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Local Area Unemployment Statistics

Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization for States (Archived Tables)

Six alternative measures of labor underutilization have long been available on a monthly basis from the Current Population Survey (CPS) for the United States as a whole. They are published in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly Employment Situation news release. (See table 15.) The official concept of unemployment (as measured in the CPS by U-3 in the U-1 to U-6 range of alternatives) includes all jobless persons who are available to take a job and have actively sought work in the past four weeks. This concept has been thoroughly reviewed and validated since the inception of the CPS in 1940. The other measures are provided to data users and analysts who want more narrowly (U-1 and U-2) or broadly (U-4 through U-6) defined measures.

BLS is committed to updating the alternative measures data for states on a 4-quarter moving-average basis. The use of 4-quarter averages increases the reliability of the CPS estimates, which are based on relatively small sample sizes at the state level, and eliminates seasonality. Due to the inclusion of lagged quarters, the state alternative measures may not fully reflect the current status of the labor market. The latest estimates are the 2023 annual averages. Data are also available for the following periods:

The complete series for the state alternative measures of labor underutilization, including intermediate 4-quarter moving-average periods prior to 2009, as well as the underlying level estimates, are available here in Excel file format. The level estimates for civilian labor force, employment, and unemployment do not match the official, model-based data from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program. Nor do these levels match those presented in the annual publication Geographic Profile of Employment and Unemployment (GP), because the Current Population Survey data for states are recontrolled to updated estimates of population produced by the Census Bureau prior to their publication in GP. Levels for the state alternative measures, rather, reflect the forward population controls, to avoid distortion for intermediate 4-quarter moving-average periods.

The six state measures are based on the same definitions as those published for the U.S.:

  • U-1, persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force;
  • U-2, job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the civilian labor force;
  • U-3, total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (this is the definition used for the official unemployment rate);
  • U-4, total unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers;
  • U-5, total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other marginally attached workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers; and
  • U-6, total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.


Last Modified Date: January 26, 2024