The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issues monthly news releases for states and metropolitan areas on the current level of nonfarm employment, the size of the civilian labor force and the rate of unemployment. 

The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) is part of the State and Metro Area Employment, Hours, & Earnings program, widely recognized as the most reliable statistics available to measure recent changes in employment and unemployment.

Nonfarm Payroll Employment

The employment data come from an establishment survey that measures nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings by industry. These data pertain to jobs on payrolls defined according to where the establishments are located.

The Civilian Labor Force and Unemployment Rate

The civilian labor force (CLF) and unemployment rate (UR) data are modeled based largely on the survey of households. These data pertain to individuals according to where they reside.


Uses of LAUS Data

The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program produces monthly and annual employment, unemployment, and labor force data for Census regions and divisions, states, counties, metropolitan areas, and many cities, by place of residence. 

These estimates are key indicators of local economic conditions. A wide variety of customers use these estimates:

  • Federal programs use the data for allocations to states and local areas, as well as for public assistance eligibility determinations.
  • State and local governments use the estimates for planning and budgetary purposes, and for determining 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 to make comparisons across areas.


Data Surveys in LAUS

The concepts and definitions underlying LAUS data come from the labor force statistics in 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 the 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.  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.

For more information about the concepts and statistical methodologies used, see the documentation and technical notes.