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Developing and Testing the Business Research Survey

Sharon Stang and Emily Thomas


The Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) is a federal/state cooperative program that publishes a count of monthly employment and total quarterly wages. QCEW covers 98 percent of U.S. jobs. Estimates are available at the county, MSA, state and national levels by industry. To maintain accurate industry and geographic data for businesses, the QCEW program conducts the online Annual Refiling Survey (ARS). This survey asks businesses to verify or update their industry and geographic information every three years. Approximately 1.2 million establishments are solicited annually for the ARS. As a short online survey that reaches a large audience annually, this offers BLS an opportunity to append supplemental surveys after respondents complete the ARS. QCEW developed a pilot quick business survey called the Business Research Survey (BRS) and tested adding a supplement to the ARS in 2018. This paper outlines the BRS development, testing, and results.