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

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  • Keith Barnatchez
  • Leland Crane
  • Ryan Decker

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Keith Barnatchez & Leland Crane & Ryan Decker, 2017. "An Assessment of the National Establishment Time Series (NETS) Database," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-110, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2017-110
    DOI: 10.17016/FEDS.2017.110
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    File URL: https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/feds/files/2017110pap.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ezra Oberfield & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Nicholas Trachter & Pierre-Daniel Sarte, 2019. "Plants in Space," 2019 Meeting Papers 1507, Society for Economic Dynamics.
      • Ezra Oberfield & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte & Nicholas Trachter, 2020. "Plants in Space," Working Paper 20-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
      • Ezra Oberfield & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Pierre-Daniel Sarte & Nicholas Trachter, 2020. "Plants in Space," NBER Working Papers 27303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
      • Oberfield, Ezra & Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban & Sarte, Pierre-Daniel & Trachter, Nicholas, 2020. "Plants in Space," CEPR Discussion Papers 14823, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. J. Scott Holladay & Lawrence D. LaPlue III, 2020. "Decomposing Changes in Establishment Level Emissions with Entry and Exit," Working Papers 2020-01, University of Tennessee, Department of Economics.
    3. Nikolas Zolas & Zachary Kroff & Erik Brynjolfsson & Kristina McElheran & David Beede & Catherine Buffington & Nathan Goldschlag, 2020. "Advanced Technologies Adoption and Use by U.S. Firms: Evidence from the Annual Business Survey," Working Papers 20-40, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    4. Asquith, Brian & Goswami, Sanjana & Neumark, David & Rodriguez-Lopez, Antonio, 2019. "U.S. job flows and the China shock," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 123-137.
    5. Ben Lipsius, 2018. "Labor Market Concentration does not Explain the Falling Labor Share," 2018 Papers pli1202, Job Market Papers.
    6. Orrenius, Pia M. & Zavodny, Madeline & Abraham, Alexander, 2020. "The Effect of Immigration on Business Dynamics and Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 13014, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Pierre-Daniel Sarte & Nicholas Trachter, 2020. "Diverging Trends in National and Local Concentration," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2020, volume 35, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Lamar Pierce & Alex Rees-Jones & Charlotte Blank, 2020. "The Negative Consequences of Loss-Framed Performance Incentives," NBER Working Papers 26619, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Mathias S. Kruttli & Brigitte Roth Tran & Sumudu W. Watugala, 2019. "Pricing Poseidon: Extreme Weather Uncertainty and Firm Return Dynamics," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2019-054, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. Metin Çakır & Xiangwen Kong & Clare Cho & Alexander Stevens, 2020. "Rural Food Retailing and Independent Grocery Retailer Exits," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 102(5), pages 1352-1367, October.
    11. Geoffrey Propheter, 2020. "Does Proximity to a New Sports Facility Affect Existing Businesses’ Survival Time?," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 21(5), pages 451-476, June.
    12. Sabrina T. Howell & Filippo Mezzanotti, 2019. "Financing Entrepreneurship through the Tax Code: Angel Investor Tax Credits," NBER Working Papers 26486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Leland Crane & Ryan Decker, 2019. "Business Dynamics in the National Establishment Time Series (NETS)/Leland Crane, Ryan Decker," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2019-034, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    14. E. Mark Curtis & Ryan Decker, 2018. "Entrepreneurship and State Taxation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2018-003, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    CBP; NAICS; NETS; QCEW; Business microdata; Employment; Establishment size;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • Y10 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Data: Tables and Charts - - - Data: Tables and Charts
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General

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