Impact of the Events of September 11, 2001, on BLS Local Area Unemployment Statistics Estimates

  • The tragic events of September 11, 2001, resulted in a devastating loss of life, direct disruptions to the affected local economies, and secondary disruptions of businesses outside of the directly impacted areas. The labor force impacts of these events began to register in the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) estimates for October 2001. While it is not possible to quantify the effects of the terrorist attacks on overall unemployment, some impact has become evident. The nonfarm payroll employment data of the Current Employment Statistics program show travel-related employment declines in the majority of states. Those and other employment declines were sufficiently large to drive up the unemployment rates noticeably in Nevada and Hawaii.
  • The Current Population Survey (CPS, or household survey) and Current Employment Statistics (CES, or establishment) survey provide key inputs to LAUS estimates. The CPS employment and unemployment measures that form the conceptual basis for the LAUS estimates relate to where individuals live. Thus, the direct effects of the attacks in Manhattan were registered not only in the data for New York City, but also in the data for those parts of Connecticut, New Jersey, and the rest of New York State from which residents commute to the Lower Manhattan area. In contrast, the direct effects of the World Trade Center disaster on CES employment data (also issued in the BLS reports on State and Metropolitan area employment and unemployment) were in New York City. The indirect effects—layoffs that occured because of declining business related to the disasters—were felt nationwide and are evident in certain areas, as noted above.
  • Civilian employees working in the Pentagon are employed in Northern Virginia (part of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area) but may reside in any of several States. Military employees are not covered in any of the BLS surveys.
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    Last Modified Date: November 21, 2001