The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program is a Federal-State cooperative effort in which monthly estimates of total employment and unemployment are prepared for approximately 7,300 areas:

  • Census regions and divisions
  • States
  • Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Metropolitan NECTAS (New England City and Town Areas)
  • Metropolitan Divisions and NECTA Divisions
  • Micropolitan Statistical Areas and Micropolitan NECTAs
  • Combined Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Combined NECTAs
  • Small Labor Market Areas
  • Counties and county equivalents
  • Cities of 25,000 population or more
  • Cities and towns in New England regardless of population

These estimates are key indicators of local economic conditions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for the concepts, definitions, technical procedures, validation, and publication of the estimates that State employment security agencies prepare under agreement with BLS.

A wide variety of customers use these estimates:

  • Federal programs use the data for allocations to States and areas, as well as eligibility determinations for assistance.
  • State and local governments use the estimates for planning and budgetary purposes and to determine the need for local employment and training services.
  • Private industry, researchers, the media, and other individuals use the data to assess localized labor market developments and make comparisons across areas.

The concepts and definitions underlying LAUS data come from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the household survey that is the official measure of the labor force for the nation. State monthly model estimates are controlled in "real time" to sum to national monthly labor force estimates from the CPS. These models combine current and historical data from the CPS, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program, and State unemployment insurance (UI) systems. Estimates for seven large areas and their respective balances of State are also model-based. Estimates for the remainder of the substate labor market areas are produced through a building-block approach known as the "Handbook method." This procedure also uses data from several sources, including the CPS, the CES program, State UI systems, and the decennial census, to create estimates that are adjusted to the statewide measures of employment and unemployment. Below the labor market area level, estimates are prepared using disaggregation techniques based on inputs from the decennial census, annual population estimates, and current UI data.


Last Modified Date: September 25, 2008