Regional and State Unemployment, 2014 Annual Average Technical Note

Technical Note

This release presents labor force and unemployment data for census regions and
divisions and states from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program.
The LAUS program is a federal-state cooperative endeavor.


Definitions. The labor force and unemployment data are based on the same concepts
and definitions as those used for the official national estimates obtained from the
Current Population Survey (CPS), a sample survey of households that is conducted for
the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the U.S. Census Bureau. The LAUS program
measures employment and unemployment on a place-of-residence basis. The universe for
each is the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and older. Employed
persons are those who did any work at all for pay or profit in the reference week
(the week including the 12th of the month) or worked 15 hours or more without pay
in a family business or farm, plus those not working who had a job from which they
were temporarily absent, whether or not paid, for such reasons as labor management
dispute, illness, or vacation. Unemployed persons are those who were not employed
during the reference week (based on the definition above), had actively looked 
for a job sometime in the 4-week period ending with the reference week, and were
currently available for work; persons on layoff expecting recall need not be looking
for work to be counted as unemployed. The labor force is the sum of employed and
unemployed persons. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed expressed as
a percent of the labor force. The employment-population ratio is the proportion of
the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and older that is employed.

Method of estimation. Estimates for 48 of the 50 states, the District of Columbia,
the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale metropolitan division, New York City, and the
balances of California and New York State are produced using estimating equations
based on regression techniques. This method utilizes data from several sources,
including the CPS, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey of nonfarm payroll
employment, and state unemployment insurance (UI) programs. Estimates for the State
of California are derived by summing the estimates for the Los Angeles-Long Beach-
Glendale metropolitan division and the balance of California. Similarly, estimates
for New York State are derived by summing the estimates for New York City and the
balance of New York State. Estimates for all nine census divisions are based on a
similar regression approach that does not incorporate CES or UI data. Estimates for
census regions are obtained by summing the model-based estimates for the component
divisions and then calculating the unemployment rate. Each month, census division
estimates are controlled to national totals; state estimates are then controlled
to their respective division totals. Estimates for Puerto Rico are derived from
a monthly household survey similar to the CPS. A detailed description of the
estimation procedures is available from BLS upon request.

Annual revisions. Labor force and unemployment data for prior years reflect
adjustments made at the end of each year. The adjusted estimates incorporate
updated population controls from the U.S. Census Bureau, any revisions in the
other data sources, and model re-estimation. The population controls (except for
Puerto Rico) reflect extrapolation from the 2010 Census. In most years, historical
data for the most recent 5 years (both seasonally adjusted and not seasonally
adjusted) are revised near the beginning of each calendar year, prior to the 
release of January estimates. Though the labor force estimates typically are
updated for 5 years, the population estimates are adjusted back to the decennial
estimates base (April 2010). With the introduction of a new generation of times-
series models in 2015, historical data were re-estimated back to January 1976 for
regions, divisions, states, the District of Columbia, the Los Angeles-Long Beach-
Glendale metropolitan division, New York City, and the balances of California and
New York states.

Reliability of the estimates

The estimates presented in this release are based on sample surveys, administrative
data, and modeling and, thus, are subject to sampling and other types of errors.
Sampling error is a measure of sampling variability--that is, variation that occurs
by chance because a sample rather than the entire population is surveyed. Survey
data also are subject to nonsampling errors, such as those which can be introduced
into the data collection and processing operations. Estimates not directly derived
from sample surveys are subject to additional errors resulting from the specific
estimation processes used. In table 1, level estimates for states may not sum to
level estimates for regions and divisions because of rounding. Unemployment rates
and employment-population ratios are computed from unrounded levels and, thus, may
differ slightly from rates and ratios computed using the rounded level estimates
displayed in table 1.

Additional information

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals
upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

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Last Modified Date: March 04, 2015