Article

June 2013

Linking firms with establishments in BLS microdata

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Table 3. Distribution of Unemployment Insurance (UI) accounts within states and Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), fourth quarter, 2009
Number of UI accountsNumber of EINs (percentage of total)Number of establishments (percentage of total)Average number of establishments per UI account (standard deviation)Sum of  employment for employers in each category (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

4,930,270 (95.9)5,253,433 (71.6)1.1 (2.3)55,354,699 (52.2)11.2 (89.7)

2

118,214 (2.3)315,574 (4.3)2.7 (7.1)7,051,820 (6.6)59.7 (405.0)

3

32,586 (.6)143,332 (2.0)4.4 (25.8)3,474,382 (3.3)106.6 (477.2)

4

15,718 (.3)93,746 (1.3)6.0 (22.5)2,475,125 (2.3)157.5 (1,262.0)

5

9,502 (.2)70,833 (1.0)7.5 (19.3)1,831,208 (1.7)192.7 (752.1)

6

6,347 (.1)54,106 (.7)8.5 (20.6)1,501,898 (1.4)236.6 (1,107.1)

7

4,589 (.1)47,430 (.6)10.3 (26.9)1,158,410 (1.1)252.4 (733.1)

8

3,392 (.1)39,496 (.5)11.6 (28.5)1,047,219 (1.0)308.7 (1,230.3)

9

2,645 (.1)38,821 (.5)14.7 (49.8)1,106,241 (1.0)418.2 (1,785.6)

10 or more

18,253 (.4)1,280,068 (17.4)70.1 (2,092.6)31,103,759 (29.3)1,704.0 (12,554.4)

25 or more

4,648 (.1)948,075 (12.9)204.0 (4,142.4)21,693,672 (20.4)4,667.3 (24,353.4)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Table 4. Distribution of establishments within Unemployment Insurance (UI) accounts, fourth quarter, 2009
Number of establishmentsNumber of UI accounts (percentage of total)Sum of establishments for each category of UI accounts (percentage of total)Average number of establishments per UI account (standard deviation)Sum of employment for each category of UI accounts (percentage of total)Average employment per UI account (standard deviation)

Total

6,177,029 (100.0)7,336,839 (100.0)1.2 (5.2)106,104,761 (100.0)17.2 (211.7)

1

6,060,855 (98.1)6,060,855 (82.6)1.0 (.0)65,270,467 (61.5)10.8 (63.4)

2

28,005 (.5)56,010 (.8)2.0 (.0)3,699,202 (3.5)132.1 (432.8)

3

18,756 (.3)56,268 (.8)3.0 (.0)3,049,493 (2.9)162.6 (617.6)

4

12,878 (.2)51,512 (.7)4.0 (.0)2,358,709 (2.2)183.2 (608.9)

5

9,656 (.2)48,280 (.7)5.0 (.0)1,980,755 (1.9)205.1 (551.1)

6

7,343 (.1)44,058 (.6)6.0 (.0)1,710,925 (1.6)233.0 (574.3)

7

5,064 (.1)35,448 (.5)7.0 (0.0)1,291,310 (1.2)255.0 (617.1)

8

4,025 (.1)32,200 (.4)8.0 (.0)1,157,933 (1.1)287.7 (714.1)

9

3,256 (.1)29,304 (.4)9.0 (.0)967,459 (.9)297.1 (632.5)

10 or more

27,191 (.4)922,904 (12.6)33.9 (71.3)24,618,508 (23.2)905.4 (2,714.2)

25 or more

9,211 (.1)657,623 (9.0)71.4 (113.3)16,264,898 (15.3)1,765.8 (4,297.8)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Chart 1 shows the number of EINs, UI accounts, and private establishments in the QCEW from the first quarter of 1991 through the fourth quarter of 2011. The chart reveals that all of these measures are increasing over time, with faster growth in the number of establishments than UI accounts and in the number of UI accounts than EINs.

During the period shown, the quarterly growth rates of EINs, UI accounts, and establishments are seen to be roughly correlated. Overall, the “complexity” of companies in terms of the number of establishments per UI account and per EINincreased from 1991 to 2011. For researchers who are searching for establishments associated with particular companies, this means that the average number of establishments that can be linked to each EIN has been increasing. However, that fact does not help researchers who are searching for all of the EINs associated with large firms.

Establishments, employment, and EINs in firms’ public filings

Publicly held firms are required to report to the SEC. The information they report (particularly in Form 10-K) is of interest to many researchers and is compiled into commercial databases used by many researchers. Each firm’s Form 10-K report includes one EIN, which is included in those databases. Several researchers have proposed research projects that would merge a commercial database of firm information with QCEW data, using only the single EIN per firm listed in the commercial database. However, firms may use many different EINs for different purposes, and many firms use multiple EINs in reporting unemployment insurance taxes. The EIN that a firm reports to the SEC in Form 10-K may be one of many EINs associated with establishments of the same firm in the QCEW or may even be an EIN never used in the QCEW. The analysis that follows uses only the EINs that these firms list in their Forms 10-K to examine the percentage of establishments and the percentage of employment that can be linked to a list of large firms.

The comparison presented of the total number of establishments and employees with the number that can be linked to the one EIN listed in each firm’s Form 10-K is based on a list of firms whose EINs BLS analysts believe that they know. The list was developed at the Bureau to avoid sampling only one part of a large employer in surveys. Forty-three large publicly held firms appearing in this list are examined. (The full list contains information on more than two hundred firms; this article uses all of the firms from the list that were part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the Standard and Poor’s (S&P) 500® Index, as well as a random sample of other firms on the list that were included in the Russell 2000 Index.) The following tabulation shows the percentage of establishments and the percentage of employment that can be identified by the single EIN listed in firms’ Form 10-K filings, by category:

 CategoryNumber of firms examinedPercentage of establishments Percentage of employmentFirms for which the single EIN listed in Form 10-K is used by establishments with North America Industrial Classification (NAICS) code 551
Dow Jones Industrial Average144.10.89
S&P 500 (excluding Dow Jones)1422.32.113
Russell 20001542.23.07


The categories used in the preceding tabulation are the indexes in which the firms are listed. Many of the largest publicly held companies in the United States are included in the Dow Jones Index. The S&P 500 Index includes the 500 largest publicly held companies in the nation (chosen by a committee that examines various measures of firm size), while the Russell 2000 Index excludes the largest 1,000 companies and includes companies ranked 1,001 to 3,000 in size (by market capitalization). Thus, the categories used in the tabulation are a rough indication of the size of the companies examined in this article.

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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.