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Handbook of Methods Local Area Unemployment Statistics Presentation

Local Area Unemployment Statistics: Presentation

LAUS estimates are published in monthly and annual news releases and in the time-series database.

Publication of LAUS estimates

Data from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program are made available to users in a variety of ways. Labor force and unemployment data are published monthly for states and the model-based substate areas in a news release entitled State Employment and Unemployment. Estimates for metropolitan areas and divisions are published monthly in a news release entitled Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment. A variety of supplemental tables and maps are published on the website along with each news release.

Annual average data are published each year in a news release entitled Regional and State Unemployment, which typically is issued in late February. This release presents data on the population, civilian labor force, employed, unemployed, and unemployment rate for regions, divisions, and states.

Current and historical data from the LAUS program for all 7,500 areas also are available online in the Bureau's public database. Users may access the data through the BLS website or by download.

The press releases highlight preliminary estimates for the current month, which are revised the following month. If additional corrections are needed, the data will be footnoted in the public database and noted on the BLS errata page. At the end of each calendar year, estimates are revised for up to five previous years. See the calculation section, annual processing subsection, for more information. 

Limitations of the data

Model-based error measures are available for regions, divisions, and states. (See Information on Model-Based Error Measures for Regions, Divisions, and States.) Analysis in the monthly State Employment and Unemployment news release reflects the use of these error measures.

Estimates not directly derived from sample surveys or statistical modeling are subject to errors resulting from the estimation processes used and from the limitations of the data sources used. The error structure associated with these estimates is complex, and information on the magnitude of the overall errors is not available.

Uses of LAUS data

LAUS estimates of state and local unemployment and unemployment rates are used by federal agencies to determine the eligibility of an area for benefits under various federal programs. These include the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP), the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), the Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program, and Labor Surplus Area (LSA) designations. Under most programs, unemployment data are used to determine the distribution of funds to be allocated to each eligible area. In the case of the HUBZone and LSA designations, data are used in the determination of area eligibility for benefits.

Publication of subnational data from the Current Population Survey

BLS publishes a limited amount of subnational data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) on an annual basis. Unlike the LAUS employment and unemployment estimates, which are produced using either models (at the state level) or the Handbook method (at the substate level), these estimates are direct survey data from the CPS. The primary publication is the Geographic Profile of Employment and Unemployment, which contains data for census regions and divisions and states. Data are provided on the employed and unemployed by selected demographic and economic characteristics.

The Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization for States is published on a four-quarter moving average basis using CPS data. These six measures, U-1 through U-6, provide a narrower or broader definition of unemployment or underemployment.

Subnational CPS data also appear in reports throughout the year that focus on specific topics, including multiple jobholding, employment status of veterans, minimum wage workers, union affiliation, and median weekly earnings by gender.

Last Modified Date: January 09, 2018