Bureau of Labor Statistics
Mid-Atlantic Information Office
Suite 610 EastThe Curtis Center
170 South Independence Mall West
Philadelphia, PA 19106-3305
Current Population Survey (CPS)
Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)
Explanatory Note (PDF)
Current Population Survey
Statistics on the employment status of the population and related
data are compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) using data from
the Current Population Survey (CPS). This monthly survey of households
is conducted for BLS by the Bureau of the Census through a scientifically
selected sample designed to represent the civilian noninstitutional
population. Respondents are interviewed to obtain information about the
employment status of each member of the household 16 years of age and
over. The inquiry relates to activity or status during the calendar
week, Sunday through Saturday, which includes the 12th day of the month.
This is known as the “reference week.” Actual field interviewing is
conducted in the following week, referred to as the “survey week.”
Each month about 60,000 occupied units are eligible for interview.
Some 2,600 of these households are contacted but interviews are not
obtained because the occupants are not at home after repeated calls or
are unavailable for other reasons. This represents a noninterview rate
for the survey that ranges between 4 and 5 percent. In addition to the
60,000 occupied units, there are 11,500 sample units in an average month
which are visited but found to be vacant or otherwise not eligible for
enumeration. The rotation plan provides for three-fourths of the sample
to be common from one month to the next, and one-half to be common with
the same month a year earlier.
Local Area Unemployment Statistics
Unemployment estimates for States and local areas are key indicators of local economic conditions. These estimates, which are produced by State employment security agencies, are used by State and local governments for planning and budgetary purposes and as determinants for the need for local employment and training services and programs. Local area unemployment estimates are also used to determine the eligibility of an area for benefits in various Federal assistance programs.
Under the Federal-State cooperative program, the Bureau of Labor Statistics develops the concepts, definitions, and technical procedures which are used by State agencies for the preparation of labor force and unemployment estimates. Currently, monthly estimates of employment and unemployment are prepared in State agencies for some 5,400 geographic areas, which include all States, labor market areas (LMA’s) and counties and cities having a population of 25,000 or more.
Last Modified Date: May 16, 2008