Withholding-Tax FAQ

Question: Is the withholding-tax data used by the BLS in it’s “Employment Situation” report?

Answer: No, it is not. Instead, the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses data from the unemployment-insurance system. So, first the BLS does their surveys. Then, once a year, they benchmark their data with the UI data. Every employer must file a form listing all of their employees with their state each quarter. See Florida’s Form RT-6 as an example. So, the exact number of jobs in the USA is known, but only on a quarterly basis. The BLS wants to give us monthly reports, so that’s why they do their surveys. While many employers deposit withholding taxes weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly, they do not have to list the number of employees until they file their quarterly Form 941. However, by looking at the fluctuations in the total amount of withholding-tax collections, which are reported daily, we can get an excellent idea of how many jobs there are on a real-time basis. Read more here.

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