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Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)


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

These estimates are key indicators of local economic conditions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is responsible for the concepts, definitions, technical procedures, validation, and publication of Colorado under the federal-state cooperative program.

Who benefits from LAUS data?


  • Federal programs use LAUS data for allocations to states and areas, and eligibility determinations for assistance.
  • State and local governments use the estimates for planning and budgetary purposes, and to determine the need for local employment and training services.
  • Private industry, researchers, the media, and others use the data to assess localized labor market developments and make comparisons across areas.



LAUS data concepts and definitions come from the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is the household survey that officially measures the nation's labor force. 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 counties are produced through a building-block approach called 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. 

Learn more about CPS concepts and definitions at BLS.

Benchmarking - Source: BLS

At the end of each year, LAUS conducts a review of model performance. States provide information about their economies. Month-to-month movements and observations are examined to determine if they are reflective of economic events or if any should be considered outliers. 

At the beginning of each year, LAUS receives new population controls from the Census Bureau. CPS estimates for states, census divisions, and the United States are revised, using these new estimates of the civilian noninstitutional population ages 16 and older. Revisions to state model inputs—specifically, CES and UI—also are received. State and substate models then are re-estimated to incorporate changes in inputs and population controls, using all data in the series. Revised statewide estimates are controlled to updated census division models that sum to national totals, all reflecting the new population controls. (The official U.S. totals generally are not revised to reflect new population estimates. Rather, the new controls are implemented in January.)

Substate estimates are revised to incorporate any changes in the inputs, such as revisions in the employment estimates based on place of work, revisions to UI claims data, and updated historical relationships. Area Handbook estimates then are revised and readjusted to sum to the revised state estimates of employment and unemployment. Areas for which the estimates are disaggregated are revised, using updated population estimates for the indexing of disaggregation ratios.