Federal Statistical Area Delineations
On February 28, 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced through Bulletin No. 13-01
revised delineations of Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Metropolitan Divisions, Micropolitan Statistical Areas, and Combined Statistical
Areas, and guidance on uses of the delineations of these areas. The LAUS program implemented these 2010 Census-based delineations on March 17, 2015. Civilian labor force and unemployment
data were reconstructed back to the series beginnings in January 1990 based on the new delineations. Other Bureau of Labor Statistics programs implement revisions to federal statistical
areas on a program-by-program basis.
On July 15, 2015, OMB updated the 2010 Census-based federal statistical areas through Bulletin No. 15-01.
The updates were based on the application of the 2010 Standards for Delineating
Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas to Census Bureau population estimates for July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2013, resulting in the delineation of a new Metropolitan Statistical Area, new Micropolitan
Statistical Areas, new Combined Statistical Areas, and new components of existing Combined Statistical Areas, as well as other changes. The LAUS program implemented these updates in March of 2017.
On August 15, 2017, OMB updated the federal statistical areas through Bulletin No. 17-01,
based on population estimates for July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015, resulting in the delineation of a new Metropolitan Statistical Area. On April 10, 2018, OMB updated the federal statistical areas through
Bulletin No. 18-03, based on population estimates for July 1, 2015, and July 1, 2016, resulting in the
delineation of a new Micropolitan Statistical Area and a new Combined Statistical Area. The LAUS program implemented these updates from bulletin nos. 17-01 and 18-03 in March of 2019.
For the six New England states, the New England City and Town Areas, or NECTAs, which OMB delineates as an equivalent alternative to the county-based areas, are used. The LAUS program publishes data
for all counties in the New England states. Hence, civilian labor force and unemployment data for the county-based areas in this part of the country can be derived from the data published for counties.
The LAUS substate estimation methodology was designed around the labor market area concept. A labor market area is a contiguous geographical area in which individuals can live and work and change jobs
without having to relocate. The LAUS program uses the OMB-based metropolitan and micropolitan areas as its core labor market areas, then examines commuting data for counties (cities and towns in New England)
not included in the OMB delineations to define its own small labor market areas. A comprehensive list of the 2010 Census-based metropolitan, micropolitan, and small labor market areas and their geographic
compositions is available here. This list supersedes what in previous years had been called the Labor Market Area directory.
The Office of Management and Budget is responsible for maintaining and updating statistical area
delineations, a task it has performed every decade since the 1950 Census. OMB establishes and maintains
these areas solely for statistical purposes. The delineations are intended to provide a nationally
consistent set of geographic areas for collecting, tabulating, and publishing federal statistics. See
the Census Bureau website
for access to current and historical federal statistical area delineation files.
Last Modified Date: March 15, 2019