Special notice regarding the impact of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria on CES re-estimation
A series of hurricanes struck Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands in August and
September 2017, complicating the post-benchmark (October-December 2017) re-estimation process for
these areas. Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast in late August. The population
counts obtained from QCEW indicated that the September CES sample-based estimates suitably captured
the employment drops associated with this event. No modifications were made for Texas October or
November re-estimates, which saw corresponding returns in employment.
Hurricane Irma hit Florida just prior to the September reference period for many establishments.
The benchmark data showed a much larger decline in September than the CES estimates did. A large
part of this discrepancy was attributed to a spike in employment loss associated with business
deaths, although there was information that many of these establishments returned to normal operation
prior to October. Consequently, establishments which reported positive employment to the CES survey
in August and October, and zero in September, were used in the Florida October re-estimates matched
sample, a modification of the standard handling of business births and deaths. In the same fashion, a
small number of establishments that reported they were shut down through the October reference period
but reported positive employment in November were used in Novemberís matched sample.
Hurricane Irma also struck Puerto Rico, although job losses there were more evident in October
following the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria. Modifications were made to the birth/death
procedure for re-estimates in Puerto Rico as well, to use reported zero employment for establishment
deaths attributed to the storm in the October matched sample, and to use returning units in November
and December. This procedure was also used when making the initial sample-based estimates for October
The U.S. Virgin Islands showed large job losses in the aftermath of both Irma and Maria. No modifications
were made to the re-estimation procedures for the U.S. Virgin Islands, which uses a quota-based sample
design that differs from the rest of the CES program.
Last Modified Date: March 12, 2018