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Current Employment Statistics

Current Employment Statistics (CES) is a federal/state cooperative program that produces monthly estimates of nonfarm employment, hours worked and earnings at the state and local levels. CES is also known as the payroll or establishment survey.

Current Employment Statistics (CES) are developed from a survey of Washington employers. The survey sample includes about 7,000 businesses and government agencies, which cover around 20,000 individual worksites. CES estimates are among the earliest economic information available to analyze current economic conditions.

From the survey, we produce statewide and local employment estimates available as four spreadsheets:

  •   Current nonfarm employment, seasonally adjusted (current and prior month)

  •   Historical estimates, seasonally adjusted (data back to 1990)

  •   Current nonfarm employment, not seasonally adjusted (current and prior month)

  •   Historical nonfarm employment, not seasonally adjusted (data back to 1990)

  •   Earnings and hours estimates, not seasonally adjusted (data back to 1990)

CES is a federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) program. BLS conducts the survey and validates the data. Data are gathered based on employment in the Sunday-to-Saturday week that includes the 12th of the month.

How often is this information updated?

CES data are updated monthly by the BLS. We publish preliminary and revised reports.

What else should I know about these data?

CES data are available in two forms: seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted. Seasonally adjusted numbers account for normal seasonal patterns that occur year after year, such as retail-trade hiring around the winter holidays or students entering the labor force in the summer. Not-seasonally adjusted numbers are raw or actual employment counts without seasonal patterns taken into account. Learn more about the BLS’ explanation of seasonality.

With the release of January 2018 data on February 2, 2018, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program implemented publication changes related to annual sample review and updated the national nonfarm payroll series to the 2017 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) from the NAICS 2012 basis.

How can I use this information?

CES data are used by both private and public sectors to:

  •   Guide decisions on plant locations, sales and purchases.

  •   Compare businesses and the industry or economy.

  •   Negotiate labor contracts based on industry or local earnings and hours.

  •   Determine the employment base of states and areas for bond ratings.

  •   Detect and plan for swings in the business cycle.

  •   Evaluate the economic health of the state and its areas.

  •   Guide monetary policy decisions.

  •   Assess the growth of industries.

  •   Forecast tax revenue for states and areas.

  •   Measure employment, hours and earnings to determine economic growth.

Seasonally adjusted


  • BLS-current (XLS 13 KB)
  • BLS historical (XLS 107 KB)

    Not seasonally adjusted


  • BLS current (XLS 42 KB)
  • BLS historical (XLS 1.07 MB)
  • BLS historical all areas unrounded (XLS 549 KB)
  • BLS hours and earnings estimates (XLS 75 KB)