Local Area Unemployment Statistics

Overview

The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program is a federal-state cooperative effort in which monthly estimates of total employment and unemployment are prepared for approximately 7,500 areas:

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 workforce agencies prepare under agreement with BLS.

A wide variety of customers use these estimates:

The concepts and definitions underlying LAUS data come from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the household survey that is the source of the national unemployment rate. State monthly model-based estimates are controlled in "real time" to sum to national monthly employment and unemployment estimates from the CPS. These models combine current and historical data from the CPS, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, and state unemployment insurance (UI) systems. Estimates for seven large areas and their respective balances of state also are model-based. Estimates for counties are produced through a building-block approach known as the "Handbook method." This procedure also uses data from several sources, including the CPS, the CES program, state UI systems, and the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS), to create estimates that are adjusted to the statewide measures of employment and unemployment. Estimates for cities are prepared using disaggregation techniques based on inputs from the ACS, annual population estimates, and current UI data.

Last Modified Date: March 10, 2016

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