Overview

The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program is a federal-state cooperative effort in which monthly estimates of total employment and unemployment are prepared for approximately 7,500 areas:

  • Census regions and divisions
  • States
  • Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Metropolitan NECTAS (New England City and Town Areas)
  • Metropolitan Divisions and NECTA Divisions
  • Micropolitan Statistical Areas and Micropolitan NECTAs
  • Combined Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Combined NECTAs
  • Small Labor Market Areas
  • Counties and county equivalents
  • Cities of 25,000 population or more
  • Cities and towns in New England regardless of population

These estimates are key indicators of local economic conditions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for the concepts, definitions, technical procedures, validation, and publication of the estimates that state workforce agencies prepare under agreement with BLS.

A wide variety of customers use these estimates:

  • Federal programs use the data for allocations to states and areas, as well as eligibility determinations for assistance.
  • State and local governments use the estimates for planning and budgetary purposes and to determine the need for local employment and training services.
  • Private industry, researchers, the media, and other individuals use the data to assess localized labor market developments and make comparisons across areas.

The concepts and definitions underlying LAUS data come from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the household survey that is the source of the national unemployment rate. State monthly model-based estimates are controlled in "real time" to sum to national monthly employment and unemployment estimates from the CPS. These models combine current and historical data from the CPS, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, and state unemployment insurance (UI) systems. Estimates for seven large areas and their respective balances of state also are model-based. Estimates for counties are produced through a building-block approach known as the "Handbook method." This procedure also uses data from several sources, including the CPS, the CES program, state UI systems, and the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS), to create estimates that are adjusted to the statewide measures of employment and unemployment. Estimates for cities are prepared using disaggregation techniques based on inputs from the ACS, annual population estimates, and current UI data.

 

Last Modified Date: March 10, 2016