Potential Effects of the Events of September 11, 2001,
on Labor Force Data from the Current Population Survey

Last Update: January 4, 2002

  • The tragic events of Tuesday, Sept. 11, occurred during the September reference week (Sept. 9-15) for the Current Population Survey (CPS)—the “household” survey. Data collection began on Sunday, Sept. 16, and continued into the week beginning Sept. 23, as scheduled. The survey response rates both nationwide and in the New York City area were normal.
  • Many people were affected by the attacks, and many businesses and government agencies across the nation closed for a day or more in their wake. Due to the way the concepts of employment and unemployment are defined in the CPS, however, the attack had little effect on September’s employment and unemployment estimates.
  • To some extent, the labor market data from the household survey for October and subsequent months reflect the impact of the terrorist attacks of September 11. The labor market had been weakening before those attacks, and those events undoubtedly exacerbated this weakness. It is not possible, however, to separate the job-market effects of the terrorist attacks from the underlying economic weakness.

 

Last Modified Date: January 4, 2002