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Research on Quarterly Benchmarking for the Current Employment Statistics Survey

Victoria Battista, Christopher Manning, and Kenneth W. Robertson


The Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey is a large monthly survey of establishments used to estimate employment, hours, and earnings, by industry, for the nation, states, and metropolitan areas. The program produces estimates each month, about three weeks after the reference period. CES employment estimates are benchmarked on an annual basis to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which is a near-universe count based on unemployment insurance tax account records. Several alternative benchmarking procedures were evaluated to determine if the quality of the CES estimates could be improved by benchmarking on a quarterly basis. The authors describe the alternative procedures and present the results of the research.