Report 2013-102 Data Reliability Assessments

Employment Development Department
Description of Data Agency Purpose of Data
Base Wage File

The Employment Development Department (EDD) uses the Base Wage File for multiple purposes, including to determine whether an individual is employed, whether an individual has retained employment, and that individual's wages. EDD also uses the Base Wage File to calculate Unemployment Insurance benefit payments.

Magnitude of Data

As of June 12, 2013, the Base Wage File contained more than 87 million wage records.

Purpose of Testing Data Reliability Determination

To calculate the number of job seekers who entered employment, the number who retained employment for six months, and their average base wage.

Not Sufficiently Reliable—We performed data-set verification procedures and electronic testing of key data elements and found a number of instances in which a single Social Security number was associated with multiple different names. According to the department, it summarizes reported wages by Social Security number when it sends the data from the Base Wage File to its CalJOBS and Job Training Automation (JTA) systems. The department asserted that it is unable to provide a true matched wage for records in its CalJOBS and JTA systems. In addition, the calculation as to whether an individual entered employment or retained employment is based on whether that individual has reported wages. Therefore, summarizing wages by Social Security number could skew these figures.

Agency Response Date October 2016
Corrective Action Recommended Status of Corrective Action

To improve the quality of the performance reporting it submits to Labor, the department should work with Labor to develop reasonable controls to avoid reporting overstated and inaccurate performance measures.

Fully Implemented—The EDD exercised due diligence by collaborating with the Department of Labor (DOL) on how to further improve the quality of performance data submitted to DOL. On September 22, 2015, DOL provided correspondence (Attachment 1) which supports that DOL is satisfied with EDD's efforts to ensure quality data is submitted. The following examples and corresponding evidence demonstrate EDD's collaboration with DOL to improve the quality of data transmitted to DOL:

-On May 5, 2014, EDD launched the upgrade of the California Job Opening Browse System (CalJOBSSM). This system upgrade includes a single-client record that significantly decreases the chance of overstated or inaccurate performance data being reported to DOL. To further support this system upgrade, we have included an excerpt from reference materials developed by our vendor, Geograhic Solution, Inc., which discusses the single-client record (Attachment 2). This document also provides information on how CalJOBSSM complies with applicable federal reporting.

-On June 19, 2013, at the request of DOL, EDD reprogrammed CalJOBSSM to automatically convert wages at or over $1,000,000 to $999,999 for both pre- and post-program wages. This change was necessary as DOL's Enterprise Reporting and Validation System is not capable of capturing wages of $1,000,000 or greater for a given quarter. The EDD's system modification allows DOL to receive wage data that more accurately reflects California's quarterly wages, as previously these wage records were rejected by DOL's data system. Although this change was made to accommodate DOL's Enterprise Reporting and Validation System, EDD continues to maintain the data which reflects the actual amount reported by the employer.
In addition, performance data is reviewed for accuracy and run through a number of edit checks before being transmitted to DOL. Anomalies identified through this process are researched and resolved prior to transmitting these data reports to DOL.

To help protect the State's citizens from identity theft, the Legislature should expressly authorize the department, on its own initiative, to share information from the Base Wage File with appropriate law enforcement officials when evidence exists of the potential misuse of Social Security numbers. If the department receives such legal authority, it should, at least annually, review the Base Wage File for associations of multiple names with a single Social Security number. The department should also establish a reasonable threshold for the number of associated names that will trigger further scrutiny from the department or referral to law enforcement.

Legislation Proposed But Not Enacted—SB 1409 would have required the Employment Development Department, if it discovers that more than one individual is using a social security number, to determine which user is legally issued that number and to provide a notification containing specified information to the other users of the number. The bill also would have required the department to keep a record of those numbers and dates of discoveries and notices, and submit a report regarding the record to the Legislature.


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