QCEW Area Code Guide

This is a brief guide for users on the various types of area codes used for QCEW data in the BLS publication databases and data files. These notes are applicable to both NAICS and SIC coded QCEW data, the later of which are available for reference periods from 1975 to 2000.


Code and Title Lists

See www.bls.gov/cew/doctoc.htm for links to lists of QCEW area codes and titles.


Code Types

All codes are 5 characters in length.


1) The most common area codes are for the county level records. In these cases, the area code is formed from the 2-digit state FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) and the 3-digit county FIPS code.

An example of this type of area code, and its corresponding title is:

47037     Davidson County, Tennessee

2) Statewide data follows the same convention as the county level data substituting three zeros for the county FIPS code.

An example of this type of area code, and its corresponding title is:

21000     Kentucky -- Statewide

3) Special national codes begin with US in the first 2 positions of the area code.

An example of this type of area code, and its corresponding title is:

USMSA     U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (combined)

4) Area codes for Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) based on the definitions introduced in June of 2003 are based on the 5-digit MSA codes for those MSAs. However, in order to take advantage of existing software and systems, only the first 4 digits of the new 5-digit MSA codes are used to make up the new area code. (For all new MSAs, the 5th digit of the new MSA code is zero). To make up the full 5 character area code field, the letter C precedes the first 4-digits of the new MSA code to make up the 5 character area code.

An example of this type of area code, and its corresponding title is:

C3310     Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach, FL MSA

Note that there were revisions to the June 2003 Area definitions released by OMB beginning in February 2004. The QCEW program has incorporated those and subsequent changes in a manner that attempts to minimize the burden on users to relate MSA coded QCEW data for different periods of time. A web page more fully discussing the variations in MSA codes as applied to QCEW is still under preparation.

5) Area codes for Combined Statistical Areas (CSAs) based on the definitions introduced in June of 2003 are based on the 3-digit CSA codes for those CSAs. To make up the full 5 character area code field, the letters CS precede the 3 digits of the new CSA code to make up the 5 character area code.

An example of this type of area code, and its corresponding title is:

CS176     Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City, IL-IN-WI CSA

6) Area codes for Micropolitan Statistical Areas (MicroSAs) based on the definitions introduced in June of 2003 are based on the 5-digit MicroSA codes for those areas. However, in order to take advantage of existing software and systems, only the first 4 digits of the new 5-digit MicroSA codes are used to make up the new area code. (For all new MicroSAs, the 5th digit of the new code is zero). To make up the full 5 character area code field, the letter C precedes the first 4-digits of the new MSA code to make up the 5 character area code.

An example of this type of area code, and its corresponding title is:

C3350     Minot, ND MicroSA

7) Area codes for Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) based on the definitions introduced before June of 2003 are based on the 4-digit MSA codes for those MSAs. To make up the full 5 character area code field, the letter M is added to the beginning of the 4-digit MSA code to make up the 5 character area code.

An example of this type of area code, and its corresponding title is:

M2760     Fort Wayne, In MSA

8) Area codes for Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) based on the definitions introduced before June of 2003 are based on the 2-digit CMSA codes for those CMSAs. To make up the full 5 character area code field, the letters CMS is added to the beginning of the 2-digit CMSA code to make up the 5 character area code.

An example of this type of area code, and its corresponding title is:

CMS77     Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City, Pa-NJ-De-Md CMSA


 

Last Modified Date: December 2, 2014