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Data Quality: 2013

Nonsampling Errors: Although every effort is made in all phases of collection, processing, and tabulation to minimize errors, the data are subject to nonsampling errors such as inability to obtain data for every variable from all units in the population of interest, inaccuracies in classification, response errors, misinterpretation of questions, mistakes in keying and coding, and coverage errors. The Data Processing section describes our efforts to mitigate errors due to nonresponse, keying, reporting errors, etc.

Modal Distribution: Each respondent that received a mail questionnaire had the option of returning the paper questionnaire, reporting data using a collection instrument, or working directly with staff members to report over the phone, fax or email. In addition, some governments have developed alternative reporting arrangements, known as central collection. The following table shows the response distribution by mode for state and local governments that reported to the 2013 Annual Survey of Public Employment & Payroll.

State Governments Local Governments
Web 24.2% 72.9%
Paper 9.9% 21.2%
Central Collection 64.8% 1.0%
Other 1.1% 4.9%

Overall Unit Response Rate: The overall unit response rate to the 2013 Annual Survey of Public Employment & Payroll was 81.4 percent. All unit response rates are well above the 60 percent Census Bureau’s quality standard. All of the 50 state governments responded to the survey. The key variables for the survey are total employment and total payroll. The unit response rate was calculated for each state as well as for the total U.S., and gives the percentage of the units in the eligible universe that actually responded to the survey.

For 2013, weighted response rates are published for each item. This rate is calculated by dividing the weighted value of the item as reported by respondents by the weighted value of the item reported for respondents and imputations for nonrespondents.

Total Quantity Response Rate: The Total Quantity Response Rate (TQRR) was also calculated for the key variables for each state. The key variables for the survey are total employment and total payroll. This response rate is computed separately for each key variable by summing the data provided by the respondents for the key variable and dividing this sum by the sum of the respondent data and the imputed data for the key variable. The result is multiplied by 100. Files of the unit response rates and TQRR’s for all states are available in the Response Rate Tabulations section below.

The Census Bureau's quality standard on releasing data products requires a 70 percent TQRR for the key variables. However, the state and local estimates of Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Washington failed to meet the 70 percent TQRR standard for at least one of the key variables.

For the state governments, there are ten states (Alaska, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, and Virginia) that are noncompliant for at least one TQRR key variable.

For the local estimates, there are fourteen states (Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington) that are noncompliant for at least one TQRR key variable.

Response Rate Tabulations

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Government Employment & Payroll | |  Last Revised: December 19, 2014