Contents and Abstract:|
5.2 Basic Concepts and Definitions
- 5.21 Employees/Employment
- 5.22 Full-Time vs Part-Time Employees
- 5.23 Payrolls
- 5.24 Hours Worked by Part-Time Workers
5.3 Derived Employment Statistics
- 5.31 Full-Time Equivalent Employment
- 5.32 October 1986 Revision to Full-Time Equivalent Calculation Method
- 5.33 Average March Earnings
5.4 Functional Categories Unique to Employment Survey
5.5 Special Topics During Census of Governments
5-A Functional Categories Applicable to Employment Data
Governments play an important part in the national economy, not the least of which is their
role as employers. Federal, state and local government employees
accounted for 14.5 percent of the total civilian labor force in 1999.
The purpose of the employment survey is to measure the number of public employees and their
payrolls at a point in time (i.e., March) according to a detailed cross-classification by
function and type of employee (full- or part-time). During previous employment survey cycles, the Bureau has collected some additional data on topics such as labor management relations and the costs of employee benefits.
Note that beginning with the 1997 survey, the reference period was
modified from October to March (See Note 1).
As described in Chapter Two, the Census Bureau first collected data on state and local
government employment and payrolls in 1940. The Department of Labor now conducts monthly
surveys of public employment; the Bureau continues to compile detailed statistics on an
The employment survey shares many of the same concepts as the finance survey: the
individual government as its focus; the broad definition of a government to include
dependent agencies; and the functional categories. Thus, many of the sections elsewhere
in this manual apply equally to employment data.
Employment and payroll data pertain to the month of March. At present, data are
collected for the one pay period that includes March 12 (regardless of the period's
length). As described in Section 5.23, payroll data are converted to a monthly figure
for publication purposes.
Discussed below are the basic concepts and definitions that apply only to employment
Employment refers to all persons gainfully employed by and performing services for a
government. Employees include all persons paid for personal services performed from all
sources of funds, including persons paid from Federally-funded programs, paid elected
officials, persons in a paid leave status, and persons paid on a per meeting, annual,
semiannual, or quarterly basis.
Excluded from employment statistics are employees on unpaid leave, unpaid officials, pensioners, persons whose
work is performed on a fee basis, and contractors and their employees.
The classification of an employee as full- or part-time is determined by the standard
used by the reporting government itself; that is:
|Full-time employees are defined to include those persons whose hours of
work represent full-time employment in their employer government. Included are full-time temporary or seasonal employees who are working the number of hours that represent full-time employment.|
|Part-time employees are those persons who work less than the standard
number of hours for full-time work in their employer government. Excluded are full-time temporary or seasonal employees who are working the number of hours that represent full-time employment.|
Payroll amounts are gross payrolls for the pay period that includes March 12. Gross payrolls
includes all salaries, wages, fees, overtime, premium and night differentials, commissions, bonuses, or awards paid to employees
before withholdings for taxes,insurance, etc. It excludes employer share of fringe benefits
like retirement, Social Security, health and life insurance, and the value of living quarters and subsistence allowances furnished to employees.
Data collected for the one pay period that includes March 12 are converted to monthly
figures using the following conversion factors:
|Frequency of Pay Period ||Conversion Factor
|Twice a month ||2.000
First collected during the October 1986 survey, these data represent the number of hours
worked by part-time employees during the pay period. Note that these data are not collected
for publication but rather are used to calculate full-time equivalent employment data (see
From the employment data collected from state and local governments, the Census Bureau
computes certain derived statistics, as follows:
Full-time equivalent employment is a derived statistic that provides an estimate of a
government's total full-time employment by converting part-time employees to a full-time
amount. To the actual number of full-time employees reported is added the number of
employees that could have been employed if the reported number of hours worked by part-time
employees had been worked by full- time employees instead.
These statistics are computed for each functional category of a government using the
||Part-Time Hours Paid
||Standard Number of Hours for Full-Time Employees in that Government
The method for calculating full-time equivalent employment based on part-time hours worked
has been in use since the 1986 employment survey. Prior to the 1985 survey, the Bureau used
a different method, one based on payrolls. (For the October 1985 employment survey no
full-time equivalent employment data were calculated.)
This payroll method computed full-time equivalent employment for each functional category of
a government using the following formula:
||Full-Time Payrolls + Part-Time Payrolls
This payroll-based method was discontinued when "hours of work" data became more generally
available as a result of changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Average March earnings is a derived statistic representing the average monthly payroll per
full-time employee. This statistic is computed for each functional category of a government
using the following formula:
|Full-Time Employee March Payrolls|
|Number of Full-Time Employees|
Average earnings data may not convert to accurate annual earning rates because of overtime,
unusual situations (e.g., special events, natural disasters), and such factors as employees
who are paid only during 9 or 10 months of the year (especially in education and natural
Other factors affecting average March earnings rates include (1) the proportion of highly
trained or skilled personnel, (2) the concentration of employees in metropolitan or urban
areas where the cost-of-living is higher, and (3) the exclusion of housing, meals, or other
"in kind" compensation which may be provided to employees (especially for hospitals).
The employment survey uses certain functional categories, or more accurately sub-categories,
that are not found in the finance survey. They are defined below:
Elementary and Secondary Education,
- Instructional Employees--Includes personnel engaged in teaching and related academic
research as well as teachers at hospitals and agricultural experiment stations and farms.
- Other Higher Education Employees--Includes all noninstructional employees.
Noninstructional employees at hospitals and outpatient clinics operated by higher education
institutions and serving the general public are excluded from Higher Education and
reported under the Hospitals (code 36) or Health (code 32) function,
respectively. Likewise, agricultural extension services employees and noninstructional
employees at agricultural experiment stations and farms are excluded from Higher Education and reported under the Other Natural Resources (code 59) function.
All Other School System Employees,
- School Instructional Employees--Includes not only classroom teachers, but also principals,
supervisors of instruction, teacher aides, substitute teachers, school librarians, library
aides, and guidance personnel.
- Includes administrative and clerical personnel; plant operation, maintenance, and custodial personnel; cafeteria, bus transportation, health, recreation, student, and all other employees. Exclude contractors and employees of contractors. Report as part-time all student employees and other employees whose hours of work are less than standard full-time work hours.
- Police Officers--Includes personnel with the power of arrest ("sworn" officers).
- Other Police Protection Employees
- Firefighters--Includes personnel trained and/or engaged in fire suppression and
- Other Fire Protection Employees
During the quinquennial census of governments, the Bureau frequently collects additional
information about public employment.
Data on Labor Management Relations provide statistics on state and local employees who
belong to employee organizations, governments with a labor relations policy, contractual
agreements between governments and employee bargaining units, employees covered by
contractual agreements, and employee bargaining units.
Data on Government Costs for Employee Benefits provide statistics on state and local
government costs for providing selected benefits for their employees, such as Federal
Social Security, retirement, unemployment compensation insurance, disability insurance,
life insurance, hospital/medical insurance, uniform and equipment allowances, bonuses and
cash awards, and other benefits. This report also contains information on the number of
current state and local government employees covered by Federal Social Security.
- The reference period for measuring government employment was October from 1946-1956. In 1957, the reference period was changed to April. However from 1958-1995, the reference period returned to October. Effective with the 1997 Census of Governments, the reference period was changed from October of the calendar year to March of the calendar year. As a result, there was no annual survey of government employment covering the October 1996 period.