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Unemployment Rates and Labor Force within a User Defined Distance



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FAQs

  • Are substate unemployment and labor force estimates prior to 2010 comparable with current estimates?
  • In 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised the method used to calculate employment and unemployment estimates for counties, cities/towns, and labor market areas. Estimates from 2010 forward were re-calculated using the new methodology along with data inputs from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Hence, many areas can be expected to display breaks in series between 2009 and 2010. Detailed information is available here.

  • How is the unemployment rate measured?
  • The unemployment rate is measured in a top down format. On a monthly basis, a sample of households are surveyed on a nationwide basis. From this sample, state rates are determined along with the national rate. The state information is then used through a model-based module to generate the substate (i.e. county/city) data.

  • What does the term "benchmarked" mean?
  • The term "benchmarked" (in the LAUS program) refers to forcing the monthly statewide model-based estimates to population controlled Current Population Survey annual average estimates. Substate estimates are then revised and forced to add to the new state estimates. As part of the process, any changes in the inputs, such as revision in the Current Employment Statistics-based employment figures or unemployment insurance claims counts, and updated historical relationships, are incorporated.

  • What is a labor market area and how are they defined?
  • A Labor Market Area (LMA) consists of an economic center and the associated cities/towns in the vicinity. Their delineations are based on commuting pattern data from the American Community Survey. The Local Area Unemployment Statistics program began publishing unemployment and labor force estimates for the current Labor Market Area definitions in 2015.

  • What is covered employment?
  • Covered employment refers to those employers who fall under the coverage of the state and federal unemployment insurance programs and pay unemployment taxes on their workers. The main activities NOT included in Covered employment are self-employment, railroads, and small agricultural activities.

  • What is the difference between seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted data?
  • Most economic series, including employment and unemployment data, are affected by seasonal variations. Often it is difficult to tell from raw statistics whether developments between any two months reflect changing economic conditions or merely normal seasonal fluctuations. In order to compare employment and unemployment data for any pair of months accurately, a statistical technique known as seasonal adjustment is used.

  • Who is considered part of the labor force?
  • The labor force includes all persons 16 years of age and over who are employed, or unemployed and actively seeking employment. Those involved in a labor-management dispute are also included. The "civilian labor force" excludes members of the armed forces and the institutionalized population.

  • Who is considered unemployed?
  • Unemployed persons are the number of people who are not employed but are actively seeking work. Included are those who are waiting to be called back from a lay off or are waiting to report to a new job within 30 days.

  • Why is the level of employment different when comparing the estimated labor force data with the covered employment data?
  • The estimated labor force data is residence-based information while the covered employment data is establishment-based information.

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Contact Information

Maine Department of Labor
Center for Workforce Research & Information
118 SHS
Augusta, ME 04333-0118

Phone: (207) 623-7900
TTY: Maine Relay 711
Fax: (207) 287-2947
Email: mdol@maine.gov