CES Data Access Tips
This page provides quick, easy instructions on how
to extract Employment, Hours, and Earnings data from the Current
Employment Statistics survey.
Connect to the CES homepage at www.bls.gov/ces/.
This home page provides access to estimates of national industry
employment, hours, and earnings. It also provides access to related
resources such as press releases (including the Employment Situation), the
strike report, shipbuilding indexes, analytical tables and research
articles. The following options are available under the Get Detailed CES Statistics
section of the CES homepage.
Statistics - allows you to retrieve data from a list of the most
popular CES statistics. After opening the screen, click on the
checkbox next to each data series you want to retrieve. A check will
appear for each selection. When finished, press the Retrieve
data button and the default of 10 years of data will appear on a new
browser. At that time, the screen provides you the capability to change
2. Create Customized Tables (one
screen) is an extract tool for the entire LABSTAT database. This
offers a more efficient method of data retrieval than the Create
Customized Tables (multiple screens) method described below. To
Select one or more Data Type: A data type is one of the
data variables that are published. Each data type indicates
its unit of measurement. To select a data type, click on the data
type name from the list. If you do not wish to scroll
through the entire list of data types, use the data type find box
(described below). To select more than one data type, press Ctrl
before clicking on each additional data type.
Data Type Find
Box: Type all or part of the Data Type in the text box, and
click on the Find button. The cursor will move to the first
"match" in the Data Type list; repeated clicks of the Find button
will move the cursor to the next match in the list.
Step 2 Select
one or more Super Sectors. Depending
upon the data type(s) selected in Step 1, a list of the available super
sectors appears in a list box. Click on the super sector name you
want to retrieve. To select more than one super sector, press the
Ctrl key before clicking on each additional super sector.
Step 3 Select an
Industry: Depending upon your selections in Steps 1 and 2, a
list of all available industries appears in the list box. Click on
the industry name you want to retrieve. If you do not wish to
scroll through the entire list of industries, use the Industry find box
(described below). To select more than one industry, press the
Ctrl key before clicking on each additional industry.
Box: Type all or part of the Industry of interest in the text
box, and click on the Find button. The cursor will move to the
first "match" in the Industry list; repeated clicks of the Find
button will move the cursor to the next match in the list.
4 Select Seasonal Adjustment
Select not seasonally adjusted and/or seasonally adjusted data
series by clicking the check box next to the desired seasonal adjustment
option(s). Note: If the data are not available, the text
next to the check box is dimmed and it can be disregarded. Time
series data are seasonally adjusted to eliminate the effect of
predictable variations that occur during the same period every
5 Get Data: After completing steps 1-4, the
Get Data button becomes active. Click to retrieve the data.
Add To Your Selection: After
completing steps 1-4, the Add To Your Selection button also becomes
active. Click this button to add the currently selected data series as
part of your query. Clicking on the button adds your selection to
the list in the "Your Selections" box; multiple selections can be added in
this manner. Click the Get Data button to retrieve all the selected
data series with one command.
6 After clicking the Get Data button, a
new window will open displaying, by default, a ten-year table of data
for each time series selected in your query. If this is
not the desired format, then use the following options to
change output formats.
Change output options: On
the page containing the original output there are three options to change
Change length of time
series data - To change the length of the series, select the years
from either (or both) the "From" and "To" list boxes. The list
contains all years available for the particular
Add a graph -
click on the checkbox next to "include graphs NEW!" to
add a line graph for each of your time series.
When completed with the
options above, press the GO button to receive the newly formatted
time series output. You can repeat changing the output as many times
options - click on More Formatting Options to open a new screen and
change the output in the following manners:
Select view of the data:
This sections allows you view the original data, a variety of different
net changes of the series, and a variety of different net percentage
changes of the series. Click the checkbox next to the option you
prefer to view. The section also allows you to view your time
series data in either Column or Table format.
Select the time frame: This section
allow you to select the timeframe for your time series data. The
section is divided into two parts, the first being the number of years
where you can select All years or a specified range of years. The lower
part allows you to choose the time period, either "All time periods" or
a specified time period from a drop-down list.
Output type: This section
allows you to select an HTML table or Text. If you want the text
output, you have the option of comma delimited or tab delimited
Graphs - click on the checkbox next
to "include graphs" to add a line graph for each of your
When completed with the
options above, press the Retrieve data button to receive the newly
formatted time series output. You can repeat changing the output as
many times as needed.
3. Create Customized Tables
(multiple screens) is an extract tool for the entire LABSTAT database.
Proceed through the five window screens of user input. Follow the
menu and click on Next Form after each selection:
1. Choose unadjusted or seasonally adjusted data.
Click on the appropriate box(es), e.g., not seasonally adjusted.
Choose SuperSector: Click on the super sector(s) of
interest. To select more than one super sector, press the Ctrl key
before clicking on each additional super sector.
Choose the Data type, e.g., 08 Average Hourly
Earnings. See list of data
types. Hint: to select more than one item, hold down the Ctrl
key before clicking on each additional data type.
Choose Industry: Depending upon your selections in the previous
steps, a list of all available industries appears in the list box.
Scroll down the list until you see the
name of the industry of interest. The ordering is based on a
eight-digit CES tab code whose last six digits indicate the
NAICS code of the series. For example, 31334000 is the code for
NAICS 334000, computer and electronic product manufacturing. To
select more than one industry, press the Ctrl key before clicking on
each additional industry.
Note: When selecting an
industry in the Manufacturing sector, the first two digits of the CES
tab code state whether the industry is part of Durables goods (31) or
Nondurable goods (32). Since the ordering is based on the
eight-digit CES tab code, all industries in Durable goods are listed
first, then the Nondurable industries.
Alternatively, use the text search
feature and type keywords, such as 'Electronic manufacturing'.
Or use the Code search feature and type a code such as '31334*'.
Choose output format .
Choose a Time
frame from the provided list, e.g., 2003-2004.
Choose a Format
from the provided list. The default is Table (Rows:
Year, Columns: Period).
Choose HTML table
(default) or text list. If you want text, you are given
the option to choose whether you want your data in catalog (default is
yes) and the type of text delimiter (tab, space (default), or
Enter the number of
characters per line (default =400).
Note: You may wish to save the
series ID(s) generated from this query for later use in Series
Report. To save the resulting series ID(s), cut and paste to a
Press Retrieve data and your
selected data appears on a new screen.
4. Series Report is an
extract tool that allows you to retrieve data by providing a Series
ID. After the screen opens, enter the Series ID in the text
box. Choose CES
Series ID format, to view details on Series ID format.
Afterwards, select each of the following: the years for your time series
from the list, Column or Table (default) format, HTML Table
(default) or Text format, and number of characters per line (default
=400). When completed, press Retrieve Data and your selected
data appears on the next screen.
5. Flat Files (FTP) - is an
extract tool allowing you to open and view or transfer a file of time
series data using File Transfer Protocol. Selecting this option opens your
FTP software and displays the names of the files available for
transfer. The display differs depending upon your FTP
software. Use your software to select, then transfer the
files. Information about these files are
contained in a file named ce.txt .
6. Historical 'B' tables
provides historical times series data from the 'B' tables of the
Employment Situation news release. Select the item of interest. (If data
of interest does not appear on this page, use Create
Customized Tables (one screen)) On the next window, select
industries (scroll down as necessary). Click on Retrieve data
at the bottom of the page and a new window will
open displaying a ten-year table of data, the default results, for each
time series selected in your query. If this is not the
desired format, then use options on the screen to change
7. Discontinued Historical CES
Data by SIC, through April 2003 only provides access to the SIC-based
times series data that was halted after April 2003. Selecting this
link allows you to retrieve SIC data using the Most Requested
Series, Create Customized Tables (one screen), Create Customized
Tables (multiple screens), Series Report and Flat File (FTP)
methods; These are the same methods as mentioned above, though the
results will be for SIC industries.
For other employment data, (state & area, occupational employment, and labor force statistics & wages) see the Overview of BLS Statistics on Employment and the Bureau of Labor Statistics home page.
Other BLS data and phone numbers are available on the BLS Contacts page.
For further help regarding these instructions, call CES at
Last Modified Date: October 19, 2012