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Internet Data Sources for Local Labor Market Analysis

December 3, 2014 / By Daniel Flaming

This page lists sources of local labor market information that are useful for analysis. It is divided into three sections: Federal, California State, and Local. Please let us know if any links become outdated.


Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census

County Business Patterns – Industry Establishment, Payroll and Employment Data

County Business Patterns is an annual series of data from the Census Bureau’s Business Register, a file of all known companies. This is a comprehensive census of industry establishments, employment, and data by county, although the most recent series is usually two years old and the data is for March 12, which is not representative of the annual average.

Data provided:Number of establishments by industry

  • Total annual payroll by industry
  • Number of employees by industry
  • Geographic coverage for nation, states, counties
  • Data since 1998 is coded using the NAICS system, while data for earlier years is coded using the SIC system.

Current site location:

Economic Census Data

Every five years the U.S. Census Bureau produces the Economic Census, which profiles the US economy from the national to the local level. The most recent reports are for 1997 and cover all geographic areas and all sectors. Economy-wide reports include the SIC-based Comparative Statistics and the Bridge Between NAICS and SIC, as well as ZIP Code Statistics.

Current site location:

Population and Housing Data – US Census Bureau

The US Census Bureau web site provides easy access to tables showing population (1990, 2000 and 2010) and population change for all US metropolitan areas and counties.

Current site location:

American Community Survey – The new annual data series from the US Census Bureau, covering population and housing characteristics

Current site location:

Poverty Threshold

The U.S. Census Bureau produces annual definitions of the poverty threshold by size of family and number of children.

Current site location:

Geographic Definitions of Metropolitan Areas

Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs)

Core: County or counties with one or more cities with 50,000 or more people.

Outlying counties: included in MSA if at least 50 percent of their population is in the urbanized area of the largest city; or residents typically commute to the core.

Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Areas (CMSAs)

Metropolitan Areas with at least 1,000,000 people, divided into Primary Metropolitan Statistical Areas (PMSAs).

Non-Metropolitan Areas

Are counties that have no city with 50,000 or more people, and are not integrated with a large urban center.

Maps of metropolitan areas can be found on the US Census Bureau web site.

Current site location is:

Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis

Regional Accounts Data

The Bureau of Economic Analysis produces regional accounts data based on tax returns that shows total employment (including self-employed persons) and total personal income by region and industry. Local data is at the 1-digit SIC level. Data includes:

  • Gross state product
  • Annual State personal income
  • Quarterly State personal income
  • Local area personal income

Current site location:

Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

BLS Handbook of Methods

Labor Force Size and Status – Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics website provides tables showing monthly employment totals and unemployment rates for all states and metropolitan areas for 1991-2001. This data is provided through the department’s Current Employment Statistics (CES) and Local Area Unemployment Statistics programs.

Current site location:

Current Population Statistics (CPS) data can be obtained from:

Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (ES-202 program)

A cooperative data collection program involving the BLS and state employment security agencies produces industry data based on information provided by employers covered by unemployment insurance laws. This data provides monthly employment and quarterly wages by industry. The ES-202 data is the basis for benchmark employment for the Covered Employment and Wages (CEW) program and the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program.

Data provided:

  • Number of establishments by industry
  • Total wages by industry
  • Average weekly wage by industry
  • Average annual pay by industry
  • Geographic coverage of nation, states, metropolitan areas, counties
  • Industries are coded using the SIC system through 200, and NAICS thereafter.

Ownership can be distinguished (government/private). Data can only be retrieved for individual industries or groups of industries aggregated as a single unit.

Current site location:

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program

The OES program produces occupational data by surveying about 1.2 million establishments every three years. Approximately 400,000 establishments in industry sectors representing about one third of the industry base are surveyed each year. Over a three-year period all industries are surveyed.

Data provided:

  • Employment and average wages by occupation
  • Occupations are coded using the revised Standard Occupational Classification (SOC)
  • Geographic coverage of nation, states, and metropolitan areas (nation only for employment by occupation and industry).

Current site location: 

Industry-Occupation Matrix (OES) program

An important data set created from the OES program is the Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates by Industry (NAICS), traditionally known as the Industry-Occupation Matrix. This shows the detailed SOC occupations within each industry. National data is through down to the 4-digit NAICS level, with some limited 5-digit industries available. For state- or county-specific Industry-Occupation Matrices, contact the appropriate local government office, such as the Calfironia Employment Development Department, Labor Market Information Division.

Data provided:

  • Employment and average wages by occupation and industry (by 2-, 3-, 4- and 6-digit NAICS)
  • Occupations are coded using the revised Standard Occupational Classification (SOC)
  • Geographic coverage: nation.

Current site location:

Consumer Price Index

The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor determines the Consumer Price Index for the United States as well as metropolitan areas, and for specific types of buyers within each area. The index is calculated monthly and this data is used to produce an annual average. The most broadly inclusive index is for all urban consumers the CPI-U, which represents 87 percent of the total population. The CPI is calculated every month for the Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County area.

Current site location:

Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

O*NET/SOC Codes and Occupational Information

O*NET is the new government occupational classification system designed to link occupational labor market data (employment, wages) with data on occupational attributes (e.g. required skills and worker characteristics). The O*NET database includes information on occupational attributes. The US Government presents occupational labor market information using the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system, which was revised considerably in 2000. O*NET and SOC codes are directly compatible (some SOC occupations are split into more detailed O*NET occupations).

The current version of O*NET (3.1) was released in June 2001.

O*NET can be accessed through the Internet at:


Employment Development Department (EDD), Labor Market Information Division

Industry Employment, Payroll, Labor Force Size and Status, Occupational Data

EDD releases monthly employment data from the ES-202 program with only a two-week time lag (i.e., by mid-month data is available for the preceding month). While timely, the data is subject to revision as benchmarking occurs. Much of the data is rolled up to the 2-digit SIC level, reducing its usefulness for service industries. The site provides a wide range of state and county level data, including:

  • Major Employers by County
  • Monthly Labor Force Data
  • Historical Labor Force Data
  • Occupational Projections
  • Occupational Wages
  • Current Industry Employment
  • Industry Employment Projections
  • Historical Industry Trends
  • Size of Business
  • Hours and Earnings Data for Selected Industries
  • Measures of Income
  • Social & Economic Data Tables

Current site location:

Department of Finance, Demographic Research Unit

Demographic Information

The Demographic Research Unit of the California Department of Finance is designated as the single official source of demographic data for State planning and budgeting. It produces state and county level population projections broken out by ethnicity, sex and age.

Current site location:


Economic Roundtable

Sub-county Industry and Occupational Information, and Low-wage Labor Force Data

The Economic Roundtable uses administrative and confidential data from public sector sources to produce detailed labor market information about industries, occupations, communities, and workers in the Los Angeles region.

Current site location: