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Handbook of Methods Employment Projections Data sources

Employment Projections: Data sources

As a nonsurvey program, Employment Projections (EP) is fundamentally different from most other U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) programs. Instead of collecting primary source data through surveys or censuses, EP relies predominantly on publicly available data that are produced by other BLS programs and other government offices. In addition, BLS uses data accessed through a contract with Macroeconomic Advisers by IHS Markit.

BLS data

EP makes extensive use of BLS datasets in its projections. Data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) are used in the labor force, industry, and occupational employment projections. Current Employment Statistics (CES) data are also used to project industry employment, as are data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) data are used to project occupational employment.

Census data

EP bases labor force projections on long-term demographic projections published by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Bureau of Economic Analysis data

EP relies on the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) for the final demand and intermediate output data. The main BEA data sources are the national income and product accounts (NIPAs), the benchmark and annual input-output accounts, the International Transaction Accounts, and the Gross Output by Industry accounts.

Other sources: government

Due to the specific nature of some industries, EP also uses additional sources to estimate their historic and projected data, such as energy historical and outlook information from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the Non-Accelerating Rate of Unemployment (NAIRU) from the Congressional Budget Office.

Other sources: private

BLS also contracts with Macroeconomic Advisers by IHS Markit for use of the MA/US macroeconomic model, which contains a large number of data series and models that are integral to the EP production process.

Using all these sources, EP analysts construct a historical time series of final demand, commodity output, industry output, and industry employment. At each stage, analysts review all time series for outliers and adjust them where necessary using analyst discretion based on qualitative and statistical assessments of the relative reliability of conflicting data. Similar review processes are used for projected data. Major data sources are listed in exhibit 1 below.

Exhibit 1. Dataset components used to construct employment projections
Data Source Main use Location

BEA Gross Output tables

BEA Input-output and final demand preparation/projection

BEA Input-Output tables

BEA Input-output and final demand preparation/projection

BEA International Transaction Accounts

BEA Final demand preparation/projection

BEA NIPA tables

BEA Final demand preparation/projection

Employment, hours, and wages

BLS/CES Industry output and employment preparation/projection

Labor force statistics, employment, and hours

BLS/CPS Labor force data and industry output and employment preparation/projection

Occupational staffing patterns

BLS/OEWS Occupational employment preparation/projection

Employment and wages

BLS/QCEW Industry output and employment preparation/projection

Population projections 

Census  Labor force data preparation and projection 

MA/US model

Macroeconomic Advisers by IHS Markit Macroeconomy data preparation/projection
Last Modified Date: September 06, 2023