CES Overview


The Current Employment Statistics (CES) program is a monthly survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The survey provides employment, hours, and earnings estimates based on payroll records of business establishments.

Data Available

Data produced from the CES survey include nonfarm employment series for all employees, production and nonsupervisory employees, and women employees, as well as, average hourly earnings, average weekly hours, and average weekly overtime hours (in Manufacturing industries) for both all employees and production and nonsupervisory employees.

Most employment series begin in 1990, although employment by aggregate industry sector and most major industry sectors is published since 1939.

About 2,200 not seasonally adjusted employment series for all employees, production and nonsupervisory employees, and women employees are published monthly. The series for all employees include over 900 industries at various levels of aggregation.

Approximately 2,700 all employees and production and nonsupervisory employees series for average hourly earnings, average weekly hours, and, in Manufacturing, average weekly overtime hours are published monthly on a not seasonally adjusted basis and cover nearly 700 industries.

About 4,900 seasonally adjusted employment, hours, and earnings series for all employees, production and nonsupervisory employees, and women employees are published.

Over 9,000 not seasonally adjusted special derivative series such as average weekly earnings, indexes, and constant dollar series for all employees and production and nonsupervisory employees are also published for approximately 700 industries.

Coverage

Payroll employment includes nonagricultural industries.

Hours and earnings are produced for all private-sector employees on business payrolls and also for production and nonsupervisory employees. Production and nonsupervisory employees include production employees in Mining and logging and Manufacturing, construction employees in Construction, and nonsupervisory employees in Private service-providing industries.

Reference Period

The survey reference period is the pay period including the 12th of the month. This can vary according to an establishment's length of pay period, a factor taken into account when compiling the data.

Source of Data

The Current Employment Statistics Program is a Federal-State cooperative program. The CES survey is based on approximately 144,000 businesses and government agencies representing approximately 554,000 worksites throughout the United States.

Industry Classification

CES data are classified according to the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

Forms of Publication

Uses

The CES monthly employment series are the first economic indicator of current economic trends each month, together with the unemployment rate, and are inputs to many gauges of the U.S. economy including:

  • The overall health of the economy (employment)
  • Earnings trends and wage-push inflation (average hourly earnings)
  • Short-term fluctuations in demand (average weekly hours)

CES employment series are inputs into other major economic indicators:

  • Personal Income (aggregate earnings)
  • Industrial Production (aggregate hours in Manufacturing, Mining, and Public utilities)
  • Index of Leading Economic Indicators (average weekly hours of production employees in Manufacturing)
  • Index of Coincident Indicators (employment)
  • Productivity measures (aggregate hours)

CES employment series can also inform other areas of business, research, and policy:

  • Public policy
  • Wage negotiations
  • Economic research and planning
  • Industry studies

 

Last Modified Date: February 7, 2014