United States - Total Employment Non-Ag

Payroll employment disappointed again in September, rising by just 194,000 against expectations for a nearly 500,000-job gain. Stronger improvement in the private sector was offset by seasonal adjustment-driven weakness in the public sector, which caused a substantial decline in local government education. The unemployment rate unexpectedly dipped by 0.4 percentage point to 4.8% as the labor force participation rate remains stubbornly weak and dropped slightly to 61.6%. Revisions to previous months' payrolls were substantial with the July and August reports being revised higher by a combined 169,000, bringing the current three-month average job gain to a still-impressive 550,000.

United States: Total Employment Non-Ag

Mnemonic ET.IUSA
Unit Ths. #, SA
Adjustments Seasonally Adjusted
Monthly 0.13 %
Data Sep 2021 147,553
Aug 2021 147,359

Series Information

Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Release Employment Situation
Frequency Monthly
Start Date 1/31/1939
End Date 9/30/2021

United States: Labor

Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Labor Force Sep 2021 161,354 161,537 Ths. #, SA Monthly
Labor Force Employment Sep 2021 153,680 153,154 Ths. #, SA Monthly
Manufacturing Employment Sep 2021 12,446 12,420 Ths. #, SA Monthly
Total Employment Non-Ag Sep 2021 147,553 147,359 Ths. #, SA Monthly
Unemployment Sep 2021 7,674 8,384 Ths. #, SA Monthly
Unemployment Rate Sep 2021 4.8 5.2 %, SA Monthly
Wage & Salaries 2021 Q2 10,079,128 9,879,207 Mil. USD, SAAR Quarterly
Primary Industries Employment Mar 2021 1,135,297 1,114,366 #, NSA Monthly
Agriculture Employment 2016 2,702,095 2,674,749 # Annual

Total Employment Non-Ag Definition

Payroll employment (current employment survey - Total Employment) is a measure of the number of jobs in more than 500 industries (other than farming) and in all states and 255 metropolitan areas. This release is the single most closely watched economic statistic because of its timeliness, accuracy and importance as an indicator of economic activity. Payroll figures are reported each month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, along with information on average weekly hours worked and average hourly earnings. The data are based on a survey for the week or payroll period including the 12th of the month. The release also contains an index of aggregate weekly hours worked, which offers an important early indication of production before the quarterly GDP numbers come out. The information on average hourly earnings and average weekly hours is probably the third and fourth most closely followed figures in this release, right behind the nonfarm employment number and the unemployment rate. The BLS now reports earnings and hours for all employees, not just production workers in goods-producing industries and nonsupervisory workers in service-producing industries. Prior to 2010, these measures excluded those working in executive or managerial positions. The BLS also releases a survey of households (current population survey), which includes data on the labor force, the number of people employed, and the number seeking jobs—from which the unemployment rate is derived. The household survey provides a very rich data set with data by race, gender, age, marital status, educational attainment and hours worked, as well as reasons for being out of the labor force.

Release Information

The BLS "Current Employment Statistics" (CES) program, also known as the payroll survey or the establishment survey, is a monthly survey of approximately 140,000 businesses and government agencies representing approximately 440,000 worksites throughout the United States. From the sample, CES produces and publishes employment, hours, and earnings estimates for the nation, states, and metropolitan areas at detailed industry levels. All national CES employment estimates exclude employees in Puerto Rico. However, the BLS cooperates with both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to collect data and publish employment estimates independent of national estimates.

Series covering all employees’ hours and earnings were officially added by CES on February 5, 2010, with estimates beginning in March 2006. Historically, CES hours and earnings series covered only production and nonsupervisory employees.


The Current Employment Statistics Program provides employment, hours of work, and earnings information on a national basis. The data include series for total employment, number of women employed, number of production or nonsupervisory workers, average hourly earnings, average weekly hours, average weekly overtime hours in manufacturing industries. The table below lists the prefixes of the available data series. In order to download a series, simply substitute the "E" in the mnemonics on the following pages with the appropriate prefix from the table below. Some series, even at the total employment level, are available only for states or MSAs. Employment of production workers, average weekly earnings, average weekly hours and average hourly earnings are available for the U.S., some states and some MSAs (the availability is the same as is denoted in the following pages). Series listed below that have an asterisk are available at the national level only.

Prefix Description U.S. State MSA
E Total Nonagricultural Employment O O O
EWW Employment of Women O O O
EPW Employment of Production or Nonsupervisory Workers O O O
AWE Average Weekly Earnings of Production Workers O O O
AWH Average Weekly Hours of Production Workers O O O
AHE Average Hourly Earnings of Production Workers O O O
AWO* Average Weekly Overtime Hours of Production Workers O    
WHI* Index of Aggregate Weekly Hours O    
WPI* Index of Aggregate Weekly Payrolls O    
CAHE* Average Hourly Earnings; Base 1982-1984 Dollars O    
CGAWE* Gross Average Weekly Earnings; Base 1982 Dollars O    
AHEXO* Average Hourly Earnings Excluding Overtime O    

Net birth-death model


  • Industry classification: NAICS 2012
  • Measurement: Thousands (Ths. #)
  • Adjustment: Not seasonally adjusted (NSA)
  • Native frequency: Monthly
  • Start dates:
    • 1999m4 for total
    • 2002m4 for industry branches


  • NAICS, prior to 2019 benchmark, as early as 1999m4 to 2019m12
  • SIC, as early as 2000m4 to 2002m3

Industrial classification

The employment series currently cover the 2012 NAICS industrial classification. All major industry sectors include only privately-owned establishments, except for 90-910000 federal government, 90-920000 state government, and 90-930000 local government. For information on the composition of each industry, see the link below.


The CES employment series are estimates of nonfarm wage and salary jobs, not an estimate of employed persons; an individual with two jobs is counted twice by the payroll survey.  The CES employment series excludes employees in agriculture and private households and the self-employed.

For more information, see the Concepts section of Chapter 2 of the BLS Handbook of Methods (see link below); this section includes definitions of the types of data available from the survey. 


A wide array of public and private policy makers use CES data because it is one of the earliest indicators of economic conditions each month. Major users of CES data include many government agencies and entities, financial markets in the United States and around the world, and other business and academic analysts, researchers, and forecasters

For more information, see the Uses section of Chapter 2 of the BLS Handbook of Methods.

Net Birth-Death Model

The CES estimates are adjusted each month by a statistical model in order to reduce a primary source of non-sampling error. This error is the inability of the sample to capture employment growth generated by new business formations in a timely manner. There is an unavoidable lag between a business opening and its appearance in the sample. These new firm births generate a portion of employment growth each month so non-sampling methods must be used to estimate this growth.

Moody's Analytics supplements

For the net birth-death model, we produce a seasonally adjusted version of the "total nonfarm" series.

The Current Employment Statistics (CES) first preliminary estimates of employment, hours, and earnings are published each month approximately 3 weeks after the reference period. Estimates are then revised twice before being held constant until the annual benchmarking process. Second preliminary estimates for a given month are published the month following the initial release, and final sample-based estimates are published 2 months after the initial release.

Benchmark revisions are made annually. This happens in February for the U.S. and March for the States, and Metropolitan Areas.  Each year, the sample estimates from the CES are adjusted to universe counts of employment, known as benchmarks. Benchmarks are principally derived from a separate BLS program that aggregates the employment data reported on unemployment insurance (UI) tax reports that virtually all employers file each quarter with their state employment security agencies. With the benchmarks the BLS revises all seasonally adjusted series and introduces new seasonal factors to be used in ensuing months.  The revisions will extend back as far as 5 years.  

If the benchmark revisions include changes to geographic or industrial classifications the revision could impact the entire time series.

The BLS currently seasonally adjusts one-digit national and state figures and Moody's Analytics adjusts the one-digit MSA figures.

While the Office of Management and Budget defines 342 MSAs (including PMSAs and NECMAs), the BLS only reports data for approximately 275 of these areas.

The BLS790 databank includes redefinitions of geographies and industries as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data in this databank are not altered to reflect new geographic definitions beyond those changes made by the BLS. Data redefined, and fixed for breakpoints, are available to subscribers of the Industry Services Database.

Concurrent with dissimination of April 2020 data for the CES Net-Birth-Death Model, the BLS made changes to the methdology due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes made were:

  1. A portion of both reported zeros and returns from zero in the current month from the sample were used in estimation to better account for the fact that business births and deaths will not offset.
  2. urrent sample growth rates were included in the net birth-death forecasting model to better account for the changing relationships between business openings and closings.

Further reading

At the source:

At the source, for CES net birth-death model:

On Data Buffet: