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Source of Data - Maryland's Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) - OWIP


Data contained in this report represents all employers covered by the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Law of Maryland as well as federal workers covered by 5 U.S.C. section 85 (Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees). The state-insured data are compiled from quarterly contributions reports submitted by employers subject to the Maryland law. Included are all reports received plus estimates for those known to be delinquent. Incomplete reports have missing data elements estimated as necessary to provide useful data. Employers known to have more than one physical location operating in Maryland are requested to "breakdown" the data submitted. A Multiple Worksite Report completed by an employer allows data to be disaggregated into reporting units. Employment data pertaining to the federal government are obtained from similarly required reports submitted by the various government installations located in Maryland.


An employer is subject to Maryland's Ul Law as soon as one or more workers are employed in the state. The following types of wage and salary employment are currently exempt from this coverage:

  • Railroad workers
  • Agricultural labor where cash wages are less than $20,000 or fewer than 10 workers are employed during the current or preceding quarter
  • Domestic service unless during any quarter of the current or preceding calendar year the employer pays cash wages of at least $1,000 to individuals performing the employment
  • Crew members and officers of vessels having a capacity of 10 tons or less
  • State and local government elected officials
  • Religious organization workers except where employment is elected to be covered as provided for in the law
  • Insurance and real estate agents that receive payment solely by commission

In addition to the wage and salaried workers listed above, all self-employed and family workers are not covered by the law.

A more complete definition of covered workers may be obtained by referring to the annotated code of Maryland.

Federal employment represents civilian employees only. A few installations are exempt because of national security.


AVERAGE WEEKLY WAGE PER WORKER - The total wages paid divided by thirteen (number of weeks in a quarter) then divided by the quarterly average employment. It should be noted that no attempt is made to standardize the workweek. Industries that employ a large number of part-time workers will normally have a downward bias while those that engage in extensive payment of overtime will normally have an upward bias.

BALTIMORE MSA - The Baltimore MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) consists of Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard and Queen Anne's counties.

EMPLOYMENT - The number of workers earning wages during the pay period including the 12th of the month. Included are those on paid sick leave, paid holiday, paid vacation, etc. The count excludes those who did not earn wages during the entire pay period because of layoffs, work stoppages, illness or unpaid vacation. Individuals on more than one payroll are counted each time they are reported. Employment is by reporting unit and is included in the area in which the unit is located.

INDUSTRY - The type of activity(s) engaged in by an employer are classified according to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Where more than one activity is involved, the dominant activity is used for classification. When an employer has more than one reporting unit, each unit is assigned to an industry based on the activity of that specific unit. Included in the Unclassified category are those units for which no industry can be assigned.

MARYLAND PORTION D.C. MSA - The Maryland portion of the Washington, D.C. MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) consists of Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George's counties.

NONDISTRIBUTABLE - This is the area designation for reporting units that cannot be assigned to one specific area. This includes sales and other personnel with no permanent place of work or established place of business in the state.

EMPLOYER/REPORTING UNIT - An employer is the legal entity subject to the Unemployment Insurance law. In most cases the employer is equivalent to the establishment or reporting unit, while in some cases the employer will include several establishments or reporting units. A reporting unit is the economic unit for which data is submitted by an employer. Reporting units are, for the most part, individual establishments. An establishment is generally defined as a single physical location where primarily one type of economic activity is conducted. An employer may have more than one reporting unit; however, most employers operate only one place of business and therefore have only one reporting unit. In Maryland, approximately 1,900 employers have more than one reporting unit and account for approximately 17,700 of the total number of units.

QUARTERLY AVERAGE EMPLOYMENT - The result of summing the employment reported in each of the three months of the quarter and then dividing by three.

SIZE CLASS - Each reporting unit is assigned to a category based on the employment reported for the third month of the quarter. Because of employment fluctuations within the quarter, the average employment per reporting unit may fall outside the indicated size class. For example, size zero shows employment for the first two months of the quarter and will result in an average quarterly employment figure greater than zero. Employment of zero is often reported one or more months for employers entering or leaving the market place as well as those that operate seasonally.

TOTAL WAGES - The sum of all compensation for services. This includes bonuses, commissions, tips and the cash value of all compensation in any medium other than cash such as the value of meals and lodging.


Although this data represents the largest universe of employment and wage information regularly available, there are some limitations associated with the use of the data presented in this report. The user should be aware of the following in making use of the data presented here:

  • Terms used in this report have specific meanings and may not be the same as in other publications even though the terms appear to be the same.
  • All data represents the best available estimates at the time the report was prepared. Once the data are prepared, they are not revised based on later information.
  • Data reported by employers are edited and corrected, however not all reporting errors are able to be discerned.
  • Total wages are based on when the wages were paid and not when they were earned. Bonuses and different pay periods may cause the figures to fluctuate from quarter to quarter.
  • Industry and area designations are updated once a year as necessary when additional information warrants a change. This occurs in the first quarter report and thus data from previous reports may not always be comparable.
  • Employers may change the way they report if they have more than one establishment. Employers may begin to report by more than one reporting unit or may elect to revert back to reporting only one unit.

Inquiries regarding methodology, additional information, or general assistance may be directed to:

Maryland Department of Labor
Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning
Office of Workforce Information and Performance

1100 North Eutaw Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201