Instructions for Extracting LAUS Data

Overview of Data Extraction Tools

There are several ways to extract Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) data. The available options and their advantages and disadvantages are as follows:

Most Requested Statistics
This option is best for those who want easy access to monthly and/or annual average data for a state and its metropolitan areas. It does not allow access to other areas. You can retrieve data from only one state at a time, so if you are looking for data across numerous states, you will have to repeat the steps for each state. Go to Useful Information for details on the "More Formatting Options" button available with this option.

Create Customized Tables (one screen)
(This option works only with a Java-enabled browser and also works best with a high-speed connection to the Internet.)
This is a quick and easy way to make all selections from one screen. By choosing the state (or census region and division) and then the area type(s), you will be able to select from a list of specific areas for which you would like data. The other possibility within this option is to choose the area type and then the state(s) to get the list of specific areas. The sort order for counties and cities is alphabetic using this approach. Go to Useful Information for details on the "More Formatting Options" button available with this option.

Create Customized Tables (multiple screens)
(This option works with any browser.)
If you are unable to use the one-screen form to create tables, then this option, which is a menu-driven data query tool available to all users, may work well. It facilitates access for specific data series, including specific geographic areas or groups of areas. A series of six prompts on separate screens will narrow your search. The sort order for counties and cities is less user-friendly and not necessarily in alphabetical sequence. This tool also can be used to create a codefile that can be used with "Series Report" to get future updates for a list of areas. It also can produce output that easily imports into a spreadsheet.

Series Report
If you already know the Series ID for the data you want, you can use "Series Report." For example, LAUMT17169803 is the series ID for the unemployment rate for the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area. If you need to make repeated queries over time for the same area(s), this option is very useful. Files of series IDs can be saved and pasted into the selection box.

Flat files FTP Site
Use this option to download a flat or text file of a subset of the database. This is particularly useful if you need a large amount of data, because the "Create Customized Tables" and "Series Report" options are generally limited to a few hundred series.

At a Glance —Regions, States, and Areas
This is a quick way to get the most recent data from several of the Bureau of Labor Statistics programs including state and metropolitan area data from LAUS, as well as nonfarm wage and salary employment. Go to Useful Information for details on the "More Formatting Options" button available with this option.

Useful Information

Before reading the instructions for extracting data, you should note that the following options are available for the data extraction tools:

  • If you are prompted to choose "one or more" from the list provided, you may make multiple selections by holding down the control or shift key while clicking on the selection. Holding down the control key will allow you to make several selections one at a time, while holding down the shift key will highlight everything between the two selections you have made.
  • If you are unsure whether you should be extracting seasonally adjusted or not seasonally adjusted data, see "Seasonal Adjustment" under "Publications and Other Documentation" to determine which is appropriate for your purposes and which is available. If you want annual averages, you will have to choose not seasonally adjusted data. Seasonally adjusted data are available in Labstat only for census regions and divisions; states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico; and a small number of substate modeled areas and associated state balances. Downloadable files containing seasonally adjusted data for all metropolitan areas and metropolitan divisions are maintained at http://www.bls.gov/lau/metrossa.htm
  • The applications used to create customized tables (one screen and multiple screens) impose a limit of a few hundred series for which you can extract data (regardless of the number of years per series). In entering a set of series IDs as input in the Series Report option, you are also limited to entering a few hundred series IDs per execution.
  • For some of the options, including "Create Customized Tables (One Screen)," "Most Requested Statistics," and "U.S. Economy at a Glance," you can change the time period and request graphs right from the top of the output screen. You also will have the option to change the output by clicking on "More Formatting Options" once you have extracted the data. The options available include specifying the time period, modifying the format, obtaining net and percent changes, and choosing html or text output. Check the appropriate boxes and then click on "Retrieve Data."
  • If you use "Create Customized Tables (Multiple Screens)" or "Series Report," you can capture data and put them into a spreadsheet. Select the following options before retrieving data: Choose option 3 or 4 under "Format"; "no" for "HTML Tables" and "Catalog"; and "space" for "Delimiter." Select "Retrieve Data" on that screen and the next screen that appears. If you choose format 4, also choose "Area" for "Row Stub (Survey Characteristic)." Save the data as a text file and open the document in Excel. When the Text Import Wizard opens on your screen, make sure "Fixed Width" is selected. Click on "Next" twice and then "Finish."

Instructions

Detailed instructions for using the available options follow:

Most Requested Statistics—will provide only state and metropolitan area data.

  1. From the LAUS home page, click on "Get Detailed Statistics," and then click on "Most Requested Series," or go to http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?la. You also can select a state from the list below the map on the LAUS home page.
  2. Click on the state for which you want data.
  3. Check the appropriate box(es) for the area and data type you want. Choosing seasonally adjusted estimates will retrieve only monthly data and not annual averages.
  4. Click on "Retrieve Data."
  5. A screen comes up with the last 10 years of monthly data. On the top left of the page you can change the date range and request the data to be graphed. Additional output options are available by using the "More Formatting Options" link on the top right.

Create Customized Tables (one screen)

  1. Starting from the LAUS home page, scroll down to "Get Detailed Statistics", and click on "Create Customized Tables (one screen)," or go to http://data.bls.gov/labjava/outside.jsp?survey=la. Note that there is a "Help" tab available at the top of the screen if you are having difficulty making your selections.
  2. You have two options initially. The first is to make your selections by looking at area types within a state or states (the default option), and the other is to view data by area type across states.
A. The default screen allows you to obtain several area types within one state:
  1. Select the state where the areas for which you want data are located. If you want data for census regions and divisions, scroll to the bottom, below the list of states, and select that.
  2. Select the area type(s). You will be able to select only area types applicable to the state in question. Choosing "Census Regions and Divisions" permits the selection of census regions and census divisions only.
  3. Select the specific areas. They are arranged alphabetically by area type. You can also type in the name of the area and click on "Find" to select the desired area(s).
  4. Deselect "Seasonally Adjusted" or "Not Seasonally Adjusted" if you do not want that type of data. If none of the areas you request are available on a seasonally adjusted basis, this choice will not be an option.
  5. You may select "Add to Your Selection" to return to the state selection. This will allow you to add data series from another state.
  6. Select "Get Data" once you have completed your selections.
  7. A screen comes up with the last 10 years of monthly data. On the top left of the page you can change the date range and request the data to be graphed. Additional output options are available by using the "More Formatting Options" link on the top right.
B. You can also select the second option under "Select how you want to view the data" to obtain data across several states by the same area type.
  1. Select the area type.
  2. Select the state(s) where the areas for which you would like data are located.
  3. Select the specific areas. They are arranged alphabetically by area type. You can also type in the name of the area and click on "Find" to select the desired area(s).
  4. Deselect "Seasonally Adjusted" or "Not Seasonally Adjusted" if you do not want that type of data. If none of the areas you request are available on a seasonally adjusted basis, this choice will not be an option.
  5. You may select "Add to Your Selection" to return to the area type selection. This will allow you to add data series for another area type.
  6. Select "Get Data" once you have completed your selections.
  7. A screen comes up with the last 10 years of monthly data. On the top left of the page you can change the date range and request the data to be graphed. Additional output options are available by using the "More Formatting Options" link on the top right.

Create Customized Tables (multiple screens)

  1. Starting from the LAUS home page, scroll down to "Get Detailed Statistics," and click on "Create Customized Tables (multiple screens)," or go to http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/dsrv?la. A series of six prompts on separate screens will narrow your search. You will need to choose "Next form" to move on to the next prompt.
  2. Choose the state(s) where the area(s) for which you want data are located (screen 1). If you want data for census regions and divisions, scroll to the bottom, below the list of states, and select that. You can use the Text and Code search boxes to help you find areas.
  3. Select the area type(s) (screen 2). Only area types applicable to the selected state(s) will appear. If you chose census regions and divisions in the prior screen, only those two options will appear.
  4. Select the specific area(s) (screen 3). Metropolitan areas are arranged alphabetically by title. For each state selected, counties and cities are in LAUS code order and not necessarily in alphabetical sequence. Scroll down as needed.
  5. Select the desired labor force measure(s) (screen 4).
  6. Select the "Seasonally Adjusted" and/or "Not Seasonally Adjusted" box(es) if you want that type of data (screen 5). You should note that seasonally adjusted data do not have annual averages. Even if the series you selected are available only on a not seasonally adjusted basis, you will be prompted to make a selection until the box is checked in order to continue to the next screen.
  7. If you are going to obtain future updates to the data you are requesting, follow the instructions here for saving the code file.
  8. Select the time period and format, and then click on "Retrieve data" (screen 6).

Series Report

  1. Starting from the LAUS home page, click on "Get Detailed Statistics," and then click on "Series Report," or go to http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/srgate.
  2. Enter the Series ID(s). You can type them or paste them from another file. For a sample format description of the LAUS Series ID, you can click on "Series ID formats," then select "Employment and Unemployment," and then click on "Local Area Unemployment Statistics," or go to http://www.bls.gov/help/hlpforma.htm#LA.
  3. Select the time period and format and then click on "Retrieve data."

Flat files FTP Site
Starting from the LAUS home page, scroll down to "Get Detailed Statistics," and then click on "Flat files FTP Site," or go to http://download.bls.gov/pub/time.series/la/. To understand the data provided in these FTP files, scroll down to the "la.txt" document, which provides information on the following: Time series, series file, data file, and mapping file definitions and relationships; Series file format and field definitions; Data file format and field definitions; Mapping file formats and field definitions; and a Data Element Dictionary. Other explanatory documents include "la.period" and "la.area.type," which define periods and area types, respectively.

At a Glance
Starting from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) home page, go to the section titled "At a Glance Tables," and click on "Regions, States, and Areas at a Glance," or go to http://www.bls.gov/eag/. Click on the desired state or region on the map, or select a state or metropolitan area from the list provided below the map. Scroll down as necessary to look at data from other programs. Clicking on the dinosaur icon allows you to retrieve data for that series from previous years. You can also click on the name of the series to go to the home page of the program that produces those particular data.

 

Last Modified Date: November 6, 2013