Article Image

IPFS News Link • Employment & Jobs

How Much Did the BLS Overstate Job Expansion in 2023?

•, By Mish

QCEW stands for Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. It is far more accurate but less timely than nonfarm payrolls from the BLS CES Sample.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects data each month on employment, hours, and earnings from a sample of nonfarm establishments through the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program. The CES survey includes about 119,000 businesses and government agencies, which cover approximately 629,000 individual worksites drawn from a sampling frame of Unemployment Insurance (UI) tax accounts covering roughly 11.3 million establishments. The active CES sample includes approximately 30 percent of all nonfarm payroll employees in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Each year, CES-National estimates are benchmarked to the most recent Quarterly Census of Employment and Wage (QCEW) data, based on Unemployment Insurance records, along with a small amount of employment data that is not covered by QCEW. 

Household Survey and Employment Level

The Employment Level is from the BLS Household Survey. It's the same survey that calculates the unemployment rate each month.

The employment level is binary. One either worked or didn't. But in the CES nonfarm payroll report, a person is counted more than once if they work more than one job.

For example, someone working three jobs is counted once in Household Survey but three times in nonfarm payrolls. Nonetheless employment level is higher because it includes everyone, not just nonfarm work.

Early Benchmarks for All 50 States and the District of Columbia

On March 14, the Philadelphia Fed released its Early Benchmarks for All 50 States and the District of Columbia

I created the lead chart by downloading state-level data + DC, then summing the states.

Free Talk Live