Frequently Asked Questions

Does LAUS have information on labor force participation rates and employment-population ratios?

For selected areas, the LAUS program produces current estimates of labor force participation rates and employment-population ratios. See Civilian Noninstitutional Population and Associated Rate and Ratio Measures for Model-Based Areas for information about and access to these data.

What is the relationship between the LAUS and the American Community Survey labor force estimates?

The LAUS program produces the official monthly estimates of the labor force for all States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and all substate areas. The LAUS estimates are consistent with the national labor force and unemployment measures from the Current Population Survey. LAUS statewide estimates are published about 2 ½ to 3 weeks following the reference month, and metropolitan area data are published about 1 ½ weeks later.

The American Community Survey (ACS) produces annual information on social, housing, and economic characteristics—including labor force status—for demographic groups in areas of 65,000 population or more. Data are published about 8 months following the reference year.

For more information on the ACS and how its data compare to LAUS estimates, see American Community Survey (ACS) Questions and Answers.

What areas have the highest or lowest unemployment rates?

For a ranked table of the current unemployment rates for States, see A table with historical high and low rates is located at

For a ranked table of the current unemployment rates for metropolitan areas, see

How can I apply for unemployment insurance?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not administer or oversee unemployment insurance (UI) programs. Unemployment insurance benefits are determined at the State level. Each State's laws, procedures, taxation rates, qualification requirements, and benefits are unique. Another agency within the Department of Labor—the Employment and Training Administration (ETA)—sets minimum requirements for and provides guidance to the State workforce agencies. You should contact your State workforce agency for information, using the Department of Labor's search web site.

Where can I find out if my unemployment insurance benefits will be extended?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has no administrative responsibility in unemployment insurance (UI) matters, although we do use UI data in some statistical procedures. The Employment and Training Administration (ETA), another agency within the Department of Labor, has administrative oversight of UI programs. News regarding existing extended benefits, disaster relief, and economic recovery programs is available through the ETA web site.

Information on other programs to assist unemployed individuals that are offered by the Department of Labor.

Since you do not have the data I need, where can I get them?

You may wish to try FedStats. This site uses the Internet's powerful linking and searching capabilities to track economic and population trends, health care costs, aviation safety, foreign trade, energy use, farm production, and more. Access official statistics collected and published by more than 100 Federal agencies without having to know in advance which agency produces them.


Last Modified Date: September 26, 2007