The 2020 Q1 estimates of State Personal Income were impacted by the response to the spread of COVID-19, as governments issued “stay-at-home” orders. This led to rapid changes in employment and earnings as businesses switched to remote work or canceled operations, and consumers canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending. In addition to the regular source data used to prepare the State Personal Income estimates, BEA also relied upon April monthly state level data from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey tabulated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and weekly state level data for March on Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims from the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) to inform its estimates. These data helped to more accurately capture the state-level industry impacts of the COVID-19 “stay-at-home” orders on workers’ earnings in the latter half of March. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the State Personal Income estimates for 2020 Q1 because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.
BEA's quarterly state estimates of wages and salaries are typically based on monthly state data from the CES. The reference period for the CES establishment survey is the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month. The March 12, 2020 reference period for the CES survey preceded many of the COVID-19-related business closures and job losses that occurred in the latter half of the month. As a result, BEA used both the March and April CES state level estimates to better capture business closures and job losses that occurred in March. Weekly state UI claims data from ETA also capture job losses that occurred outside the reference period covered by the CES survey. These reports were also used by BEA to inform its 2020 Q1 state estimates of wages and salaries.