First quarter 2023 Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) results indicate Colorado total nonfarm payroll jobs estimates will be revised up for this period with the release of benchmarked estimates in March 2024. March 2023 estimates are expected to be revised up by about 27,000 nonfarm payroll jobs, or nine-tenths of a percentage point. January and February 2023 estimates are expected to be revised up by 18,800 and 20,300, respectively.
Applying these results through July 2023 brings estimated total nonfarm payroll jobs in July to 2,934,800. This change brings over the year payroll job growth estimates through July 2023 to 62,300 or 2.2 percent.
The final March 2024 benchmarked series are expected to vary from these estimates due to new seasonal adjustment factors and new estimates of nonfarm payroll jobs not covered by the unemployment insurance program.
Industry sectors expected to undergo an upward revision to payroll jobs estimates in the 1st quarter1 include trade, transportation, and utilities (~9,800), education and health services (~7,800), financial activities (~4,100), construction (~3,200), professional and business services (~3,200), other services (~1,400), and information (~900). Government may also be revised up.
The industry sectors expected to undergo a downward revision to payroll jobs estimates are manufacturing (~2,000) and leisure and hospitality (~1,200). Mining and logging may also be revised down.
Payroll jobs estimates for the Denver (~21,800), Fort Collins (~2,200), and Colorado Springs (~2,000) Metropolitan Statistical Areas are expected to be revised up in the 1st quarter1. The Pueblo and Grand Junction Metropolitan Statistical Areas may also be revised up.
Total nonfarm payroll job estimates for the Greeley (~1,900) Metropolitan Statistical Area is expected to be revised down in the 1st quarter. Estimates for the Boulder Metropolitan Statistical Area may also be revised downward.
1 Values shown are March estimates.
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Expected Revisions to Colorado Nonfarm Payroll Jobs based on 2nd quarter 2023 QCEW data will be released Tuesday, November 21, 2023.
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Every month of the year other than February the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, releases estimates of Colorado nonfarm payroll jobs for the previous month based on results from a survey of business establishments. Estimates for Colorado are produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for total nonfarm payroll jobs and specific industry sectors or groups of sectors across the entire state, and for the seven metropolitan statistical areas.
In February of each year these survey based estimates are compared to and adjusted in a process called “benchmarking” based on administrative records available since the release of the survey estimates. The results of that comparison are released in March.
For instance, at the beginning of the 2024 calendar year Colorado nonfarm payroll jobs estimates for the 4th quarter of 2022 and all of 2023 will be benchmarked based on information available from the QCEW program for the 4th quarter of 2022 and the first three quarters of 2023. These updated estimates will be released in March 2024.
The source of these administrative records for the QCEW program are unemployment insurance reports Colorado employers are required to file quarterly with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. Among other information, employers include the number of people employed at the firm for each month of the quarter for which the report is being filed. Although only firms with employees covered by the Colorado Unemployment Insurance program are required by state and federal law to submit these reports, this quarterly census of employment covers about 98 percent of all nonfarm payroll jobs and about 88 percent of total employment in Colorado.
Aggregated by industry, the QCEW data are more closely aligned with the definition of nonfarm payroll jobs than with total employment. This is because an individual holding more than one job is counted only once in the total employment estimate but multiple times in both QCEW and the nonfarm payroll jobs estimates. Total employment estimates are by place of residence while both QCEW and payroll jobs are by place of business.
Though the official nonfarm payroll jobs estimates are benchmarked only once a year, data from QCEW are available quarterly and, once available, can be compared to the official series to see by about how much the official statistics will be adjusted.