721
New Orleans-Metairie, LA 1,522
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 8,674
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL 549
Norwich-New London, CT 85
Ocala, FL 490
Ogden-Clearfield, UT 120
Oklahoma City, OK 1,227
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA 82
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL 301
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 4,398
Pittsburgh, PA 1,603
Pittsfield, MA 21
Portland-South Portland, ME 317
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 1,042
Providence-Warwick, RI-MA 348
Raleigh, NC 1,339
Reading, PA 198
Richmond, VA 381
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 688
Roanoke, VA 98
Rochester, NY 676
Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA 957
Salem, OR 56
Salisbury, MD-DE 138
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 757
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA 1,720
Santa Rosa, CA 223
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 3,176
Sherman-Denison, TX 6
Sioux Falls, SD 138
Spartanburg, SC 15
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA 209
St. George, UT 20
St. Joseph, MO-KS 13
St. Louis, MO-IL 1,608
State College, PA 75
Stockton-Lodi, CA 130
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 3,302
Trenton, NJ 159
Tucson, AZ 83
Tulsa, OK 281
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 148
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 2,931
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA 65
Watertown-Fort Drum, NY 15
Wausau, WI 34
Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH 18
Wheeling, WV-OH 47
Winston-Salem, NC 414
Worcester, MA-CT 97
Yakima, WA 21
York-Hanover, PA 156
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA 84
Yuba City, CA 34
Employment in selected occupations in the spectator sports industry, May 2018
Occupation Employment
Security guards 8,490
Ushers 7,610
Food and beverage servers 6,980
Groundskeepers 2,350
Parking lot attendants 1,850

New State Data on Labor Productivity and Job Openings and Labor Turnover

While international trade has become increasingly important to our economy over the past 60 years, U.S. households and businesses continue to rely primarily on local markets for most goods and services. The products we create come from all over our country. Workers, businesses, and policymakers care deeply about the economy in our own backyards. That’s why BLS recently began publishing new data on labor productivity by state and, separately, on job openings and labor turnover by state.

State labor productivity

Our measures of labor productivity for states are still experimental, meaning we’re still assessing them and considering ways to improve them. These measures cover the private nonfarm sector for all 50 states and the District of Columbia from 2007 to 2017. They show that labor productivity growth varies a lot from state to state. From 2007 to 2017, labor productivity changes ranged from a gain of 3.1 percent per year in North Dakota to a loss of 0.7 percent per year in Louisiana. In 2017, labor productivity grew fastest in Montana (2.0 percent), West Virginia (1.9 percent), California (1.8 percent), and Hawaii (1.7 percent). You can get the complete dataset from our state labor productivity page.

U.S. map showing productivity growth in the private nonfarm sector in each state from 2007 to 2017

Editor’s note: Data for this map are available in the table below.

We construct these state measures from data published by several BLS programs and by our colleagues at the Bureau of Economic Analysis. A recent Monthly Labor Review article, “BLS publishes experimental state-level labor productivity measures,” explains the data and the methods for putting them all together. The article also highlights how you might use these new state data. We’re happy to have your feedback on these new measures. Just send us an email.

State job openings and labor turnover

We also have new data on job openings, hiring, and separations by state. Data from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey are widely used by economic policymakers and others who want to understand the job flows that lead to net changes in employment. We have these data back to December 2000 and update them every month for the nation and the four broad census regions. Now we have them for all states and the District of Columbia too. These state estimates are available from February 2001 through December 2018 for the total nonfarm sector.

Many of you have told us you want more geographic details about job openings and turnover. To make sense of data on job openings, for example, it helps to know where the jobs are. The survey sample size is designed to estimate job openings and turnover for major industries only at the national and regional levels. For several years we have researched ways to produce model-assisted estimates for states. As with the state productivity data, these estimates are experimental. We plan to update the state estimates each quarter while we assess your feedback on the models and the usefulness of the data. We encourage you to send us your comments.

But wait, there’s more! We’ve updated the BLS Local Data App!

In previous blog posts, we’ve told you about our mobile app for customers who want to know more about local labor markets. This app now includes employment and wage data for detailed industries and occupations. (It doesn’t yet have the new data on state productivity, job openings, and turnover.)

Interested in local data for a particular industry or occupation? The latest version allows you to quickly search or use the built-in industry and occupational lists. Want to know which industry employs the most workers in your area or which occupation pays the highest? The updated app allows you to sort the employment and wage data across groups of industries and occupations. You can still find data on unemployment rates and total employment. You also can find your state, metro area, or county by searching for a zip code or using your device’s current location.

These new data and features result from the continued partnership between BLS and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Chief Information Officer. Be on the lookout for more new features to be added in future releases.

Download the BLS Local Data app from the App Store or Google Play today!

Annual percent change in labor productivity in the private nonfarm sector, 2007–17
State Annual percent change
North Dakota 3.1
California 1.7
Oregon 1.7
Washington 1.7
Colorado 1.6
Oklahoma 1.6
Maryland 1.5
Montana 1.5
Pennsylvania 1.5
Massachusetts 1.4
New Mexico 1.4
Vermont 1.4
Idaho 1.3
Kansas 1.3
Nebraska 1.1
New Hampshire 1.1
South Carolina 1.1
Tennessee 1.1
Texas 1.1
West Virginia 1.1
Alabama 1.0
Hawaii 1.0
Kentucky 1.0
Minnesota 1.0
New York 1.0
Rhode Island 1.0
South Dakota 1.0
Virginia 1.0
Georgia 0.9
Arkansas 0.8
Missouri 0.8
Ohio 0.8
Utah 0.8
Illinois 0.7
North Carolina 0.7
Delaware 0.6
Florida 0.6
Iowa 0.6
Indiana 0.5
Mississippi 0.5
New Jersey 0.5
Wisconsin 0.5
Alaska 0.4
Arizona 0.4
District of Columbia 0.4
Michigan 0.4
Maine 0.3
Nevada 0.3
Wyoming 0.1
Connecticut -0.5
Louisiana -0.7

Why This Counts: 10 Million U.S. Establishments for the First Time

In the third quarter of 2018, the number of establishments in the U.S. economy reached 10 million. This milestone is based on data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), which uses administrative records to identify the number of establishments in our economy.

What is the QCEW?

The QCEW compiles quarterly reports of the Unemployment Insurance systems in each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Every business with an employee, other than the owner, must register with the state where it has a business location. We call these locations establishments.

 Behind the number

Behind the 10 million establishments are some interesting facts about our labor market.

First, the U.S. labor market is dynamic

Roughly 200,000 establishments are new each quarter. That adds up to almost 800,000 new establishments each year. If we consider that we first hit the 9 million mark in third quarter 2007, you may wonder why we didn’t reach 10 million sooner.

Some establishments continue for long periods, while others close. In 2018, more than half of all private sector establishments were 10 years or older. And while the number of establishments grows in most years, during a recession fewer establishments open and more close. Openings and closings that mostly offset one another result in a pretty stable rate of change in the total number of establishments over time.

Line chart showing the number of establishments each quarter from 2001 to 2018

Editor’s note: Data for this chart are available in the table below.

Second, most establishments are small

If we define small establishments as having fewer than 500 employees, 99.8 percent of all establishments in the U.S. economy are small. These employ 82.6 percent of workers and pay 73.5 percent of all wages, including bonuses.

Less than one-tenth of 1 percent of establishments have 1,000 employees or more, yet these establishment have an outsized impact. In first quarter 2018 they accounted for 11.0 percent of employment and 17.8 percent of total wages, far higher than their representation in our economy.

Chart showing the share of establishments, employment, and total wages by establishment size in the first quarter of 2018

Editor’s note: Data for this chart are available in the table below.

Slicing the data a different way, we find that 62.5 percent of all establishments in first quarter 2018 had fewer than 5 employees. In fact, the five industries with the most establishments are all dominated by small establishments.

Services for the elderly and disabled is the industry with both the highest number of establishments and the highest number of small establishments. In first quarter 2018, it had 742,364 private establishments, and 97.1 percent of them had fewer than 5 employees. The industry office of physicians, except mental health ranks fifth in the U.S. economy in terms of the number of establishments, and 52.5 percent of them had fewer than 5 employees.

An interesting story about physicians’ offices

The real value of the QCEW data is in its fine level of detail. Drilling down, we find that in first quarter 2018 Los Angeles County had 10,360 establishments in offices of physicians, except mental health, ranking first in the U.S. economy.

However, the highest concentration of physicians’ offices is not in Los Angeles, but in Johnson County, Georgia. We use location quotients to measure the concentration of establishments in a geographic area. A location quotient greater than 1 means the industry has a greater concentration of establishments within the county than in the nation. With a location quotient of 5.0, Johnson County has five times the concentration of physicians’ offices than the nation.

Offices of physicians, except mental health, number of establishments and establishment location quotients in selected counties, first quarter 2018
County Number of Establishments Establishment location quotient
Johnson County, Georgia 14 5.0
Greenup County, Kentucky 40 3.2
Boyd County, Kentucky 103 3.1
Angelina County, Texas 107 2.8
Jefferson County, Texas 359 3.0
Los Angeles County, California 10,360 1.0

 

So, who uses the data?

The detail available in QCEW data is important to a range of users. In the private sector, commercial real estate brokers may use the data when deciding the best location for a new business. Small business owners may compare average weekly wages. Large corporations may use local data to develop geographic profiles and market studies.

In the public sector, local and regional economic development agencies use the data for planning and program development. Understanding the type and size of establishments can help them recruit and retain businesses and support workforce development investment. Disaster relief agencies use information on the size of establishments or the concentration in an area to determine risk and track recovery efforts. State governments and academic institutions use the data to study the health of regional economies.

Want to know more?

For this blog, we use private ownership data from first quarter 2018 to explore QCEW establishment size data. You can explore establishment size data using the QCEW Data Viewer.

For even more information, visit our QCEW page.

Number of establishments, 2001–18
Quarter Number of establishments
Q1 2001 7,925,541
Q2 2001 7,958,077
Q3 2001 8,008,006
Q4 2001 8,046,492
Q1 2002 8,042,613
Q2 2002 8,060,770
Q3 2002 8,124,227
Q4 2002 8,179,879
Q1 2003 8,188,261
Q2 2003 8,206,992
Q3 2003 8,239,152
Q4 2003 8,280,956
Q1 2004 8,298,175
Q2 2004 8,305,907
Q3 2004 8,389,106
Q4 2004 8,465,990
Q1 2005 8,478,533
Q2 2005 8,525,655
Q3 2005 8,613,899
Q4 2005 8,666,489
Q1 2006 8,690,719
Q2 2006 8,726,001
Q3 2006 8,816,751
Q4 2006 8,902,635
Q1 2007 8,862,947
Q2 2007 8,936,111
Q3 2007 9,014,197
Q4 2007 9,074,333
Q1 2008 9,028,884
Q2 2008 9,059,689
Q3 2008 9,108,151
Q4 2008 9,131,473
Q1 2009 8,967,310
Q2 2009 8,984,662
Q3 2009 9,020,598
Q4 2009 9,040,216
Q1 2010 8,925,889
Q2 2010 8,962,280
Q3 2010 9,014,193
Q4 2010 9,070,072
Q1 2011 8,989,800
Q2 2011 9,042,922
Q3 2011 9,104,661
Q4 2011 9,153,801
Q1 2012 9,006,016
Q2 2012 9,179,368
Q3 2012 9,128,346
Q4 2012 9,173,740
Q1 2013 9,107,736
Q2 2013 9,178,547
Q3 2013 9,241,547
Q4 2013 9,295,722
Q1 2014 9,288,442
Q2 2014 9,313,909
Q3 2014 9,380,061
Q4 2014 9,463,005
Q1 2015 9,414,823
Q2 2015 9,470,124
Q3 2015 9,561,224
Q4 2015 9,644,927
Q1 2016 9,601,391
Q2 2016 9,677,672
Q3 2016 9,758,568
Q4 2016 9,828,841
Q1 2017 9,718,391
Q2 2017 9,807,791
Q3 2017 9,871,253
Q4 2017 9,942,980
Q1 2018 9,910,520
Q2 2018 9,988,054
Q3 2018 10,065,152
Q4 2018 10,169,140
Percent of establishments, employment, and total wages by establishment size, first quarter 2018
Number of employees in establishment Percent of total establishments Percent of total employment Percent of total wages
1,000 or more 0.1% 11.0% 17.8%
500 to 999 0.1 6.4 8.7
Fewer than 500 99.8 82.6 73.5

Improved Mapping Tool for Local Area Unemployment Statistics

We publish thousands of unemployment rates each month for states, metro areas, and counties. That can make them hard to follow, but we just upgraded our mapping tool to make it easy. Instead of wading through all those numbers, just check out the latest maps for what you need. We have rebuilt the tool using a more modern and versatile mapping technology. That will make it easier to update with future geographic changes. We have improved several features of the tool:

  • We have added tooltips to help you identify each area and its data. Just hover over an area on the map to see its information.
  • In the tab for state data that are not seasonally adjusted, you can choose a state and pull up a map of that state’s county data for the same period.
  • The metro area tab has returned and reflects the areas currently used by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program.
  • You can choose the dates, states, areas, and measures you want to see.
  • You can select the key data ranges to highlight all areas in the same group. (Click or press the range a second time to deselect.)
  • The map space is larger and framed.
  • Use the arrow in the lower right corner of the map space to print the map image or export it to .PNG, .JPEG, and .SVG formats.

Missouri map showing counties and their unemployment rates

We hope these improved maps make finding data for your state and local area easier. Let us know what you think.