What is the
establishment payroll survey?
What types of data
can one get from the CES survey?
What is the CES
definition of employment?
What kinds of hours
and earnings data are available?
Can I get
occupational data from the CES survey?
Are part time workers
counted in your survey?
Who is included in
data for production or nonsupervisory workers?
How do reservists
Are workers in Puerto
Rico included in national CES estimates?
What is the establishment payroll
The establishment payroll survey, known as the Current Employment
Statistics (CES) survey, is based on a sample of 400,000 business
establishments nationwide. The primary statistics derived from the
survey are monthly estimates of employment, hours, and earnings for the
Nation, States, and major metropolitan areas. Preliminary national
estimates for a given reference month are typically published on the
first Friday of the following month, in conjunction with data derived
from a separate survey of households, the Current Population Survey
(CPS). The CPS is the source of statistics on the activities of the
labor force, including unemployment and the Nation's unemployment
What types of data can one get from the CES
The establishment survey produces nonfarm payroll estimates for: all
employees, production workers, average weekly hours, average hourly
earnings (constant dollar and current dollar), average weekly earnings,
average overtime, index of aggregate hours and payrolls, and diffusion
indexes. All data are available not seasonally adjusted, and some data
are available seasonally adjusted.
What is the CES definition of
Employment is the total number of persons on establishment payrolls
employed full or part time who received pay for any part of the pay
period that includes the 12th day of the month. Temporary and
intermittent employees are included, as are any workers who are on paid
sick leave, on paid holiday, or who work during only part of the
specified pay period. A striking worker who only works a small portion
of the survey period, and is paid, would be included as employed under
the CES definitions. Persons on the payroll of more than one
establishment are counted in each establishment. Data exclude
proprietors, self-employed, unpaid family or volunteer workers, farm
workers, and domestic workers. Persons on layoff the entire pay period,
on leave without pay, on strike for the entire period or who have not
yet reported for work are not counted as employed. Government employment
covers only civilian workers.
With the release of NAICS-based estimates in June 2003, the scope and
definition of Federal Government employment estimates changed due to a
change in source data and estimation methods. The previous series was an
end-of-month federal employee count produced by the Office of Personnel
Management, and it excluded some workers, mostly employees who work in
Department of Defense-owned establishments such as military base
commissaries. Beginning in June 2003, the CES national series began to
include these workers. Also, federal government employment is now
estimated from a sample of federal establishments, is benchmarked
annually to counts from unemployment insurance tax records, and reflects
employee counts as of the pay period including the 12th of the month,
consistent with other CES industry series. The historical time series
for federal government employment was revised to reflect these
What kinds of hours and earnings data are
National estimates of average weekly hours and average hourly
earnings are made for the private sector, with detail for about 850
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 old-age 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 types of
non-wage cash payments are excluded unless they are earned and paid
regularly (at least once a month). Employee benefits paid by the
employer, as well as payments in kind, 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 differ 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 workday or workweek.
Can I get occupational data from the CES
No. The CES survey does not collect occupational information.
Occupational employment information is collected as part of the Current Population Survey and
the Occupational Employment
Are part-time workers counted in your
Yes, however, the establishment survey does not have a specific
category for part-time workers. Since the survey captures counts of all
employees on the payroll, part-time employees are part of the total.
They are not counted separately. The Current Population Survey
does have a separate tally for part-time workers.
Who is included in data for production or
The worker groups for which hours and earnings data are collected
varies slightly by industry. In service-providing industries, these data
are collected for nonsupervisory workers—employees who are not owners
or who are not primarily employed to direct, supervise, or plan the work
In goods-producing industries, the data are collected for production
workers in natural resources and mining, and manufacturing, and
construction workers in construction. In addition to the exclusion of
owners and supervisory employees applied in service-providing
industries, the production worker/construction worker categories exclude
employees not directly involved in production.
How do reservists impact CES?
The BLS is unable to quantify the impact of reservists being called
to active duty on CES employment figures. In concept, persons on active
military duty for the entire survey reference period are not included on
employer payrolls. Some reservists hold jobs not covered by the payroll
survey—such as the self employed or those in agriculture—and others
may not hold jobs at all. Any reservist who worked at all for their
regular employer during the survey reference period would have been
counted on the employer's payroll. If reservists are replaced by new
workers on an employer's payroll, there would be no net change in the
number of jobs counted. If reservists are not replaced, a net decline in
the employer's job count would result.
Are workers in Puerto Rico included in national
National CES employment estimates exclude workers in Puerto Rico. BLS
cooperates with both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to collect
data and publish employment estimates independent of national estimates.
See the State and Area
Last Modified Date: April 12, 2007