This page provides step-by-step instructions for extracting employment, hours, and earnings data from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) data retrieval tools.
The CES homepage, www.bls.gov/ces/home.htm, provides access to estimates of national industry employment, hours, and earnings. It also provides access to related resources such as news releases (including the Employment Situation and Real Earnings), the strike report, ship building indexes, analytical tables, and research articles. The following options are available from the CES Data drop down menu in the menu bar by clicking Databases or at www.bls.gov/ces/data/home.htm.
The Top Picks data retrieval list contains the most requested CES statistics.
Click on the checkbox next to each data series of interest.
Click the Retrieve Data button. The default of 10 years of data will display in a new window.
The format of the output data can be changed using the More Formatting Options link in the upper right corner. See More Formatting Options under Other Tips below for an explanation of how to use each of the formatting options.
The Create Customized Tables data retrieval tools allow users to retrieve data for any published CES series and output the data into tables. The two tools available are described below and use one screen or multiple screens to retieve the appropriate data.
The Create Customized Tables (one screen) data retrieval tool allows users to retrieve data for all published CES series. To use this tool, Java must be loaded on your computer. If your computer does not have Java, use the Create Customized Tables (multiple screens) method described below. Up to 200 hundred series can be selected at once using this tool.
To retrieve data using this tool:
Select one or more data types (part 1 of 5) — Data types include employment, hours, earnings, and their derivatives. Each data type indicates its unit of measurement. To select a data type, click on the data type description from the list. To navigate directly to a data type, use the data type find box (described in the Find Box section of this page under Other Tips). To select more than one data type, see the Selecting Multiple Inputs section of this page under Other Tips.
Select one or more supersectors (part 2 of 5) — Depending on the data type(s) selected in box one, a list of the available supersectors appears in box two. Click on the supersector that contains the industry of interest. To select more than one supersector, see the Selecting Multiple Inputs section of this page under Other Tips.
Select one or more industries (part 3 of 5) — Depending on the selections in boxes one and two, a list of all available industries will appear in box three. Click on the industry(ies) of interest. To navigate directly to an industry, use the Find box (described below in Find Box under Other Tips). To select more than one industry, see the Selecting Multiple Inputs section of this page under Other Tips.
Select seasonal adjustment (part 4 of 5) — Select not seasonally adjusted and/or seasonally adjusted data series by clicking the check box next to the desired seasonal adjustment option(s). Time series data are seasonally adjusted to eliminate the effect of predictable variations that occur during the same period every year. More information about seasonal adjustments to CES data is available at www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cesseasadj.htm. If the data are not available, the text next to the check box will be grey instead of black.
Get data (part 5 of 5) — After completing boxes one to four, the Get Data button becomes active. Click to retrieve the data. A new window will open with a table containing up to 10 years of the most recently available CES data pertaining to the industry(ies) and data type(s) selected.
Add to your selection (part 5 of 5) — After completing boxes one to four, the Add To Your Selection button also becomes active. Click this button to add the currently selected data series to a list of selected industries. Clicking on the button adds each selection to the list in the Your Selections box; multiple selections can be added to this box. Click the Get Data button to retrieve all of the selected data series.
The Create Customized Tables (multiple screens) data retrieval tool allows users to retrieve data for any published CES series. This tool uses five successive pages to make data series selections.
To retrieve data using this tool:
Select seasonal adjustment (screen 1 of 5) — Check the box next to not seasonally adjusted, seasonally adjusted, or both. Time series data are seasonally adjusted to eliminate the effect of predictable variations that occur during the same period every year. More information about seasonal adjustments to CES data is available at www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cesseasadj.htm. Click the Next Form button to move to the next screen.
Select one or more supersectors (screen 2 of 5) — Click on the supersector(s) containing the desired industry. For more information about industries see the Major Industry Groups section of the CES Technical Notes at www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cestn.htm#section2b. To select more than one supersector, see the Selecting Multiple Inputs section of this page under Other Tips. Click the Next Form button to move to the next screen.
Select one or more data types (screen 3 of 5) — Click on the data type(s) to view. To select more than one data type, see the Selecting Multiple Inputs section of this page under Other Tips. A list of data types is available at download.bls.gov/pub/time.series/ce/ce.datatype. Click the Next Form button to move to the next screen.
Select one or more industries (screen 4 of 5) — A list of available industries for the options selected on the previous pages will appear in the scroll box. To select more than one industry, see the Selecting Multiple Inputs section of this page under Other Tips. More information about CES industry codes and using the Text and Code Search boxes is available under Other Tips. Click the Next Form button to move to the next screen.
Confirm series ID(s) (screen 5 of 5) — The series ID(s) for the selected industries are displayed in a text box. Saving the ID(s) will make it easier to pull the same data in the future using the Series Report tool described below. Click the Retrieve Data button to move to the next screen.
The Series Report data retrieval tool allows a user to retrieve data by providing a series ID. To use this tool:
Enter the series ID(s) into the text box after the screen opens. Information about CES series IDs is available at www.bls.gov/help/hlpforma.htm#CE.
Click Next › once the appropriate series have been entered.
Click Retrieve Data.
The Historical B tables provide historical times series data from the B tables of the Employment Situation news release.
Click the link to view a list of possible tables for each description. Each link describes a group of series. If the data of interest does not appear on this page, use the Create Customized Tables (one screen) or Create Customized Tables (multiple screens) tool to select more detailed data.
Check the box(es) next to the series and in the column of the type of data to view. Check as many boxes as desired.
Click on Retrieve data at the bottom of the page, and a new window will open displaying up to 10 years of data for each time series selected. If this is not the desired format, more formatting options are available. See the More Formatting Options section of this page under Other Tips for further instructions.
The CES program discontinued publishing data by Standard Industry Classification (SIC) after the April 2003 release of estimates, but the data is still available on the Discontinued BLS Databases webpage. SIC-based CES estimates are available from April 2003 back to the beginning of their histories using the one-screen data search tool, which requires a java-enabled browser, or using the multi-screen data search tool. SIC-based CES estimates can also be accessed using the Top Picks menu or downloaded using the Flat Files. These SIC-based estimates are not compatible with later estimates based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). More information about the use of NAICS in the CES program and the switch from SIC is available on the CES NAICS webpage.
CES vintage data tables list published employment values for a given reference month across time. These tables are available at www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cesvininfo.htm.
Other employment data from BLS are available on the Overview of BLS Statistics on Employment page at www.bls.gov/bls/employment.htm or on the BLS home page at www.bls.gov. Available data include but are not limited to state and metropolitan area statistics, occupational employment statistics, labor force statistics, and wage and compensation statistics.
Contact information and phone numbers for all BLS programs are available on the BLS Contacts page at www.bls.gov/bls/contact.htm.
For information about the CES program or CES data, call us at 202-691-6555 or email us.
Use the following options to change output formats.
Select view of the data — In the upper left hand corner of the screen, choose how to display the data. Table Format is the default view, listing columns for each month and rows for each year. Column Format will list the data in one long column with a row for each year and month combination. Multi-series table will list all of the series chosen in one table with a row for each series and a column for each month and year combination. Underneath the Select view of the data box, several calculations can be applied to the original data. Check the boxes next to each version of the data to view, including the original data, a variety of different net changes of the series, and a variety of different net percentage changes of the series.
Select the time frame for your data — In the upper right hand corner under Specify year range, select the year to begin the time series in the From drop down menu and the year to end the time series in the To drop down menu. The menus contain all of the years that are available for the selected series.
Output type — On the left underneath Select view of the data is a box for Output Type. The data can be output as an HTML table or as text. Text output is either comma delimited or tab delimited; this can be specified in the drop down menu under the Text radio button.
Graphs — Next to Output Type under Graphs, click the checkbox next to include graphs to add a line graph for each of the selected series.
Retrieve data — After selecting the desired formats, click the Retrieve data button. Repeat this process if the data needs further changes.
Type all or part of a data type description, industry name, or industry code in the text box, then click on the Find button. The first match in the data type list will be selected; repeated clicks of the Find button will move the selection to the next match in the list.
For screens 2 to 4 under Create Customize Tables Multiple Screens (numbers 3 to 5 above), the Text or Code search features can be used to easily find supersectors, data types, or industries on the respective screens. Use the text search to look for names and descriptions, such as electronic manufacturing or average hourly earnings. Use the code search to find all or part of a number that represents a CES industry code or supersector. More information about each of these boxes is available at www.bls.gov/help/hlpserch.htm.
In each scroll box described above in both the One Screen and Multiple Screens Create Customized Tables sections, it is possible to select multiple data types, supersectors, and industries. To select a block of industries, click the first industry in a group, hold down the Shift key, and click the last industry in the group. This will work if industries appear in a block with no unwanted industries in between. To select multiple industries that are not grouped together, click each industry individually while holding down the Ctrl key.
In the industry list, the ordering is based on an 8-digit CES industry code. The first two digits indicate the supersector, and the last six digits relate to the NAICS code of the series. For example, 31334000 is the code for supersector 31, durable goods manufacturing, and NAICS 334000, computer and electronic product manufacturing.
The manufacturing sector is broken into two parts. The first two digits of the CES tabcode indicate whether the industry is part of durable goods (31) or nondurable goods (32). To select industries within manufacturing, first select either durable or nondurable goods manufacturing from the supersector lists described in both the One Screen and Multiple Screens under Create Customized Tables above.
BLS provides help and tutorials for the data retrieval tools at www.bls.gov/help/home.htm.
Last Modified Date: February 3, 2023<