Last year the revisions revealed greater job growth over 2012 in Delaware and New Jersey, but slightly less growth in Pennsylvania than was originally estimated. As of December 2012, the new benchmark data resulted in an additional 1,100 jobs being added to the Delaware estimate, 18,400 more jobs in New Jersey, and 4,100 fewer jobs in Pennsylvania for the year.

Economists look forward to these benchmark revisions because they more accurately reflect employment trends. At times, the revisions can be substantial, especially for smaller areas and for industrial subsectors of the overall economy.

However, analysts need not wait an entire year for the new benchmark revisions, since much of the underlying data upon which the benchmarks are made are released on an interim basis (with a six-month lag) as part of the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program, also known as the ES-202 program.

By carefully monitoring changes in the QCEW data, analysts can anticipate probable benchmark revisions, thereby producing forecasts of monthly CES employment that are more accurate and less volatile than the series itself.

This report launches our new series of Regional Economic Analysis reports, which includes a quarterly series dedicated to monitoring the QCEW, along with other important indicators of regional economic health, such as personal income and state GDP.

1 Our analysis of the direction and size of the potential benchmark revisions to total state employment data take into account data and information up to and including the BLS’s County Employment and Wages report for the second quarter of 2013 (released on December 18, 2013).