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What Sources Should I Use During COVID-19?

The following Q&A details the data sources that Emsi is using during this economic crisis, as well as other sources that could be useful to you outside of Emsi tools.

  • What are the best pieces of Emsi data to look at for information about how COVID-19 shutdowns are impacting economies?
    • Job Postings: Job Posting Analytics, found in Analyst and Developer (or the Job Posting Competition report in Talent Analyst), are currently the best source for up-to-date data, and the interfaces have been modified to allow users to look at the last 30 days of JPA data using a daily view:
    • Input-Output Impact Scenarios: The Impact Scenarios in the Input-Output model (found in Analyst and Developer) are a good place to go to get an idea of the impact that job losses will have on a particular region. You can choose an industry you’re interested in, find out how many jobs there are currently, and model the impacts of job loss information you may have from other sources. The model will then show you the impact of the loss of those jobs on other jobs and regional earnings. In the absence of robust LMI from government sources that is current enough to speak to the COVID-19 situation, I-O is a good way to model the impacts.
      • How to model short-term impacts in the Input-Output model: 
        • Nation: Ignore induced multipliers; focus on initial, direct, and indirect (in other words, use Type I multipliers).
        • State & smaller: Use Type II multipliers, which are tailored to model short-term impacts in state and smaller regions.
      • For more information on the Input-Output model and its use for modeling scenarios during COVID, see our blog post.
    • CES Monthly Employment Counts (API Only): The BLS conducts a monthly survey of businesses from which they estimate monthly employment. Emsi makes this data available in our Core LMI API (not currently in Analyst/Developer).
  • What government sources used by Emsi will be the first to catch up with COVID-19 changes?
    • The most up-to-date government source is LAUS, which is the source of Emsi’s unemployment data. Emsi uses data from LAUS’s county-level file, which generally lags by about two months. Emsi now publishes unemployment data from LAUS as it becomes available, rather than publishing several new months at a time during our quarterly update. It generally takes Emsi 1-2 weeks to publish new LAUS data.
  • Is there any government source not used by Emsi that I can look at for more information on COVID?
    • Currently the best three sources for data are LAUS (described above), the Department of Labor’s weekly counts of unemployment insurance claims, and the BLS’s Current Employment Statistics dataset, which contains monthly employment counts for the nation, with varying levels of NAICS detail.
    • Weekly Unemployment Insurance Claims: This dataset is a weekly count of the unemployment claims filed by displaced workers. The data is available at the national and state level and may be helpful for anyone trying to understand the magnitude of the hit to the workforce in the United States, and how that impact is changing on a weekly basis.
      • Go to the Unemployment Insurance page and select the PDF report:
      • A PDF will be downloaded. The first line of Page 4 of the PDF will show UI claims for the prior three weeks:

      • Historical data can be found here.
    • CES Monthly Employment Counts: The BLS’s Current Employment Statistics dataset measures monthly employment counts. This data comes from a monthly survey of about 145,000 businesses. It is available at the national level with varying levels of NAICS detail. National data for the prior month is released about a week into the subsequent month (e.g. March was released on 4/3/20):


      • Data is also available at the state and metro level with no NAICS detail (total employment only). State/metro data for the prior month is released at the end of the following month (e.g. February was released on 3/27/30):


      • This data will differ from Emsi’s QCEW-based employment counts since QCEW and CEW collection methods are completely different. However, the benefit of CES in this situation is that it shows month-to-month change in employment. For more information about the relationship between Emsi employment and CES employment, see this article.
  • How will Emsi’s employment projections show COVID-19 effects?
    • It is important to remember that Emsi’s projections are forward projections of past employment trends. They do not take into account any legislation, current events, or non-employment factors. Changes in recorded employment will affect projections. Emsi does not change methodology to attempt to model the effects of current events, as doing so would involve guesswork and assumptions that can’t be supported with any data.
    • Since Emsi’s employment projections are based on historical employment data with slight adjustments for BLS and state projections, they will only change as historical employment data reported in the BLS’s QCEW dataset changes. The effects of the coronavirus-related layoffs will begin appearing in QCEW 2020Q1 data, which is due to be released by the BLS on 9/2/20. This data will be incorporated into Emsi’s 2020.4 datarun, due to be released on 10/9/20.
    • The effect on projections will likely be slight initially but will increase over time as more quarters of 2020 QCEW data become available. As more data comes in showing job loss, each datarun’s projections will likely decline progressively in comparison with the prior datarun’s projections (e.g. an occupation with 10-year projected job growth of 100 in the 2020.3 datarun might show growth of 90 in the 2020.4 datarun, 50 in the 2021.1 datarun, and so on).


  • How are openings and replacements data affected by COVID-19?
    • Replacement data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is published every two years. This dataset is simply a national-level estimate of the percent of each occupation that needs to be replaced every year. Emsi multiplies Emsi job counts by these replacement rates to arrive at the number of replacement jobs. The next update to replacement rates is not due to be released until Fall 2021, and it is too soon to say what (if anything) the BLS may do to try to model the effects of the COVID-19 shutdowns on replacement needs.
    • Emsi’s Openings counts are simply replacement jobs plus jobs due to growth. Openings will reflect COVID-19 changes to the extent that they show up in employment data (from QCEW, effects beginning to show 10/2020) and replacements data (possibly no effects shown; data from BLS released late 2021).

If you have additional questions concerning Emsi data during this time, please contact your account manager, or use the Submit a Question feature on the right.


Submit a Question

Let us know what specific questions we can help you with (we may even add your question to our knowledge base).


Submit a Question

Let us know what specific questions we can help you with (we may even add your question to our knowledge base).