Change in Schedule of the County Employment and Wages News Release


The Bureau of Labor Statistics has changed the schedule of the County Employment and Wages news release. This change allows BLS to publish highlights from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) data two weeks earlier than was previously possible, followed by a release of the full detail from QCEW.

Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages Release Schedule
Reference PeriodCounty Employment and Wages News Release QCEW Full Data Release

2017 Fourth quarter

May 23, 2018 June 7, 2018

2018 First quarter

August 22, 2018 September 5, 2018

2018 Second quarter

November 21, 2018 December 10, 2018

2018 Third quarter

February 20, 2019 March 6, 2019

BLS has changed the release schedule for two reasons. The first is to share QCEW data for all states faster. The second is to release the data before the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) publishes quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data, which uses the most recent QCEW wage data.

BEA personal income estimates are heavily based on QCEW wages. For their earliest estimates, BEA uses Current Employment Statistics (CES) data to project wages. After BLS shares QCEW data with BEA, the GDP estimates are updated, replacing the CES-based forecast with QCEW wage data.

After reviewing our procedures, BLS decided we can begin issuing the County Employment and Wages news release earlier.

  • The first release will be a traditional news release, with a partial data update. This partial update will consist of the most recent monthly and quarterly levels presented in the County Employment and Wages news release tables 1, 2, and 3.
  • The release of the full data set will continue to follow the existing schedule.

Frequently Asked Questions


1. Where can I find the publication schedule for the news release and the full data update?

2. What data products are issued with the news release?

  • Current quarter data for the series included in news release tables 1-3 are added to the BLS database, but not to QCEW Data Views, QCEW Open Data, or the flat files.

  • Beginning May 23, 2018, new supplemental tables 1-3 will provide data as originally published in the news release tables, going back to the second quarter of 2003 when the release began.

    These new files will be very useful for answering questions such as 'When was the last time wages declined?' or 'When was the last time employment grew by more than X percent?' or 'How has County Z ranked over the last ten years in employment growth?'

    Before May 23rd, this location will host files from the old news release process.

3. What data products are issued with the full data update?

  • The full release has all of the data traditionally released by QCEW each quarter.
  • QCEW Data Views and QCEW Open Data are updated with the full release.
  • Beginning June 7, 2018, the traditional large set of supplementary tables is available at a new location. This new location will not be available before June 7th.
  • The flat file collection is updated with the full data update.
  • The BLS database is updated with prior quarter revisions and the usual current quarter information.
  • New annual averages are made available with fourth quarter and revised with first quarter.

4. Are the data revised between the news release and the full data update?

  • No. Both products are based on the same version of the underlying employer reports.

5. How can I get more information?

  • Contact QCEWInfo by e-mail or phone at 202.691-6567.
  • Get added to the QCEWNote, which provides email updates for data users on QCEW events. (Email or call us to be added)

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Last Modified Date: December 17, 2018