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A note on BEA's estimates of wage and salary disbursements.

BEA's quarterly estimates of wage and salary disbursements in the private sector are based primarily on Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. BEA derives seasonally adjusted estimates of the QCEW data using the X-12 ARIMA seasonal adjustment routine from the Census Bureau. For years prior to 2009, where annual data for all four quarters are available, the derived seasonally adjusted quarters are controlled to the sum of the unadjusted quarters. Because the seasonal adjustments are based on historical patterns, the sum of the seasonally adjusted quarterly estimates derived before the annual data are available may differ substantially from the sum of the seasonally unadjusted data.

Estimates for the first three quarters of 2009 have been derived using seasonally adjusted industry data based on concurrent seasonal factors (seasonal factors for each quarter are derived using all available data over the last 10 years), and estimates for each quarter reflect the best quarter-to-quarter percent change for each industry. Current estimates of the fourth quarter of 2009 have been derived based on data from the BLS Current Employment Statistics Survey because QCEW data are not available at this time.

It should be noted that the estimates for the fourth quarter and for 2009 will be revised when QCEW data for the fourth quarter of 2009 become available. In July, revised seasonally adjusted quarters will be derived that reflect all four quarters of 2009 and revised data for 2007 and 2008. In addition, the seasonally adjusted quarters for 2009 will be controlled to the sum of the unadjusted 2009 quarters. This revision could result in substantial changes to both the level for the entire year and the pattern of the quarterly estimates of wages and salaries, especially during a year such as 2009, when the economy has experienced unusual turbulence.
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Publication:Survey of Current Business
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2010
Previous Article:State personal income, 2009.
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