WholeData is a data series produced by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research that provides unsuppressed County Business Patterns employment data that are consistent over time for each year since 1998.

County Business Patterns, published by the U.S. Census Bureau, offers detailed employment, business establishment, and payroll numbers each year for each detailed industry in each U.S. county or equivalent. However, these numbers are often suppressed for confidentiality reasons in small counties and industries, limiting the usefulness of the data. Moreover, as industry codes change roughly every five years, it can be difficult comparing employment in the same industry over time.

Lines of code on computer monitor

The Upjohn Institute’s WholeData overcomes these limitations by:

  1. Adapting the linear programming algorithm of Isserman and Westervelt (2006) to overcome most employment suppressions. Point estimates of employment are often available even at the 6-digit NAICS industry for most counties.
  2. Bridging and harmonizing industry codes to the 2012 NAICS standard, allowing consistent definitions of industries across time.
  3. Correcting holdovers from the SIC industry classification, the predecessor to the NAICS standard, that affected official County Business Pattern data from 1998 through 2002.

WholeData thus provides near-exact and consistent employment counts for detailed industries for each U.S county from 1998 to date. It is a valuable resource for academics, labor market analysts, regional specialists, and policymakers seeking to better understand the dynamics of local labor markets.

The Upjohn Institute is willing to provide the data free of charge to qualified academic researchers, and for a nominal charge to other analysts. Those interested in accessing the data may contact Brad Hershbein with a summary of a few sentences on the intended use of the data.