An Assessment of the National Establishment Time Series (Nets) Database

52 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2017

See all articles by Keith Barnatchez

Keith Barnatchez

Colby College

Leland Dod Crane

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Ryan Decker

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Date Written: 2017-11-03

Abstract

The National Establishment Time Series (NETS) is a private sector source of U.S. business microdata. Researchers have used state-specific NETS extracts for many years, but relatively little is known about the accuracy and representativeness of the nationwide NETS sample. We explore the properties of NETS as compared to official U.S. data on business activity: The Census Bureau's County Business Patterns (CBP) and Nonemployer Statistics (NES) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). We find that the NETS universe does not cover the entirety of the Census-based employer and nonemployer universes, but given certain restrictions NETS can be made to mimic official employer datasets with reasonable precision. The largest differences between NETS employer data and official sources are among small establishments, where imputation is prevalent in NETS. The most stringent of our proposed sample restrictions still allows scope that cover s about three quarters of U.S. private sector employment. We conclude that NETS microdata can be useful and convenient for studying static business activity in high detail.

Keywords: CBP, NAICS, NETS, QCEW, Business microdata, Employment, Establishment size

JEL Classification: C81, J21, Y10, R10

Suggested Citation

Barnatchez, Keith and Crane, Leland Dod and Decker, Ryan, An Assessment of the National Establishment Time Series (Nets) Database (2017-11-03). FEDS Working Paper No. 2017-110, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3065489 or http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2017.110

Keith Barnatchez (Contact Author)

Colby College

4000 Mayflower Hill
Waterville, ME 04901-8852
United States

Leland Dod Crane

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Ryan Decker

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

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