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Current Employment Statistics - CES (National)

2019 CES Preliminary Benchmark Revision

In accordance with usual practice, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is announcing the preliminary estimate of the upcoming annual benchmark revision to the establishment survey employment series. The final benchmark revision will be issued in February 2020 with the publication of the January 2020 Employment Situation news release.

Each year, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey employment estimates are benchmarked to comprehensive counts of employment for the month of March. These counts are derived from state unemployment insurance (UI) tax records that nearly all employers are required to file. For national CES employment series, the annual benchmark revisions over the last 10 years have averaged plus or minus two-tenths of one percent of total nonfarm employment. The preliminary estimate of the benchmark revision indicates a downward adjustment to March 2019 total nonfarm employment of -501,000 (-0.3 percent).

Preliminary benchmark revisions are calculated only for the month of March 2019 for the major industry sectors in table 1. The existing employment series are not updated with the release of the preliminary benchmark estimate. The data for all CES series will be updated when the final benchmark revision is issued.

Table 1 shows the March 2019 preliminary benchmark revisions by major industry sector. As is typically the case, many of the individual industry series show larger percentage revisions than the total nonfarm series, primarily because statistical sampling error is greater at more detailed levels than at an aggregated level.

Table 1. National Current Employment Statistics March 2019
Preliminary Benchmark Revisions by Major Industry Sector
(in thousands)

Total nonfarm

-501 -0.3

Total private

-514 -.4

Mining and logging

-16 -2.2


-9 -.1


-3 (2)

Trade, transportation, and utilities

-104 -.4

Wholesale trade (1)

-32.8 -.6

Retail trade (1)

-146.4 -.9

Transportation and warehousing (1)

78.7 1.4

Utilities (1)

-3.5 -.6


33 1.2

Financial activities

20 .2

Professional and business services

-163 -.8

Education and health services

-69 -.3

Leisure and hospitality

-175 -1.1

Other services

-28 -.5


13 .1

(1) Series are part of trade, transportation, and utilities.
(2) Less than 0.05 percent.

Last Modified Date: August 21, 2019