Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

Electronic Data Reporting

Chapter 3 - Standardized Reporting Procedures

The CES and the MWR programs collect 17 data elements that are common to both programs. BLS has standardized these common data elements and their associated field specifications and descriptions. These data elements are then incorporated into two standardized flat file formats of equal length.

Each CES and MWR file format begins with the 17 common data elements and are 350 characters long; the first 152 characters in both file formats are exactly the same. The remaining characters in each file format contain the data elements that are unique to each program.

These standardized layouts are designed to reduce your start-up programming costs and should substantially simplify the process for creating these files. Field specifications and detailed data element descriptions for these standardized flat file formats are contained in Appendices A and C for the CES program and Appendix B for the MWR.

3.1 Types of Data Elements

Each data element is categorized by one of three types based on how critical the data element is for processing and on the likelihood of the element being available to the employer. The three categories are as follows:

Required — A data element without which BLS cannot process the data received. It is imperative that the "required" elements are provided with each live submittal and that they are accurate. Failure to provide accurate "required" elements may result in the loss of EDI participation until BLS is assured of compliance.

Conditional — (For CES program only) A data element that is required depending on whether another related data element is reported. For example, if you report payroll and/or hours data, then either the Start and End of Pay Period, or the Length of Pay Period Code is required.

Optional — A data element that is not essential for processing, but is important for maintaining accurate and up-to-date employer information. Please include all optional data elements if they are available.

3.2 Establishments and Reporting Levels


Firms are organized differently and the definition of an establishment may vary from firm to firm. BLS defines an establishment as an economic unit that produces goods or services, usually at a single physical location, and is engaged in one or predominantly one activity.

Reporting Levels

BLS prefers data to be reported at the establishment level.

This reporting level allows each location to be included in the proper geographical area.

For each program (CES or MWR), the employer should generate a data record in the standardized flat file format for each establishment (or each payroll frequency for CES) and transmit all available data records for that program in a single transmission to the EDI Center.

3.3 Business Identification Information

Both programs use six data elements to differentiate and identify each physical location of an employer. These six items are:

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Appendix A, B, C, D, E, F

Last Modified Date: September 29, 2005

Recommend this page using: