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Data Revision: U.S. subnational - BLS CPS labor force, unemployment [2017]
Wednesday, 01 Mar 2017 07:31 ET
By Allyson Blizman
February 28, 2017 -- With the release of Regional and State Unemployment 2016 Annual Averages, the BLS has revised CPS measures of civilian labor force and unemployment at the state level (593 monthly series from April 2010).

To prepare for the Current Population Survey benchmark, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revised historical estimates from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program to reflect new population controls from the U.S. Census Bureau, updated input data, and reestimation (citation).  As described by the BLS:

The data for model-based areas also incorporate new seasonal adjustment, and the unadjusted estimates are controlled to new census division and U.S. totals. Substate area data subsequently are revised to incorporate updated inputs, reestimation, and controlling to new statewide totals.

Affected areas are census regions and divisions; all states and the District of Columbia; the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division; the Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL Metropolitan Division; the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL Metropolitan Division; the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area; New York city, NY; the Cleveland-Elyria, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area; and the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA Metropolitan Division, as well as the seven corresponding balance-of-state areas.

Statewide data for Puerto Rico (which are not model-based, but rather are tabulated from a household survey similar to the Current Population Survey for the U.S.) similarly were revised from January 2012 forward. The not-seasonally-adjusted data reflect the incorporation of new population controls, while the SSA data reflect seasonal adjustment and smoothing of the recontrolled not-seasonally-adjusted data.

The scope of the revision was:

  • Both not-seasonally-adjusted and smoothed-seasonally-adjusted (SSA) monthly data for these areas were revised from January 2012 forward.
  • The updated population controls reflect U.S. Census Bureau revisions from April 2010 forward.
  • All annual average and historical supplemental items on the website containing data for model-based areas, including data files, rank tables, and maps, were updated on or shortly after February 28 to reflect these revisions.
  • Unless otherwise noted, monthly supplemental items for states in December 2016 also were replaced

The affected mnemonic patterns are:

  • LB^.^^
  • XLB^.^^

The BLS has not yet released revisions to substate data other than the model-base areas previously mentioned. Consequently, counties will not sum to state data until full revisions are released on April 21st, 2017.

Availability of pre-revised data

For archival analysis, we preserve the discontinued and pre-benchmark data series on Data Buffet, under new names with a "_2015" concept code suffix. For example, pre-benchmark values for LBE.AR can be retrieved via the mnemonic LBE_2015.AR from the IUSA_BLS_LA_2015.db databank, which you will need to activate using menu:Settings » Default Databanks.

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