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Local Area Unemployment Statistics


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 7,300 areas.

Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Data Years Available: 
These series start in 1976 for census regions and divisions, all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale metropolitan division, and New York City. Five modeled areas have historical series dating back to 1983—Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL metropolitan division, Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH metropolitan statistical area, Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI metropolitan statistical area, Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL metropolitan division, and Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA metropolitan division. These areas were newly modeled in 2005, allowing for a longer series. Data for virtually all other substate areas begin in 1990. For a small number of areas impacted by changes in geographic definition after 1990, as well as some cities that first exceeded the 25,000 threshold in the mid 1990s or later, the data series begin after 1990. On the other hand, cities with population that drops below 25,000 are generally retained.
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LAUS contains estimates of employment and unemployment.
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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, and state unemployment insurance (UI) systems. Estimates for seven large areas and their respective balances of state are also model-based. Estimates for the remainder of the substate labor market areas 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 decennial census, to create estimates that are adjusted to the statewide measures of employment and unemployment. Below the labor market area level, estimates are prepared using disaggregation techniques based on inputs from the decennial census, annual population estimates, and current UI data.

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