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Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) (Time Series: 1990 - present)

The Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) dataset is now available via the API.

The QWI are a set of 32 economic indicators including employment, job creation/destruction, wages, hires, and other measures of employment flows. The QWI are reported based on detailed firm characteristics (geography, industry, age, size) and worker demographics (sex, age, education, race, ethnicity) and are available tabulated to national*, state, metropolitan/micropolitan areas, county, and workforce investment areas (WIA). The QWI are unique in their ability to track both firm and worker characteristics over time – enabling analyses such as a longitudinal look at wages by worker sex and age across counties, ranking job creation rates of young firms across NAICS industry groups, and comparing hiring levels by worker race and education levels across a selection of metropolitan areas.

*National Data not yet available in the API.

For more information on the QWI

For information on other LEHD data products

Parameters/Variables in a QWI API Call

Basic Settings - Endpoint, Indicator, Geography, Time, Key

  • Required: One endpoint – listed above.
    • sa?” - Sex/Age
    • se?” - Sex/Education
    • rh?” – Race/Ethnicity
  • Required: At least one indicator in the “get” statement.
    • get=Emp
    • Indicator text is case sensitive, multiple indicators should be separated by commas
  • Required: At least one geography in the “for” statement.
    • for=state:02” requests State data by FIPS code for Alaska
  • Optional: One geography in the “for” statement plus a geography in the  “in” statement.
    • for=county:001&in=state:24” requests county 001 (Allegany) in state 24 (Maryland)
    • for=county:*&in=state:24” requests all counties in state 24 (Maryland)
  • Required: At least one time (year, quarter) selection, formatted using “time” to include both year and quarter or separately requesting “year” and “quarter, as shown below.
    • time=2012-Q1”   or
    • "time=2012"  or
    • year=2012” and “quarter=1
  • All selections in the “get” statement must be separated by commas, all selections in the “for” statement must be separated by the ampersand (“&”) character.
  • Default values for other categorical variables are assumed if not specified. Example showing the minimum requirements for a fully-formed basic query:




  • Select desired Indicators using the “get” statement.
  • View available Indicators.

Worker Characteristics


  • Select desired Worker Characteristics as a “predicate” (matching QWI Endpoint required).
  • View available agegrp characteristics.
  • View available sex characteristics.
  • View available education characteristics.
  • View available race characteristics.
  • View available ethnicity characteristics.



  • Select the desired NAICS Industry classification codes as a “predicate”. Characteristics can be NAICS Sectors, NAICS 3-digit or NAICS 4-digit codes.
  • View available industry characteristics.

Firm Age/Size


  • Select the desired Firm Age or Firm Size characteristics as a “predicate” using the “&”. Firm Age/Size data are only available for private jobs (i.e. A05 ownership).  Firm Age and Firm Size cannot be selected at the same time. 
  • View available firmsize characteristics.
  • View available firmage characteristics.



  • Select the desired Geography codes as a “predicate”. If selecting a substate geography, use “&in”, if selecting state-level data, use “&for”.  Geographies can be states, counties, metropolitan/micropolitan areas (i.e. CBSAs that are within state) or Workforce Investment Board areas (WIB) codes. For the latter two areas, substitute “metropolitan+statistical+area/micropolitan+statistical+area” or “workforce+investment+area” for “county” in the above example.
  • View available geography codes.



  • Select the desired Year and Quarter as a “predicate”.
  • View data availability by state at the QWI Loading Status page.



  • Select the desired Ownership codes as a “predicate”.
  • View available ownercode characteristics.

Advanced Queries

  • Get data for all Counties in a State:
  • Get data for all characteristics in a Firm or Worker Characteristic category:
  • Get data for multiple indicators and multiple States:
  • Get data for a time range:
    api.census.gov/data/timeseries/qwi/sa?get=Emp&for=county:*&in=state:02&time=from 2010-Q1 to 2010-Q3&sex=1&sex=2&agegrp=A02&agegrp=A07&ownercode=A00&seasonadj=U&industry=11&key=[userkey]
  • Get data for a disparate set of years and/or quarters:

Data Limitations

  • Wildcards (“*”) can currently only be used to select all Counties within a state or all Metro/Micro Areas within a state.  State and Workforce Investment Area wildcards will be made available in a future update.
  • The “get” statement can hold categorical variable names in addition to indicator names. Adding a variable name includes that column in the query results and returns all characteristics for that categorical variable (with the exception of “year” and “quarter”).
  • Commas can be used to select multiple indicators, multiple geographies, and multiple years/quarters. Multiples for other categories must be added using the complete parameter string (i.e. “&industry=11&industry=112&industry=1123”).
  • A cardinality limit of 400,000 cells has been placed on query requests. Any query with the potential to return more than 400,000 cells (based on the number of values available in the categories listed in the “get” statement) will not be sent to the server. This protects Census Bureau servers from extreme user load. To calculate the cardinality of a query, multiply together the possible number of values (not the requested number of values) for each category in the “get” statement. The possible values for each category can be found by looking at the label files linked-to in each section above. (For example, in the case of geography, the cardinality for “agegrp” alone is 9 and the cardinality for “agegrp” and “sex” is 9*3=27. In the case of geography, the cardinality is set by the largest number possible in one state. For “counties”, that is 254 counties for Texas, which applies even if you are requesting data for a different state.)
  • Status flags exist for all indicators – simply add “s” to the beginning of an indicator name (i.e. sEmp or sSep) and include it in your "get" statement. We recommend including status flags in all queries as they are crucial for determining whether values are normal, suppressed, or significantly distorted.
  • Seasonally Adjusted (“&seasonadj=U”) and Periodicity (“&periodicity=Q”) variables are included in the QWI schema, but only data for not seasonally adjusted and quarterly data currently exist.
  • Worker characteristics from only one pair of Sex/Age, Sex/Education, and Race/Ethnicity can be selected at a time.
  • Not all indicators are available in all quarters, as most require leading or lagging data for calculation. Some indicators, such as TurnOvrS, SepSnx, EarnSepS, require two leading quarters in order to calculate. Please refer to the QWI 101 [PDF <1.0 MB] document for specific time constraints by indicator.
  • Characteristics from only one of Firm Age or Firm Size can be selected (i.e. Firm Age cannot be crossed with Firm Size)
  • Firm Age/Size is available for “All Private” employment (“A05” ownership) only
  • Firm Age/Size at the NAICS Subsector and NAICS Industry Group levels is only available when State-level geographies are selected
  • Firm Age/Size at the NAICS Subsector (3-digit) and NAICS Industry Group (4-digit) levels is only available when State-level geographies are selected.

The data provided represent official statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Do not alter the precision of data values when storing or formatting them for display, or the results may disagree with the official releases. All products developed using these data files must attribute the data source as the U.S. Census Bureau. Include the originating program name for the benefit of your users.


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