Related BLS programs | Related articles
September 2005, Vol. 128, No. 9
Estimating gross flows consistent with stocks in the CPS
Harley J. Frazis, Edwin L. Robison, Thomas D. Evans, and Martha A. Duff
The Current Population Survey (CPS)
is primarily a cross-sectional survey
designed to estimate the distribution of labor force states—employed (E), unemployed (U), or not in the labor force (N)—among the population1 for a given month. However, the CPS also can be used to examine the number of persons who change their labor force state between months.
Gross-flow estimates describe the month-to-month transitions from one labor force state to another. The following 3 x 3 matrix gives an example in which EU represents the number of persons who were employed in the previous month (May) and are unemployed in the current month (June), and similarly for the other entries:
|Current month (June)|
|Previous month (May)||E||U||N|
Gross-flow estimation is possible in the CPS because households are interviewed for 4 consecutive months, are then rotated out of the survey for 8 months, and are then interviewed for another 4 consecutive months. About three-fourths of the sample households are in common across 2 consecutive months. Household records can be linked, and month-to-month labor force transitions determined, for most persons in those households.
Gross-flow statistics from the CPS were published from 1948 until 1952. Publication was stopped because there were clear discrepancies between labor force changes derived from the flows and labor force changes derived from the monthly stock estimates. (The sources of these differences are explained later.) Over the years, many analysts have called for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to resume publishing gross flows. This article describes a new method of obtaining flow statistics that are compatible with the monthly stock numbers. Seasonal adjustment of gross-flow series also is discussed.
This excerpt is from an article published in the September 2005 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
Read abstract Download full article in PDF (67K)
1 "Population" refers to the U.S. civilian noninstitutional population aged 16 and older.
Current Population Survey
Related Monthly Labor Review articles
Using gross flows
to explore movements in the labor force.—Apr.
Women's part-time employment: A gross flows analysis.—Apr. 1995.
Measuring labor force flows: a conference examines the problems.—Jul. 1985.
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers