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Identifying and Accounting for Mergers and Acquisitions in Measuring Employment

Gordon Mikkelson, Linda I. Unger, and Doreen LeBel


The dynamic U.S. economy causes many challenges to accurately measuring employment and wages. One of the more difficult areas is accounting for mergers and acquisitions, also called predecessors and successors. Inaccurate or incomplete measurement leads to overestimation. This paper profiles research findings and describes implementation into the BLS' Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program, which is the BLS sampling frame and source of a number of economic series. QCEW data are used to identify job growth and decline. The QCEW program is about to implement an initiative to improve the linkage of transfers of businesses from one record to another. This will clearly distinguish births and deaths from expansions and contractions, recognize possible duplicate or missing reporting, and better target potential linkages using wage records and scoring techniques.