Peak-trough tables produced by the BLS Current Employment Statistics (CES) program identify key turning points in seasonally adjusted CES time series. Key turning points are those which mark the beginning of sustained periods of growth or contraction in the time series. These points mark changes in trend and are distinct from month-to-month or other short-term fluctuations.
CES peak-trough tables designate the following cyclical phases in CES time series:
Peaks and troughs are designated according to the following criteria:
It is important to note that the peaks and troughs identified in a CES time series are specific to that particular time series. Although turning points in CES data frequently coincide with or occur near cyclical turning points in the overall economy, this is not always the case. (Note: Economy-wide turning points are identified by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). For more information, including a complete list of business cycle dates, consult the NBER webpage at http://www.nber.org/cycles/main.html.)
At the top of each peak trough table is a heading listing the release date of the data in the table, the industry title, NAICS code (when applicable), and the type of data appearing in the table.
Months are displayed across the top of the table and years appear along the left side.
A: For each month, both the level of the data and, underneath it, the over-the-month change in that level are displayed.
B: If a month is designated as a peak or a trough in the time series, that is indicated by the word "PEAK" or "TROUGH" being displayed between the level and the over-the-month change.
C: A solid line indicates a high point or a low point in the data, for the time period displayed in the table. When a high or low point coincides with a peak or trough, these lines appear as underscores beside the word "PEAK" or "TROUGH."
D: An "S" next to the over-the-month change indicates that the series was adjusted for an irregular movement, such as a strike.
E: "P" indicates that data is preliminary and subject to future revision.
1The Current Employment Statistics program for national estimates designates cyclical peaks and troughs in employment, hours, and earnings time series. Generally, the period between a peak and trough must be at least 6 months in duration. The extreme magnitude and dispersion of job losses across nearly all industries in March and April 2020 warrants treating the shorter downturn as a cyclical trough. This determination mirrors a similar decision made by the business cycle dating committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) to designate the episode as a recession, even though the downturn was briefer than earlier contractions. (See www.nber.org/news/business-cycle-dating-committee-announcement-july-19-2021.)
Last Modified Date: August 6, 2021