CES Vintage Data

Current Employment Statistics (CES) estimates are subject to revisions for up to 2 months from their original publication due to ongoing receipt of sample data. They are further subject to revisions resulting from our annual benchmarking and seasonal readjustment processes. A complete explanation of CES revisions can be found at www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cestn.htm#section6.

Due to user interest in versions of CES estimates from original to current publication, CES compiled vintage data tables that display the CES published employment values for a given reference month across time. Tables for all CES supersectors are available in Excel file format. Vintage data tables for employment in additional industries are available in CSV file format and are convertible to the Excel file format using the steps outlined below.

Vintage Data Files

Seasonally adjusted Excel files are available for all CES supersectors. These files are available at www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cesvindata.htm.

Vintage data spreadsheets for industries other than the supersectors provided above can be created in a similar format using an Excel template and a raw CSV file for each industry. Seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted CSV files are available at the supersector, the 2-digit sector, and the 3-digit subsector levels.

Guide to vintage data sheets

  1. Open the vintage data Excel template. www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cesvin_template.xlsx
  2. Download the CSV files and select an industry based on CSV title (Note: title is based on CES supersector, CES industry code, and seasonal adjustment of data). The files can be downloaded from www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cesvinall.zip.
  3. Copy (ctrl+a, ctrl+c) and paste (ctrl+v) the entire CSV file into the sheet "CSV data" in the Excel template.

All other sheets should update automatically.

Vintage Data File Description

Vintage data tables show all published values since the first preliminary estimates for May 2003, when CES began current estimation methods, and show all available estimate reference months for the files. Total nonfarm has reference months available back to 1939. Both employment levels and over-the-month change values are available in vintage format.

CES vintage dataset with highlighted value referencing the January 1939 value for the May 2003 employment release.

The Excel files include the following:

  • Data sheet — CES vintage data tables on the "Data" sheet, display the CES published values for a given reference month (columns labeled across the sheet in row 3) by Employment Situation release (in column A of the sheet). The selected cell (here highlighted red) references the January 1939 value for the May 2003 employment release. The yellow row is the reference month. To see how the values have revised over time, move down the column. For your convenience, the first preliminary release, the third preliminary release, and the January 2017 values are located directly under the reference month in light blue.
  • Revisions sheet — The "Revisions" sheet displays the amount of the revisions associated with the reference month from the previous publication to the current publication. This provides information about the magnitude of the revisions from one publication to the next.
  • Graph sheet — On the "Graph" sheet, the Y axis identifies the estimate in thousands, while the X axis identifies the reference month. Three lines are plotted on the graph:
    1. First preliminary release (or May 03) — This line represents the originally published CES estimates for all months plotted. For example, the point plotted for January 2009 identifies the CES estimate for the January 2009 reference month published at the first preliminary release of estimates for February 2009. If the reference date is before May 03, the May 03 value is shown.
    2. Third preliminary release (or May 03) — This line represents the CES estimates published 2 months after the originally published estimates for all months plotted. For example, the point plotted for January 2009 identifies the CES estimate for the January 2009 reference month published at the third preliminary release of estimates for April 2009. If the reference date is before May 03, the May 03 value is shown.
    3. January 2017 first preliminary release — This line represents the CES estimates as published at the reference Month-Year combination listed in the legend. For example, the point plotted for January 2009 identifies the CES estimate for the January 2009 reference month published at the release of the Month-Year combination's first preliminary release.
  • Comments sheet — The "Comments" sheet provides a summary of any large, non-standard revisions that occurred.

Charting Revisions Over Time

The following graphs provide insight to how CES data revise over time. These graphs are available in the Excel files of vintage data.

Comparing the first and third preliminary release estimates to the January 2017 estimates:

CES Total Nonfarm Seasonally Adjusted by Publication Date. Shows the revisions from first and third preliminary release estimates to the January 2017 estimates.

Comparing the first and third preliminary release over-the-month change estimates to the January 2017 over-the-month change estimates:

CES Total Nonfarm Over-the-month Change Seasonally Adjusted by Publication Date. Shows the revisions from first and third preliminary release estimates to the January 2017 estimates for over-the-month changes.

Historical Revisions

For information about historical revisions to CES data, please see the following:

 

Last Modified Date: March 6, 2017