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Employment Data in the Woods & Poole Database

Employment Data in the Woods & Poole Database

October 5, 2022

The employment data in the Woods & Poole database are a complete measure of the number of full-time and part-time jobs by place of work.  Historical data are from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis.  The employment data include wage and salary workers, proprietors, private household employees, and miscellaneous workers.  Wage and salary employment data are based on an establishment survey in which employers are asked the number of full-time and part-time workers at a given establishment.  Because part-time workers are included, a person holding two part-time jobs would be counted twice.  Also, since the wage and salary employment data are based on an establishment survey, jobs are counted by place of work and not by place of residence of the worker;  thus, a job in the New York Metropolitan Area is counted in the New York Metropolitan Area regardless of where the worker lives.

Data on proprietors include farm and non-farm proprietors by sector.  Proprietors include not only those people who devote the majority of their time to their proprietorship, but people who devote any time at all to a proprietorship.  Thus, a person who has a full-time wage and salary job and on nights and weekends runs a small business legally defined as a proprietorship would be counted twice.  The employment data therefore include full- and part-time proprietors.   Private household employment data include persons employed by a household on the premises, such as full-time baby-sitters, housekeepers, gardeners, and butlers.  Miscellaneous employment data include judges and all elected officials, persons working only on commission in sectors such as real estate and insurance, students employed by the colleges or universities in which they are enrolled, and unincorporated subcontractors in sectors such as construction.

The employment data used by Woods & Poole comprise the most complete definition of the number of jobs by county.  Woods & Poole data may be higher than that from other sources because they measure more kinds of employment.

There are three other commonly used government sources for employment data:  the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Bureau of the Census, and the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA).  These sources of employment data differ from the data used by Woods & Poole.

The BLS establishment data are generally much lower than the Woods & Poole data because agricultural workers, the military, proprietors, households, and miscellaneous employment are not included;  the exclusion of proprietors from the BLS data are the most significant difference.

Data from the Census (and some survey data from the BLS) are based on employment by place of residence and differ fundamentally in concept from the Woods & Poole employment data by place of work;  Census employment data are generally lower than Woods & Poole data, but not always.  Since Census data are based on a household survey, persons holding two jobs would be counted only once, and, therefore, the data would be lower than Woods & Poole.  However, Census survey data for counties that have a large number of commuters and relatively few jobs within the county could yield employment data higher than Woods & Poole.

Employment data in the National Income and Product Accounts are close to Woods & Poole data, except that part-time proprietors and certain miscellaneous employees are excluded;  therefore, these data are usually lower.