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March 2007, Vol. 130, No. 3
Household survey data show labor market improvements in 2006
Uemployment decreased, and employment, as measured by the Current Population Survey (CPS), rose.1 Other labor market measures showed improvement over the year. In the fourth quarter of 2006, 6.8 million people were unemployed and the unemployment rate was 4.5 percent. Both measures were down from a year earlier. Total employment and the employment-population ratio increased during the year, to 145.6 million and 63.3 percent, respectively. The labor force—the sum of the employed and the unemployed—grew over the year at about the same pace as the population; as a result, the proportion of the population in the labor force—the labor force participation rate—was little changed in 2006.
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1 The data in this article are based on information collected in the Current Population Survey (CPS), also called the household survey, a sample survey of some 60,000 households nationwide conducted for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the Census Bureau. (For more information about the household survey, see box on page 4.)
Although the CPS is a monthly survey, the data analyzed throughout this article are seasonally adjusted quarterly averages, unless otherwise noted. All over-the-year changes are comparisons of fourth-quarter data from 2005 to 2006.
Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
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