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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 it accesses through a contract with Macroeconomic Advisers by IHS Markit.

BLS data

EP makes extensive use of other 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 Statistics (OES) data are used to project occupational employment. Price data from the Producer Price Index (PPI) are used to calculate and project deflators.

Census data

EP bases its labor force projections on long-term demographic projections published by the U.S. Census Bureau. Census also produces several datasets that BLS uses to estimate industry output such as the Economic Census, the Annual Survey of Manufacturers (ASM), and wholesale and retail trade surveys.

Bureau of Economic Analysis data

EP relies on the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) for most of its final demand and intermediate output data. The main BEA data sources are the national income and product accounts (NIPAs) and the benchmark and annual input–output (IO) accounts.

Other: government

Due to the specific nature of some industries, EP also uses additional sources to estimate industry output. These include information from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). There are several other small governmental data sources.

Other: 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 of 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



Main use


Population projections

CensusLabor force data preparation and projection

Labor force statistics

BLS/CPSLabor force data and industry output and employment preparation/projection

MA/US model

Macroeconomic Advisers by IHS MarkitMacroeconomy data preparation/projection

BEA IO tables

BEAInput–output and final demand preparation/projection

BEA NIPA tables

BEAInput–output and final demand preparation/projection

Census inventories

CensusChange in private inventories (CIPI) preparation/projection

Yearly wage and hours

BLS/CESIndustry output and employment preparation/projection

Census output

CensusIndustry output and employment preparation/projection

Yearly wages

BLS/QCEWIndustry output and employment preparation/projection

Producer prices

BLS/PPIIndustry prices

Occupational staffing patterns

BLS/OESOccupational employment preparation/projection

Last Modified Date: September 04, 2019