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Current Population Survey: Presentation

The Current Population Survey (CPS) is the source of the national unemployment rate and provides a wide range of information on the social, demographic, and economic characteristics of the civilian noninstitutional population ages 16 and older.

Each month, the national unemployment rate and related labor force data are published in The Employment Situation news release.

At the time of The Employment Situation release, numerous supplemental CPS charts and tables are released online and the thousands of CPS labor force series in the BLS public database are updated.

The Employment Situation release dates are available in advance.

From the CPS, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also publishes a quarterly news release on usual weekly earnings, as well as annual and periodic news releases on a variety of topics, including the following:

BLS also publishes several annual reports on topics such as minimum-wage workers, the working poor, and women’s and men’s earnings.

The Employment Situation and all other current and archived CPS news releases and reports can be accessed from the CPS news release page.

For a complete list of CPS topics, with links to available data, see the CPS A to Z index.

A subject index to CPS data in the online public database also is available.

In addition to accessing the regularly tabulated statistics described above, researchers can utilize the public-use versions of CPS microdata files to generate customized estimates. These files contain records of the responses to the survey questionnaire by all individuals in the survey, with the records edited to protect the confidentiality of the respondents. Microdata files are available for all months since January 1976 and for various months in previous years.

Starting with the file for January 1994, public-use data files and accompanying documentation can be downloaded from the Census Bureau’s Dataweb FTP page

For inquiries regarding data estimation methods and specifications for BLS-published CPS statistics, use the link email BLS.

Last Modified Date: April 10, 2018