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Months for benchmark dominance: A new accuracy measure for state employment data


  • Phillips, Keith R.
  • Teng, Judy S.


Employment growth is one of the most commonly used measures of the economic health of U.S. states. While the CES jobs data is timely and available by industry, for many states the early estimates are subject to large revisions, significantly reducing the usefulness of the series. Much of the error, however, cancels out when taking growth over several months. In this paper we evaluate the benchmark revisions by state and produce a quality guidepost that determines the months of growth needed to be calculated such that the early estimates are more representative of the benchmark growth than due to error.

Suggested Citation

  • Phillips, Keith R. & Teng, Judy S., 2020. "Months for benchmark dominance: A new accuracy measure for state employment data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 187(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:187:y:2020:i:c:s0165176519304409
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2019.108873

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Phillips, Keith R. & Nordlund, James, 2012. "The efficiency of the benchmark revisions to the current employment statistics (CES) data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(3), pages 431-434.
    2. Franklin D. Berger & Keith R. Phillips, 1994. "Solving the mystery of the disappearing January blip in state employment data," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q II, pages 53-62.
    3. Franklin D. Berger & Keith R. Phillips, 1994. "The disappearing January blip and other state employment mysteries," Working Papers 9403, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
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    More about this item


    Data revision; Data accuracy; Payroll employment; Current analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics


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