Background on the ES-202 File

Each state is required to maintain a computerized file of employers required to pay unemployment compensation detailing the number of employees in the second week of the quarter. Employers covered by the state unemployment compensation law include:

  1. Employers who employed at least one individual (full or part-time and not necessarily the same person) on at least one day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in either that year and the preceding calendar year.

  2. Employers who paid wages for employment which totaled $1,500 or more during any calendar quarter in either that year and the preceding calendar year.

  3. Any employer who is subject to the Federal Unemployment Tax Act on its total payroll in all states subject retroactively to its first Wisconsin payroll of a calendar year.

  4. A non-profit organization (only those described in Sec. 501(c)(3) IRS Code) with at least 4 employees on at least one day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in either that year and the preceding calendar year.

  5. Agricultural employers who (a) paid cash wages for agricultural labor which totaled $20,000 or more during any calendar quarter in either that year and the preceding calendar year, or (b) employed as many as 10 individuals in some agricultural labor for some portion of a day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in either that year and the preceding calendar year.

  6. Any employers of any individual(s) in domestic service who paid cash wages of $1,000 or more during any calendar quarter in either that year and the preceding calendar year.

  7. All government units.

  8. Any other employer who has elected coverage on otherwise excluded employment.

Employers not covered by the U.C. law include railroads, entrepreneurs who have no covered employees, farmers and agricultural enterprises with less than 10 employees, domestics, church workers and those working for family corporations with pay.

For each establishment a four-digit SIC code, name, address and telephone are listed together with a letter code (A-J) identifying the number of employees by range. Because the primary purpose of the data file from the employer perspective is the calculation of unemployment compensation payments, the telephone number and addresses are in some cases the accountant/bookkeeper/payroll business which processes payroll for the company and as a result the contact listed may be in another state. Companies with more than one site are asked to report the address and type of business for each location. While cooperation of multi-site firms has increased over time, reporting is less than perfect, and addresses for multi-site locations are often not from the official mailing list. FIPS codes for county and municipality are included for each site.

Use of the ES-202 file for sampling in a local labor market requires use of these FIPS codes to identify each county within the geographic area in order to establish the total number of establishments by size and SIC code. Those establishments without a local address or without a valid postal address should be cleaned prior to mailing. The most commonly listed out-of-state addresses are for large payroll processing services which are unlikely to complete job vacancy surveys or to forward them on to the local establishment site in a timely manner (if at all). Using standard bulk mail address checking software, undeliverable addresses can be flagged for re-addressing. The size of companies as listed in the ES-202 file is subject to error when multi- site establishments list vacancies for other locations or list total company vacancies for all sites throughout the metro area or even outside of the metro area. For this reason the question on "number of employees" is included on the survey.

Experience Using the ES-202 File for Sampling

The initial mail responses in Milwaukee metro job openings surveys are usually 20 to 25 percent. Even with extensive address checking, 5 to 7 percent of surveys are returned as undeliverable due primarily to expiration of post office forwarding orders or addressee unknown. The phone number and address for these establishments are looked up in business white pages and yellow pages and follow-up calling done on those found. Of those undeliverables returned, one-third were placed in the classification of no longer in business since a newer listing could not be found or the most current telephone number was disconnected or no longer in service. Another one-third were contacted by phone and completed the survey. The balance did not answer after repeated calling.

Other Sources of Establishments Lists

For those researchers who do not have access to a state ES-202 file, establishment lists can be obtained from a number of companies which provide detail on the type of business, location and size. Prices for these lists vary widely as do the number of establishments included for a specific geographic area. For the purpose of assessing the relative coverage of both sources the listings of one vendor, GENESYS Sampling Systems, were compared with establishments in the ES-202 file for the Milwaukee metropolitan area. (For a complete description of the enhanced yellow pages frame used by GENESYS, see their web page at

Multiple listings were taken out of the GENESYS and ES-202 file, as were government and education units. In an over-enthusiastic approach to listing government multi-site locations many units listed all of their departments or individual school sites although government and education hiring is typically done centrally. (Government hiring is further complicated by union or civil service policies on transfers and internal promotion which make it difficult to identify openings for immediate hire at the unit level.) For this analysis churches, which are not included in the ES-202 file, were excluded from the GENESYS file and estate trusts were excluded from the ES-202 file. (Currently, there are almost 2,000 individual estates listed in the metro Milwaukee ES-202 file, typically paying wages to health care staff to attend to homebound elderly.)

When examined by size of company, type of business and location, the telephone directory based file had considerably more listings than the ES-202 file. Central city establishments are less likely to be included in the ES-202 file. The number of establishments located in the central city Milwaukee Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) neighborhoods and listed in the ES- 202 file made up only 57 percent of the number listed in the phone-based file. In the remainder of Milwaukee County, ES-202 listings made up 70 percent of the number of companies listed in the phone-based file. In the suburban areas of Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington Counties, ES-202 listings made up 82 percent of companies listed in the GENESYS file. Smaller establishments were much less likely to be listed in the ES-202 file, particularly those with no employees or those with no covered employees. Beauty shops and individual/family services were particularly under-represented with only 20 percent of CDBG beauty shops and 41 percent of shops in outlying areas listed in the ES-202 file when compared to telephone book listings. Real estate, insurance agents and eating/drinking establishments were also much more likely to be under-represented in the ES-202 file.

Central City (CDBG)Remainder of Milwaukee CountyOutlying 3 Counties
Number in ES- 2023,21915,28816,792
Number in GENESYS5,60421,85820,495
% of Establishments in ES-202 Compared to GENESYS by Number of Employees
Less than 5 employees38%51%59%
5 - 9 employees55%68%80%
10 - 19 employees76%82%93%
20 - 49 employees76%86%99%
50 - 99 employees80%83%98%
100- 249 employees93%84%89%
250 - 499 employees100%106%131%
500 - 999 employees180%89%136%
1000 or more employees180%120%125%
TOTAL57%70%82 %

The ES-202 file was more likely to list larger companies with 250 or more employees than the GENESYS. However, each file had cells in which there are more establishments listed than the other.

Comparison of Milwaukee Metropolitan Establishment Listings by SIC and Geographic Subareas Within the Four County Area

Standard Industrial Classification
2000 to 40005200 to 60007000 to 9000Other BusinessesALL Business Listings
Milwaukee Central City Zipcodes
53204101372319 2231015
532064132155 47338
5320837211297 179724
5321022153296 109580
5321283256386 229954
5321625188307 170690
5321847159250 170626
532332385253 98459
Sub-Total, Central City Zipcodes City35116432344 12665604
Milwaukee County Non-Central City123352949533 579821858
Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha Counties 181542207180 728020495
ALL3399111571 9057 1434447957

Standard Industrial Classification
2000 to 40005200 to 60007000 to 9000Other BusinessesALL Business Listings
Milwaukee Central City Zipcodes
5320485168152 168573
5320665459 27146
5320838100184 143465
532102288135 81326
5321290108189 156543
5321630101135 110376
532184893134 138413
532332251119 91283
Subtotal, Central City Zipcodes3487971133 9413219
Milwaukee County Non-Central City112631575953 505215288
Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha Counties 176125974794 764016792
ALL3235655111880 1363335299

Standard Industrial Classification
2000 to 40005200 to 60007000 to 9000Other BusinessesALL Business Listings
Milwaukee Central City Zipcodes
5320416204167 55442
53206 -27896 20192
53208 -111111336 259
53210065161 28254
53212-7 148197 73411
53216-5 87172 60314
53218-1 66116 32213
53233134134 7176
Subtotal, Central City Zipcodes38461211 3252385
Milwaukee County Non-Central City10721373580 7466570
Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha Counties 5416232386 -3603703
ALL16446067177 71112658

Standard Industrial Classification
2000 to 40005200 to 60007000 to 9000Other BusinessesALL Business Listings
Milwaukee Central City Zipcodes
5320484%45%48% 75%56%
5320578%40% 36% 66%45%
53206 150%41%38% 57%43%
53208 103%47%62%80% 64%
53210100%58% 46% 74%56%
53212108% 42%49% 68%57%
53216120% 54%44% 65%54%
53218102% 58%54% 81%66%
5323396%60% 47% 93%62%
Subtotal, Central City Zipcodes99%49%48% 74%57%
Milwaukee County Non-Central City91%60%62% 87%70%
Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha Counties 97%62%67% 105%82%
ALL95%59%62% 95%74%

Matching the GENESYS and ES-202 Files

Prior to matching, both files were geocoded using TIGER files enhanced with City of Milwaukee property files and U.S. Postal Service street listings to fill in gaps in the TIGER file. A series of matching programs used the geocode, company name, trade name and telephone number to establish valid matches as follows:

  1. Geocode and first ten letters of company name or trade name

  2. First four letters of company or trade name plus first eight letters of the address,

  3. First four letters of company or trade name and phone number.

The matching of the ES-202 and GENESYS files by establishment showed that, particularly for large companies, there were establishments listed in both files with direct matches. For those Milwaukee County companies listed in the ES-202 file, 67 percent were also found in the GENESYS file. For establishments with over 250 employees, 71 percent matched with the GENESYS files and appeared to have approximately the same size classification. Smaller firms listed in the ES-202 file were much less likely to match with firms in the GENESYS files; 54 percent of those with less than 5 employees matched compared with 75 percent of establishments with 5 or more employees matching.

When the matching logic was reversed and the GENESYS file was used as the base, 44 percent matched overall and 60 percent of companies with 250 or more employees successfully matched with the ES-202 file for Milwaukee County. Because there were considerably more smaller companies in the GENESYS file, a much lower match rate was shown with 34 percent of companies with 1 to 4 employees matching, 49 percent of companies with 5 to 9 employees matching and 55 percent of those with 10 or more employees matching. A random sample of establishments in each file not matching on the name, addresses/phone combinations used in the computer match were further examined manually for both files and for establishments with 250 or more employees, checking for spelling and other variations which may have caused a mismatch. After the manual search in computer records, establishments were further examined using the most recent edition of the business white and yellow pages.

A manual search was made for the sample of the GENESYS listing which did not match with listings in the ES-202 computer file to identify establishments which may have had spelling or address differences which caused the non-match. The visual search found 13 percent of the sample to be in the ES-202 file. Non-matches were further examined to verify that the address was in the most recent business listings to attempt to assess which of the group might have gone out of business. An additional 34 percent of the sample, not matching with the ES-202 file, were found in the business listings. The remaining 53 percent were called to verify address and phone number. Of these 33 percent were found to be in business at the same number, 12 percent were no longer in business or the line was disconnected, 7 percent had no answer or an answering machine, and for 2 percent a correct local listing could not be found.

Similarly, a sample of ES-202 records was examined to first look up computer records to identify matches missed because of variations of spelling or address and in the Business White and Business to Business Yellow Pages to assess whether or not an establishment may be out of business. On visual examination of the GENESYS file, 20 percent of the sample was found to actually be listed but under a slightly different listing causing a non-match. An additional 17 percent were found to be in the business listings. The remaining 63 percent were called to determine whether or not the establishment was still in business. However, fewer than two- thirds of the remaining population had local phone numbers listed even after checking local listings. Of those with local numbers, 16 percent were still in business, 5 percent were a disconnected or wrong number, and 7 percent had no answer or an answering machine. The remaining 35 percent of sampled establishments could not be found in the white or yellow pages.

ES-202 Listings Not in GENESYS* GENESYS Listings Not in ES-202**
Found in other file after manual look- up20%13%
Found in business telephone listings17%34%
Called and verified establishment active16%33%
Called and establishment no longer in business OR disconnected OR moved out of state 5%12%
Called and no answer7% 7%
Correct local phone listing could not be found 35%2%

*From a sample of the 6,099 establishments in ES-202 file and not in GENESYS.
**From a sample of the 15,803 establishments in GENESYS and not in ES-202.

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