Labor Force Size and Unemployment, 2009

The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program is a federal-state cooperative effort in which monthly estimates of total employment and unemployment are prepared. These estimates are key indicators of local economic conditions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for the concepts, definitions, technical procedures, validation and publication of the estimates that state employment security agencies prepare under agreement with BLS.

A wide variety of customers use these estimates. Federal programs use the data for allocations to states and areas, as well as eligibility determinations for assistance. State and local governments use the estimates for planning and budgetary purposes and to determine the need for local employment and training services. Private industry, researchers, the media, and other individuals use the data to assess localized labor market developments and make comparisons across areas.

The concepts and definitions underlying LAUS data come from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the household survey that is the official measure of the labor force for the nation. State monthly model estimates are controlled in “real time” to sum to national monthly labor force estimates from the CPS. These models combine current and historical data from the CPS, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program.

For more information, see the Local Area Unemployment Statistics Home Page.

Figure 1. Unemployment Rate by County, 2009

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