Current Employment Statistics (CES) - Seasonally Adjusted
Current Employment Statistics (CES) collects data through a sample survey. This monthly data series, also available in not-seasonally adjusted form, contains current establishment employment by State and MSA areas. Average weekly earnings, average weekly hours, and average hourly earnings are collected for manufacturing. Reports of employment activity are made at the location of the employment and organized by industry.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development
Frequently Asked Questions
- How is this information obtained?
The information is gained through a survey called the Current Employment Statistics survey (CES). This survey of employers is conducted by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development in cooperation with the federal government.
- How are the data in the CES survey collected?
Each month the Indiana Department of Workforce Development collects data on employment, hours, and earnings from a sample of nonfarm establishments which employ nearly 40 percent of the total nonfarm population. All establishments with 250 employees or more are asked to participate in the survey along with a representative sample of smaller establishments. Sample respondents extract the requested data from their payroll records, which must be maintained for a variety of tax and accounting purposes.
- How are estimates in the CES survey derived?
Employment estimates are made at the basic estimating cell level and aggregated upward to broader levels of industry detail.
For each basic cell a total level of benchmark employment is obtained for a specific month (usually March). The sample data from reporters who responded for consecutive months provides a link relative sample ratio. This ratio is applied to the benchmark employment month to produce an April employment estimate. This process continues each month until the next annual benchmark cycle when estimates are replaced with population data. For example, assume the benchmark level was 50,000 in March. The sample, composed of 50 establishments which reported both months had 25,000 in March and 26,000 in April, a 4 percent increase. To derive the April estimate, the change of these identical establishments reported is applied to the March benchmark level in the form of a sample ratio: 50,000 x 26,000/25,000 = 52,000.
- What kinds of hours and earnings data are available?
Hours and earnings data from CES estimates are available only for production workers in manufacturing industries. Because not all sample respondents report production worker, hours, and earnings data, insufficient sample data exist to make corresponding industry estimates of average weekly hours and average hourly earnings outside of manufacturing. Estimates of average weekly hours and average hourly earnings are made for the private sector, with detail for about 500 private industries as well as for overtime hours in manufacturing.
Hours and earnings are derived from reports of gross payrolls and corresponding paid hours for production workers, construction workers, or nonsupervisory workers in the service sector. The payroll for workers covered by the CES survey is reported before deductions of any kind, e.g., for Social Security and unemployment insurance, withholding tax, union dues or retirement plans. Included in the payroll reports is pay for overtime, vacations, holidays and sick leave paid directly by the firm. Bonuses, commissions, and other non-wage cash payments are excluded unless they are earned and paid regularly—at least once a month. Employee benefits paid by the employer, tips, and payments in kind also are excluded.
Total hours during the pay period include all hours worked (including overtime hours) and hours paid for holidays, vacations, and sick leave. Total hours differs from the concept of scheduled hours worked. The average weekly hours reflects effects of numerous factors such as unpaid absenteeism, labor turnover, part-time work, strikes, and fluctuations in work schedules for economic reasons. Overtime hours in manufacturing are collected where overtime premiums were paid if hours were in excess of the number of straight time hours in a work day or work week.
- Why are estimates in the CES Survey benchmarked?
To control potential survey error, the estimates are benchmarked annually to universe counts derived from administrative files of employees covered by unemployment insurance (UI). Each benchmark year, the sample-based estimates are replaced with benchmark levels from April of the previous year to March of the benchmark year.
- Are CES estimates revised? If so, how?
Yes, estimates are revised in the following manner:
- Preliminary-to-Final Estimates: Initial monthly estimates are calculated from an incomplete sample and are subject to revision in the subsequent month when more sample data are available. Revisions at the total non-farm levels for preliminary statewide employment are generally small, averaging two one-hundredths of a percent (0.02 percent).
- Final-to-Benchmark Estimates: "Final" estimates are subject to annual benchmarks of universe counts of employment derived from the unemployment insurance (UI) reports from employers.
- What is the seasonal adjustment process?
Over the course of a year, the size of a state's employment level undergoes sharp fluctuations due to such seasonal events as changes in weather, reduced or expanded production, harvests, major holidays, and the opening and closing of schools. Because these seasonal events follow a more or less regular pattern each year, their influence on statistical trends can be eliminated by adjusting the statistics from month-to-month. These adjustments make it easier to observe the cyclical and other nonseasonal movements in the series. In evaluating changes in seasonally adjusted series, it is important to note that seasonal adjustment is merely an approximation based on past experience. Seasonally adjusted estimates have a broader margin of possible error than the original data on which they are based, because they are subject to not only to sampling and other errors but are also affected by the uncertainties of the seasonal adjustment process itself. Employment data are seasonally adjusted with a procedure called X-12-ARIMA. Each state seasonally adjusts its data at the beginning of each year and the data are released in March. Currently, states seasonally adjust data through the super-sector (total nonfarm, construction, manufacturing, etc.).