The Current Population Survey
) is a statistical
Statistics is the study of the collection, organization, analysis, and interpretation of data. It deals with all aspects of this, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments....
Survey methodology is the field that studies surveys, that is, the sample of individuals from a population with a view towards making statistical inferences about the population using the sample. Polls about public opinion, such as political beliefs, are reported in the news media in democracies....
conducted by the United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...
for the Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a unit of the United States Department of Labor. It is the principal fact-finding agency for the U.S. government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics. The BLS is a governmental statistical agency that collects, processes, analyzes, and...
(BLS). The BLS uses the data to provide a monthly report on the Employment Situation. This report provides estimates of the number of unemployed
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...
people in the United States. A readable Employment Situation Summary is provided monthly. Available annual estimates include employment and unemployment in large metropolitan areas. In addition, private think tanks and other organizations use the CPS data for their own research.
The CPS began in 1940, and responsibility for conducting the CPS was given to the Census Bureau in 1942. In 1994 the CPS was redesigned. CPS is a survey that is: employment-focused, enumerator-conducted, continuous, and cross-sectional. CPS is a monthly survey of about 60,000 households. The BLS increased the sample size by 10,000 as of July 2001. The sample represents the civilian noninstitutional population. The survey asks about the employment status of each member of the household 15 years of age or older in the calendar week containing 19th day of the month. Based on responses to a series of questions on work and job search activities, each person 16 years and over in a sample household is classified as employed, unemployed, or not in the labor force.
Approximately 60,000 households are eligible for the CPS. Sample households are selected by a multistage stratified statistical sampling scheme. A household is interviewed for 4 successive months, then not interviewed for 8 months, then returned to the sample for 4 months after that. An adult member of each household provides information for all members of the household.
People are classified as employed if they did any work at all as paid employees during the reference week; worked in their own business, profession, or on their own farm; or worked without pay at least 15 hours in a family business or farm. People are also counted as employed if they were temporarily absent from their jobs because of illness, bad weather, vacation, labor-management disputes, or personal reasons.
People are classified as unemployed if they meet all of the following criteria:
- They were not employed during the reference week
- They were available for work at that time
- They made specific efforts to find employment during the 4-week period ending with the reference week. (The exception to this category covers persons laid off from a job and expecting recall)
The unemployment data derived from the household survey in no way depend upon the eligibility for or receipt of unemployment insurance benefits.
Those who are not classified as employed or unemployed are not counted as part of the labor force. They are tracked as “discouraged worker
Not to be confused with Disgruntled worker.In economics, a discouraged worker is a person of legal employment age who is not actively seeking employment or who does not find employment after long-term unemployment...
As a result of research that started in 1986, a complete overhaul of how the CPS was administered and what type of questions were asked occurred. Prior to 1994, the alternate measures of unemployment had different names because the BLS drastically revised the questions in the CPS and renamed the measures: U3 and U4 were eliminated; the official rate U5 remained the same measure but was renamed U3; U6 and U7 were revised and renamed U5 and U6.
CPS alternate measures of unemployment before 1994:
- U-1 Persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force
- U-2 Job losers, as a percent of the civilian labor force
- U-3 Unemployed persons aged 25 and older, as a percent of the civilian labor force aged 25 and older (the unemployment rate for persons 25 and older)
- U-4 Unemployed persons seeking full-time jobs, as a percent of the full-time labor force (the unemployment rate for full-time workers)
- U-5 Total unemployed persons, as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate)
- U-6 Total persons seeking full-time jobs, plus one-half of persons seeking part-time jobs, plus one-half of persons employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force less one-half of the part-time labor force
- U-7 Total persons seeking full-time jobs, plus one-half of persons seeking part-time jobs, plus one-half of persons employed part time for economic reasons, plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers less one-half of the part-time labor force
CPS alternate measures of unemployment after 1994:
- U-1 Persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force
- U-2 Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the civilian labor force
- U-3 Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate)
- U-4 Total unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers
- U-5 Total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other marginally attached workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers
- U-6 Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers
Marginally attached workers are persons who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work in the recent past. In addition, marginally attached workers have actively sought work in the past 12 months (e.g. they replied to a "wanted" ad) but have not actively sought work in the past 4 weeks.
Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason for not currently looking for a job (e.g. they believe that no work was available). This group is about 50 percent smaller than the marginally attached group."
Persons employed part time for economic reasons are those who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule.
The CPS reports:
- Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years and over by age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, marital status, family relationship, and Vietnam-era veteran status.
- Employed persons by occupation, industry, and class of worker, hours of work, full- or part-time status, and reasons for working part time.
- Employed multiple jobholders by occupation, industry, numbers of jobs held, and full- or part-time status of multiple jobs.
- Unemployed persons by occupation, industry, class of worker of last job, duration of unemployment, reason for unemployment, and methods used to find employment.
- Discouraged workers and other persons not in the labor force.
- Special topics such as the labor force status of particular subgroups of the population (e g., women maintaining families, working women with children, displaced workers, and disabled veterans).
- Work experience, occupational mobility, job tenure, educational attainment, and school enrollment of workers.
- Information on weekly and hourly earnings by detailed demographic group, occupation, education, union affiliation, and full- and part-time employment status.
The survey also reports the labor force participation rate, which is the labor force as a percentage of the population, and the ratio of the employed to the total population of the United States.
Although the primary purpose of the CPS is to record employment information, the survey fulfills a secondary role in providing demographic
Demographics are the most recent statistical characteristics of a population. These types of data are used widely in sociology , public policy, and marketing. Commonly examined demographics include gender, race, age, disabilities, mobility, home ownership, employment status, and even location...
information about the United States population. CPS microdata
In the study of survey and census data, microdata is information at the level of individual respondents. For instance, a national census might collect age, home address, educational level, employment status, and many other variables, recorded separately for every person who responds; this is...
for the period since 1962 are freely available through the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series.
CPS Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC)- the March Supplement
Since 1948, the CPS has included supplemental questions (at first, in April; later, in March) on income received in the previous calendar year, which are used to estimate the data on income and work experience. These data are the source of the annual Census Bureau report on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage.
Other supplement topics (some in different months) include after-tax money income, benefits that are not cash, displaced workers, job tenure, occupational mobility, temporary work, adult education,volunteering, tabacco use, food availability, fertility, veteran information, and other related topics.