Current Employment Statistics - CES (National)

CES Data Access Tips

This page provides step-by-step instructions for extracting employment, hours, and earnings data from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) data retrieval tools.

The CES homepage, www.bls.gov/ces/home.htm, provides access to estimates of national industry employment, hours, and earnings. It also provides access to related resources such as press releases (including the Employment Situation), the strike report, ship building indexes, analytical tables, and research articles. The following options are available on CES Databases in the left side navigation bar under Browse CES or at www.bls.gov/ces/data.htm.

Table of Contents

Top Picks

The Top Picks data retrieval list contains the most requested CES statistics.

  1. Click on Top Picks from www.bls.gov/ces/data.htm.

  2. Click on the checkbox next to each data series of interest.

  3. Click the Retrieve Data button. The default of 10 years of data will display in a new window.

The format of the output data can be changed using the More Formatting Options link in the upper right corner. See More Formatting Options under Other Tips below for an explanation of how to use each of the formatting options.

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Create Customized Tables

The Create Customized Tables data retrieval tools allow users to retrieve data for any published CES series and output the data into tables. The two tools available are described below and use one screen or multiple screens to retieve the appropriate data.

One Screen

The Create Customized Tables (one screen) data retrieval tool allows users to retrieve data for all published CES series. To use this tool, Java must be loaded on your computer. If your computer does not have Java, use the Create Customized Tables (multiple screens) method described below. Up to 200 hundred series can be selected at once using this tool.

To retrieve data using this tool:

  1. Click on Create Customized Tables (one screen) from www.bls.gov/ces/data.htm.

  2. Select one or more data types (part 1 of 5)Data types include employment, hours, earnings, and their derivatives. Each data type indicates its unit of measurement. To select a data type, click on the data type description from the list. To navigate directly to a data type, use the data type find box (described in the Find Box section of this page under Other Tips). To select more than one data type, see the Selecting Multiple Inputs section of this page under Other Tips.

  3. Select one or more supersectors (part 2 of 5) — Depending upon the data type(s) selected in box one, a list of the available supersectors appears in box two. Click on the supersector that contains the industry of interest. To select more than one supersector, see the Selecting Multiple Inputs section of this page under Other Tips.

  4. Select one or more industries (part 3 of 5) — Depending upon the selections in boxes one and two, a list of all available industries will appear in box three. Click on the industry(ies) of interest. To navigate directly to an industry, use the Find box (described below in Find Box under Other Tips). To select more than one industry, see the Selecting Multiple Inputs section of this page under Other Tips.

  5. Select seasonal adjustment (part 4 of 5) — Select not seasonally adjusted and/or seasonally adjusted data series by clicking the check box next to the desired seasonal adjustment option(s). Time series data are seasonally adjusted to eliminate the effect of predictable variations that occur during the same period every year. More information about seasonal adjustments to CES data is available at www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cesseasadj.htm. If the data are not available, the text next to the check box will be grey instead of black.

  6. Get data (part 5 of 5) — After completing boxes one to four, the Get Data button becomes active. Click to retrieve the data. A new window will open with a table containing up to 10 years of the most recently available CES data pertaining to the industry(ies) and data type(s) selected.

    OR

    Add to your selection (part 5 of 5) — After completing boxes one to four, the Add To Your Selection button also becomes active. Click this button to add the currently selected data series to a list of selected industries. Clicking on the button adds each selection to the list in the Your Selections box; multiple selections can be added to this box. Click the Get Data button to retrieve all of the selected data series.

More Formatting Options — More formatting options are available once the data have been retrieved. See the More Formatting Options section of this page under Other Tips for further instructions.

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Multiple Screens

The Create Customized Tables (multiple screens) data retrieval tool allows users to retrieve data for any published CES series. This tool uses five successive pages to make data series selections.

To retrieve data using this tool:

  1. Click on Create Customized Tables (multiple screens) from www.bls.gov/ces/data.htm.

  2. Select seasonal adjustment (screen 1 of 5) — Check the box next to not seasonally adjusted, seasonally adjusted, or both. Time series data are seasonally adjusted to eliminate the effect of predictable variations that occur during the same period every year. More information about seasonal adjustments to CES data is available at www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cesseasadj.htm. Click the Next Form button to move to the next screen.

  3. Select one or more supersectors (screen 2 of 5) — Click on the supersector(s) containing the desired industry. For more information about industries see the Major Industry Groupings section of the CES Technical Notes at www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cestn.htm#section3b. To select more than one supersector, see the Selecting Multiple Inputs section of this page under Other Tips. Click the Next Form button to move to the next screen.

  4. Select one or more data types (screen 3 of 5) — Click on the data type(s) to view. To select more than one data type, see the Selecting Multiple Inputs section of this page under Other Tips. A list of data types is available at http://download.bls.gov/pub/time.series/ce/ce.datatype. Click the Next Form button to move to the next screen.

  5. Select one or more industries (screen 4 of 5) — A list of available industries for the options selected on the previous pages will appear in the scroll box. To select more than one industry, see the Selecting Multiple Inputs section of this page under Other Tips. More information about CES industry codes and using the Text and Code Search boxes is available under Other Tips. Click the Next Form button to move to the next screen.

  6. Confirm series ID(s) (screen 5 of 5) — The series ID(s) for the selected industries are displayed in a text box. Saving the ID(s) will make it easier to pull the same data in the future using the Series Report tool described below. Click the Retrieve Data button to move to the next screen.

More Formatting Options — More formatting options are available once the data have been retrieved. See the More Formatting Options section of this page under Other Tips for further instructions.

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Series Report

The Series Report data retrieval tool allows a user to retrieve data by providing a series ID. To use this tool:

  1. Open the Series Report data retrieval tool.

  2. Enter the series ID(s) into the text box after the screen opens. Information about CES series IDs is available at www.bls.gov/help/hlpforma.htm#CE.

  3. Click Next -> once the appropriate series have been entered.

  4. Edit the formatting options for the output. The formatting options screen is described in the More Formatting Options section of this page under Other Tips.

  5. Click Retrieve Data.

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Flat Files

The Flat Files directory contains text files of CES data and information about CES series that can be viewed or downloaded. Information about these files is available in ce.txt in the same directory.

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Historical B Tables

The Historical B tables provide historical times series data from the B tables of the Employment Situation news release.

  1. Open the Historical B tables data retrieval tool.

  2. Click the link to view a list of possible tables for each description. Each link describes a group of series. If the data of interest does not appear on this page, use the Create Customized Tables (one screen) or Create Customized Tables (multiple screens) tool to select more detailed data.

  3. Check the box(es) next to the series and in the column of the type of data to view. Check as many boxes as desired.

  4. Click on Retrieve data at the bottom of the page, and a new window will open displaying up to 10 years of data for each time series selected. If this is not the desired format, more formatting options are available. See the More Formatting Options section of this page under Other Tips for further instructions.

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Discontinued Historical Series

The Discontinued Historical CES Data by SIC, through April 2003 only link provides access to the Standard Industry Classification (SIC) coded CES times series data that was discontinued after April 2003. The historical SIC-based CES series are linked from this page and can be retrieved using the Top Picks, Create Customized Tables (one screen), Create Customized Tables (multiple screens), Series Report, and Flat File methods described above. The results are categorized by SIC and not by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), making them incompatible with later NAICS-based CES data. More information about the use of NAICS and SIC in the CES program is available at www.bls.gov/ces/cesnaics.htm.

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Other BLS Employment Data

Other employment data from BLS is available on the Overview of BLS Statistics on Employment page at www.bls.gov/bls/employment.htm or on the BLS home page at www.bls.gov. Available data include but are not limited to state and metropolitan area statistics, occupational employment statistics, labor force statistics, and wage and compensation statistics.

Contact information and phone numbers for all BLS programs are available on the BLS Contacts page at www.bls.gov/bls/contact.htm.

For information about the CES program or CES data, call us at 202-691-6555 or email us.

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Other Tips

More Formatting Options

Use the following options to change output formats.

  1. Select view of the data — In the upper left hand corner of the screen, choose how to display the data. Table Format is the default view, listing columns for each month and rows for each year. Column Format will list the data in one long column with a row for each year and month combination. Multi-series table will list all of the series chosen in one table with a row for each series and a column for each month and year combination. Underneath the Select view of the data box, several calculations can be applied to the original data. Check the boxes next to each version of the data to view, including the original data, a variety of different net changes of the series, and a variety of different net percentage changes of the series.

  2. Select the time frame for your data — In the upper right hand corner under Specify year range, select the year to begin the time series in the From drop down menu and the year to end the time series in the To drop down menu. The menus contain all of the years that are available for the selected series.

  3. Output type — On the left underneath Select view of the data is a box for Output Type. The data can be output as an HTML table or as text. Text output is either comma delimited or tab delimited; this can be specified in the drop down menu under the Text radio button.

  4. Graphs — Next to Output Type under Graphs, click the checkbox next to include graphs to add a line graph for each of the selected series.

  5. Retrieve data — After selecting the desired formats, click the Retrieve data button. Repeat this process if the data needs further changes.

Find Box

Type all or part of a data type description, industry name, or industry code in the text box, then click on the Find button. The first match in the data type list will be selected; repeated clicks of the Find button will move the selection to the next match in the ist.

Text and Code Search

For screens 2 to 4 (numbers 3 to 5) above under Create Customize Tables Multiple Screens, the Text or Code search features can be used to easily find supersectors, data types, or industries on the respective screens. Use the text search to look for names and descriptions, such as electronic manufacturing or average hourly earnings. Use the code search to find all or part of a number that represents a CES industry code or supersector. More information about each of these boxes is available at www.bls.gov/help/hlpserch.htm.

Selecting Multiple Inputs

In each scroll box described above in both the One Screen and Multiple Screens Create Customized Tables sections, it is possible to select multiple data types, supersectors, and industries. To select a block of industries, click the first industry in a group, hold down the Shift key, and click the last industry in the group. This will work if industries appear in a block with no unwanted industries in between. To select multiple industries that are not grouped together, click the each industry individually while holding down the Ctrl key.

CES Industry Codes

In the industry list, the ordering is based on an 8-digit CES industry code. The first two digits indicate the supersector, and the last six digits relate to the NAICS code of the series. For example, 31334000 is the code for supersector 31, durable goods manufacturing, and NAICS 334000, computer and electronic product manufacturing.

A Note About Manufacturing

The manufacturing sector is broken into two parts. The first two digits of the CES tabcode indicate whether the industry is part of durable goods (31) or nondurable goods (32). To select industries within manufacturing, first select either durable or nondurable goods manufacturing from the supersector lists described in both the One Screen and Multiple Screens under Create Customized Tables above.

BLS Tutorials

BLS provides help and tutorials for the data retrieval tools at www.bls.gov/help/home.htm.

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Last Modified Date: March 10, 2014

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