|Accessibility Information||Geographic Profile of Employment and Unemployment, 2011||Bulletin 2774|
Appendix A: Concepts and Definitions for Data Derived from the Current Population Survey
Tables showing the labor force status include estimates of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years and older, as well as data on the civilian labor force, labor force participation rates, employment, and unemployment rates. Population estimates are revised by the U.S. Census Bureau each year, and the revised estimates are incorporated into the Current Population Survey (CPS) labor force levels. This adjustment affects the estimates of labor force, employment, and unemployment levels, but it generally does not affect percentages, such as unemployment rates, labor force participation rates, or employment-population ratios. Thus, levels contained in this publication may not be comparable with levels published prior to or after 2011 in Geographic Profile of Employment and Unemployment.
Concepts and definitions underlying the labor force data in this bulletin are as follows:
Civilian noninstitutional population. This category comprises all persons 16 years of age and older residing in the 50 States and the District of Columbia who are not inmates of institutions (for example, penal and mental facilities and homes for the aged) and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces.
Employed persons. These are all persons who, during the reference week, (a) worked for least 1 hour as paid employees in their own business or profession or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of the family, or (b) were not working but had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent because of a labor-management dispute, job training, vacation, illness, bad weather, childcare problems, maternity or paternity leave, or other family or personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs.
Unemployed persons. Those in this category are all persons who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work—except for temporary illness—and made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the 4-week period ending with the reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed.
Duration of unemployment. This categorization represents the length of time (through the current reference week) that persons classified as unemployed had been looking for work. For persons who were laid off, the duration of unemployment represents the number of full weeks they had been on layoff.
Reason for unemployment. Unemployment is categorized according to the status of individuals at the time they began to look for work. People are divided into five major groups on the basis of their reason for unemployment: (1) job losers, comprising (a) persons on temporary layoff, who have been given a date to return to work or who expect to return within 6 months (persons on layoff need not be looking for work to qualify as unemployed), and (b) permanent job losers, whose employment ended involuntarily and who began looking for work; (2) job leavers, who quit or otherwise terminated their employment voluntarily and immediately began looking for work; (3) persons who completed temporary jobs (included along with job losers in this publication), who began looking for work after their temporary jobs ended; (4) reentrants, who previously worked but were out of the labor force prior to beginning their job search; and (5) new entrants, who have never worked.
Labor force. This group comprises all persons classified as employed or unemployed in accordance with the criteria described above.
Unemployment rate. The unemployment rate represents the number of unemployed persons as a percentage of the labor force.
Participation rate. This measure represents the proportion of the civilian noninstitutional population that is in the labor force.
Employment-population ratio. This measure represents the proportion of the civilian noninstitutional population that is employed.
Married, spouse present; and family. “Married, spouse present,” applies to husband and wife if both were living in the same household, even if one is temporarily absent on business, on vacation, on a visit, in a hospital, etc. A family is defined as a group of two or more persons residing together who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption; all such persons are considered as members of one family. Families are classified either as married-couple families or as families maintained by women or men without spouses. A family maintained by a woman or a man is defined as a family in which the householder is either single, widowed, divorced, or married with the spouse absent.
Occupation and industry. This information regarding the employed applies to the job held in the reference week. Persons with two or more jobs are classified as being in the job at which they worked the greatest number of hours. The unemployed are classified according to their last job. The occupation and industry classification of CPS data is based on the coding systems used in Census 2000.
Class of worker. The class-of-worker breakdown assigns workers to the following categories: private and government wage and salary workers, self-employed workers, and unpaid family workers. Wage and salary workers receive wages, salary, commissions, tips, or pay in kind from a private employer or from a government unit. Self-employed persons are those who work for profit or fees in their own business, profession, trade, or farm. Only the unincorporated self-employed are included in the self-employed category in the class-of-worker typology. Self-employed persons who respond that their businesses are incorporated are included among wage and salary workers because, technically, they are paid employees of a corporation. Unpaid family workers are persons working without pay for 15 hours a week or more on a farm or in a business operated by a member of the household to whom they are related by birth or marriage.
Hours of work. These statistics relate to the actual number of hours worked during the reference week. For example, persons who normally work 40 hours a week but were off on the Columbus Day holiday would be reported as working 32 hours, even though they were paid for the holiday. For persons working in more than one job, the figures relate to the number of hours worked in all jobs during the week; all the hours are credited to the major job.
At work part time for economic reasons. Sometimes called “involuntary part time,” this category refers to individuals who give an economic reason for working 1 to 34 hours during the reference week. Economic reasons include unfavorable business conditions, inability to find full-time work, and seasonal declines in demand. Those who usually work part time must indicate that they want and are available to work full time in order to be classified as at work part time for economic reasons.
At work part time for noneconomic reasons. This group includes those persons who usually work part time and were at work 1 to 34 hours during the reference week for a noneconomic reason. Some examples of noneconomic reasons are the following: illness or other medical limitations, childcare problems or other family or personal obligations, school or training, retirement or Social Security limits on earnings, and being in a job in which full-time work is less than 35 hours. The group also includes those who give an economic reason for usually working 1 to 34 hours but say they do not want to work full time or are unavailable for such work.
Usual full- or part-time status. Data on persons “at work” exclude persons who were temporarily absent from a job and are therefore classified into the zero-hours-worked category, “with a job but not at work.” These are persons who were absent from their jobs for the entire reference week for such reasons as bad weather, childcare problems, maternity or paternity leave, vacation, illness, or involvement in a labor dispute. In order to differentiate a person's normal schedule from his or her activity during the reference week, persons also are classified according to their usual full- or part-time status. In this context, full-time workers are those who usually work 35 or more hours (at all jobs combined). This group will include some individuals who worked less than 35 hours in the reference week for either economic or noneconomic reasons and those who are temporarily absent from work. Similarly, part-time workers are those who usually work less than 35 hours per week (at all jobs), regardless of the number of hours worked in the reference week. This may include some individuals who actually worked at least 35 hours in the reference week, as well as those who were temporarily absent from work.
White, Black or African American, Asian, and “other.” These are terms used to describe the race of persons. Included in the “other” group are persons classified as American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN), as Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander (NHPI), as some other race (SOR), and within two or more race categories. Because of the relatively small sample size in most areas, data for “other” races are not published at this time. In the enumeration process, race is determined by the household respondent.
Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. This refers to persons who identified themselves in the survey enumeration process as Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or of other Hispanic or Latino ethnicity or descent. Persons of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity may be of any race; thus, they are included in the White, Black or African American, and Asian population groups.
Last Updated: September 17, 2012