Emsi’s job counts data are based on the BLS’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) dataset. With each QCEW update, Emsi releases a new datarun. Even though QCEW is released quarterly and Emsi updates accordingly, Emsi’s job counts are annual estimates, not quarterly estimates. Emsi annualizes QCEW (more detail below) to more closely match other sources we incorporate to create our comprehensive dataset.
Current Job Counts
Emsi defines the “current” jobs year as the year for which only partial QCEW data is available. For instance, as of May 2019, the latest QCEW year-quarter available was 2018Q3, making 2018 the current year. Emsi creates estimates for the current jobs year by averaging employment counts from the latest four quarters of QCEW available, incorporating the prior year’s quarters as necessary. As the year progresses and more quarters for the current year are released, the current year’s job estimates become less estimates based on prior-year data and more historical based on reported data for the current year.
For example, Emsi’s 2018.1 datarun incorporated the latest four QCEW quarters available at the time (2017Q2, 2017Q1, 2016Q4, and 2016Q3) to create 2017 job counts. The 2018.2 datarun incorporated 2017Q3, 2017Q2, 2017Q1, and 2016Q4 QCEW. With Emsi’s 2018.3 datarun, using a full year of 2017 QCEW data (2017Q4, 2017Q3, 2017Q2, and 2017Q1), the 2017 job counts data moved from being “current” job counts to being “historical” job counts. For each datarun from 2018.3 on, 2017 job counts are calculated using the four quarters of 2017 QCEW data.
Because estimates for the current calendar year are generally not available until June, the current year generally lags the calendar year for the first half of the calendar year (e.g. 2017 was the current year until the 2018.3 Emsi datarun was released in July 2018).
Projected Job Counts
Emsi projects job counts for the 10 years beyond the latest year available from QCEW. For instance, as of May 2019, 2018 was the latest year of data available from QCEW. As of May 2019, Emsi projected job counts data for the years 2019-2028. More information on Emsi’s projection methodology is available here.
Historical Job Counts
Job counts data for any given year is considered historical when QCEW has released all four quarters of data for that year. QCEW’s Q4 releases typically occur in early June of the following year. For instance, 2017Q4 data was released on June 7, 2018. Emsi’s concurrent 2018.3 datarun included historical 2017 job counts data, based on a full panel of 2017 QCEW data.
It is worth noting that QCEW occasionally revises historical data several years back, which can cause historical job counts to change even though the QCEW quarters contributing to the job counts for the year in question are no longer changing.