Unemployment rates and job creation numbers come and go, all based on helpful, if imperfect, sampling of a state’s economy. The reported numbers are not actual counts, but rather estimated totals extrapolated from smaller samples of a given population. The sample data is good for taking a quick pulse of an economy, but a thorough assessment takes more time.

The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages is exactly that: a census, not a sample. It’s an actual count of employment levels and wages — by place, by industry and over time. It’s the most reliable and most accurate jobs picture there is, according to Mat Barewicz, Economic and Labor Market Information Chief for the Vermont Department of Labor.

“The census is as accurate as you can get,” Barewicz says. “But it takes a long time to produce the data.”

The interactive data here shows annual averages for each super sector’s employment levels and wages. There is more variation below the surface, for example that between the pay grades of supervisors and production line workers, or jobs numbers according to more specific industry classifications. And there’s still more variation between public and private sector positions within these industries, not to mention differences in local employment landscapes.

But for a good glimpse of upper-level, statewide employment and wages, this is the place to look.

Twitter: @nilesmedia. Hilary Niles joined VTDigger in June 2013 as data specialist and business reporter. She returns to New England from the Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, where she completed...

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