Overview

The Current Population Survey, a monthly household survey conducted by the Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, provides a comprehensive body of information on the employment and unemployment experience of the Nation's population, classified by age, sex, race, and a variety of other characteristics.

Frequently requested information

Current news releases

Data available

  • Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years and over by age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, marital status, family relationship, and Vietnam-era veteran status.
  • Employed persons by occupation, industry, class of worker, hours of work, full- or part-time status, and reasons for working part time.
  • Employed multiple jobholders by occupation, industry, numbers of jobs held, and full- or part-time status of multiple jobs.
  • Unemployed persons by occupation, industry, class of worker of last job, duration of unemployment, reason for unemployment, and methods used to find employment.
  • Discouraged workers and other persons not in the labor force.
  • Special topics such as the labor force status of particular subgroups of the population (e g., women maintaining families, working women with children, displaced workers, and disabled veterans). Data are also available on work experience, occupational mobility, job tenure, educational attainment, and school enrollment of workers.
  • Information on weekly and hourly earnings by detailed demographic group, occupation, education, union affiliation, and full- and part-time employment status.

Coverage

  • Civilian noninstitutional population 16 years and older.

Source of data

  • Current Population Survey, a sample of 60,000 households; data are collected by personal and telephone interviews. Basic labor force data are gathered monthly; data on special topics are gathered in periodic supplements.

Reference period

  • Monthly, calendar week (Sunday through Saturday) which includes the 12th day of the month.

Forms of publication

  • Monthly news release—The Employment Situation—about 3 weeks after reference period. Electronic access available.
  • Monthly periodical—Employment and Earnings—5 weeks after reference period. Electronic access available.
  • Quarterly news release—Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers.
  • Analytical studies and research summaries published in Monthly Labor Review.
  • BLS bulletins and reports.
  • Annual news releases on topics of special interest.

Uses

  • Economic indicators.
  • Most comprehensive measure of national employment and unemployment.
  • Primary source of data on employment status and characteristics of the labor force, emerging trends, and changes.
  • Measure of potential labor supply.
  • Determining factors affecting changes in labor force participation of different population groups.
  • Evaluation of wage rates and earnings trends for specific demographic groups.

Other labor force topics and fact sheets:

Methodology

  • BLS Handbook of Methods, Chapter 1 on the Labor Force
  • Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Labor Force Series (PDF 38KB), published annually, in the January issue of Employment and Earnings, including January-June seasonal factors for the 12 major components and describing methods and procedures.

 

Last Modified Date: February 25, 2014