(Bloomberg) -- More than a dozen states had significantly lower employment from September through December 2023 than current government estimates show, according to analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

Early benchmark estimates indicated higher employment in five states and lower employment in 13 states than current Bureau of Labor Statistics, which are based on the agency’s Current Employment Statistics. The early revisions show a particularly strong drop in the number of jobs in California, with minimal changes to the remaining 32 states and the District of Columbia.

The Philadelphia Fed analyzed data from the more comprehensive Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program to provide an estimate of the annual benchmark revisions that will be released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics next March.

Overall, the Fed researchers found that payrolls edged up just 0.3% from September through December 2023 after adjusting with the QCEW data, significantly less than the 1.6% increase based on current CES estimates.

In 13 states, the Philadelphia Fed analysis indicates a weaker jobs picture. The biggest decrease is in California, with about 340,000 fewer jobs, and Arizona and Florida each show drops of more than 100,000. 

Arizona had the biggest estimated decline in percentage terms. Current estimates show jobs rose 2.9% on an annualized basis from September to December 2023, but analysis using the early benchmark data shows a 3.8% decline in the Grand Canyon state. 

In New Jersey, payroll jobs edged down 0.2% from September through December after adjusting for QCEW data, significantly worse than the 2.3% gain currently indicated.

Meanwhile, five states — Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Maryland and North Carolina — job growth is seen to be significantly stronger than current estimates. In Colorado for instance, the early benchmark employment figures show 114,000 more jobs than currently indicated.

The QCEW data covers more than 95% of US jobs and are used in the annual revisions to the monthly nonfarm payrolls data. The BLS issues benchmarked revisions of its monthly CES state employment estimates in March of each year by incorporating the QCEW data available through September of the prior year. 

Since the QCEW data are available quarterly, Philadelphia Fed researchers are able to create their own early benchmark estimates on a more timely basis. Early estimates may provide timelier insights but are preliminary, and subject to a relatively large sampling errors, according to the researchers.

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