September 15, 2023
Monthly State Jobs Estimates Are Revised Annually. Each month our office publishes the most recent state employment figures from the the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey. State employment and unemployment rates come from this monthly survey, which is based on a small sample of businesses in the state. As a result, once per year the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does a benchmark revision, updating the monthly CES estimates to match more reliable administrative data from states’ Unemployment Insurance programs.
Federal Researchers Now Publishing Quarterly Revisions. Although the BLS only revises the state-level CES once per year, the underlying data used to revised the CES survey is collected quarterly. Taking advantage of this asynchrony, in 2021, researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia began publishing state-level “early revisions” based on the same underlying data but revised more frequently.
Revised California Payroll Jobs Show Decline Over Prior Two Quarters. Based on the early benchmarks, payroll jobs declined at an annualized rate of 0.6 percent from September 2022 through March 2023, whereas official, unbenched payroll jobs increased 1.8 percent over that period. This amounts to a net decline of about 50,000 jobs over that period compared to the unbenched tally of +165,000 jobs. The figure below shows this divergence, as well as official estimates from March 2023 through today. This most recent data has not yet been rebenched. As such, the figure includes two possible scenarios that capture the most recent job growth—the Early Benchmark Revision (whch grows at the same rate as the official CES estimates) and an example of what would occur if the same magnitude revision is applied to jobs figures from the second quarter of 2023.