Article

June 2013

Linking firms with establishments in BLS microdata

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The body of this article begins by exploring the relationships among EINs, UI account numbers, and establishments in the QCEW. Next, the analysis goes on to examine a list of firms already matched with all their establishments in previous BLS efforts in order to show that the EINs which are readily available from firms’ Form 10-K filings4 with the SEC link to only a subset of these firms’ establishments. The analysis then discusses the methods and time required to link several case studies of sample firms to the full list of their establishments in BLS data. The article concludes with a brief synopsis of the material presented and sets forth a possible agenda for future research.

EINs, UI account numbers, and establishments in the QCEW

EINs are issued by the Internal Revenue Service to identify employers for tax purposes. As Joel Elvery, Lucia Foster, C. J. Krizan, and David Talan showed, most employers have only one EIN.5 In the fourth quarter of 2009, employers’ reports to the UI system used 5.1 million EINS (although they were not necessarily the same EINs used in employers’ reports to federal agencies, such as the SEC or the BEA). These same employers have 6.2 million accounts, covering 7.3 million establishments, in the UI system (with at least one account for each U.S. state and the District of Columbia).

Firms may use the same EIN in multiple states. However, as table 1 shows, 96 percent of EINs in the QCEW are associated with establishments in a single state. These EINs, each of which is associated with 1.1 establishments with a total of 11.3 employees, on average, contain 52.7 percent of all private sector employment covered in the QCEW. By contrast, only 0.4 percent of EINs are associated with establishments in 10 or more states, but these EINs are associated with an average of 52.8 establishments each, with an average total employment of 1,690.0 employees, representing 28.9 percent of all covered employment in the QCEW.

Table 1. Distribution of Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) across states, fourth quarter, 2009
Number of statesNumber of EINs (percentage of total)Number of establishments (percentage of total)Average number of establishments per EIN (standard deviation)Sum of employment for all EINs in category (percentage of total)Average employment per EIN (standard deviation)

Total

5,141,516 (100.0)7,336,839 (100.0)1.4 (124.8)106,104,761 (100.0)20.6 (770.4)

1

4,933,965 (96.0)5,580,384 (76.1)1.1 (126.5)55,947,126 (52.7)11.3 (156.7)

2

114,970 (2.2)309,084 (4.2)2.7 (7.1)6,946,347 (6.5)60.4 (398.0)

3

32,375 (.6)143,131 (2.0)4.4 (25.9)3,448,774 (3.3)106.5 (477.1)

4

15,656 (.3)93,710 (1.3)6.0 (22.5)2,459,057 (2.3)157.1 (1,262.8)

5

9,484 (.2)70,486 (1.0)7.4 (19.3)1,807,086 (1.7)190.5 (746.3)

6

6,314 (.1)55,462 (.8)8.8 (25.2)1,509,262 (1.4)239.0 (1,117.3)

7

4,572 (.1)47,360 (.6)10.4 (26.9)1,161,456 (1.1)254.0 (750.4)

8

3,377 (.1)39,438 (.5)11.7 (28.7)1,011,136 (1.0)299.4 (1,165.4)

9

2,643 (.1)39,016 (.5)14.8 (49.9)1,123,213 (1.1)425.0 (1,799.5)

10 or more

18,160 (.4)958,768 (13.1)52.8 (232.7)30,691,304 (28.9)1,690.0 (12,412.9)

25 or more

4,574 (.1)619,973 (8.5)135.5 (435.7)21,155,404 (19.9)4,625.1 (24,195.2)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Similarly, table 2 shows that 94.9 percent of EINs are associated with a single establishment, but these EINs account for just 42.2 percent of private sector employment in the QCEW. Meanwhile, the 0.7 percent of EINs that are associated with 10 or more establishments have an average of 50.8 establishments each, and these EINs make up 40.3 percent of all private sector employment.

Table 2. Distribution of establishments within Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), fourth quarter, 2009
Number of statesNumber of EINs (percentage of total)Sum of establishments for each category of establishments (percentage of total)Average number of establishments per EIN (standard deviation)Sum of employment for each category of establishments (percentage of total)Average employment  per UI account (standard deviation)

Total

5,141,516 (100.0)7,336,839 (100.0)1.4 (124.8)106,104,761 (100.0)20.6 (770.4)

1

4,877,459 (94.9)4,877,459 (66.5)1.0 (.0)44,794,423 (42.2)9.2 (44.9)

2

125,147 (2.4)250,294 (3.4)2.0 (.0)5,460,496 (5.1)43.6 (157.9)

3

40,479 (.8)121,437 (1.7)3.0 (.0)3,278,666 (3.1)81.0 (299.4)

4

22,022 (.4)88,088 (1.2)4.0 (.0)2,327,721 (2.2)105.7 (328.6)

5

14,546 (.3)72,730 (1.0)5.0 (.0)1,970,604 (1.9)135.5 (414.4)

6

10,364 (.2)62,184 (.8)6.0 (.0)1,695,390 (1.6)163.6 (487.4)

7

7,340 (.1)51,380 (.7)7.0 (.0)1,396,653 (1.3)190.3 (625.5)

8

5,689 (.1)45,512 (.6)8.0 (.0)1,273,174 (1.2)223.8 (1,012.5)

9

4,490 (.1)40,410 (.6)9.0 (.0)1,123,669 (1.1)250.3 (638.6)

10 or more

33,980 (.7)1,727,345 (23.5)50.8 (1,534.5)42,783,965 (40.3)1,259.1 (9,338.4)

25 or more

10,500 (.2)1,382,658 (18.8)131.7 (2,758.8)33,292,362 (31.4)3,170.7 (16,592.4)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Additional information on the distribution of UI accounts across states and the distribution of establishments within UI accounts is shown in tables 3 and 4, respectively. Table 3 shows that 95.9 percent of EINs are associated with a single UI account, but these EINs account for 52.2 percent of all private sector employment included in the QCEW. Meanwhile, the 0.4 percent of EINs that are associated with 10 or more UI accounts constitute 29.3 percent of all private sector employment. Recall from table 1 that nearly all of the 4,933,965 EINs in the QCEW that are associated with establishments in a single state are associated with a single UI account. (Only 3,695, or 0.1 percent, are associated with more than one UI account.) Table 4 shows that 98.1 percent of UI accounts are associated with a single establishment and that 82.6 percent of establishments hold single-establishment UI accounts. These accounts are associated with 61.5 percent of all employment covered in the QCEW. However, the 0.4 percent of UI accounts that are associated with at least 10 establishments are associated with 12.6 percent of the establishments, and 23.2 percent of the employees, in the QCEW. These UI accounts are each associated with an average of 34 establishments, which tend to be larger than the establishments holding single-establishment UI accounts.

Notes

4 SEC Form 10-K “provides a comprehensive overview of the company’s business and financial condition and includes audited financial statements.” (See “Form 10-K” (Securities and Exchange Commission, June 26, 2009), http://www.sec.gov/answers/form10k.htm.)

5 Joel Elvery, Lucia Foster, C. J. Krizan, and David Talan, “Preliminary micro data results from the Business List Comparison Project,” Proceedings of the 2006 American Statistical Association Annual Meeting (Alexandria, VA, American Statistical Association, 2006).

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About the Author

Elizabeth Weber Handwerker
handwerker.elizabeth@bls.gov

Elizabeth Weber Handwerker is a research economist in the Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Lowell G. Mason
mason.lowell@bls.gov.

Lowell G. Mason is an economist in the Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics.