May 30 -- THe Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor, invites comments by July 31, 2023 regarding revisions in the Current Population Survey (CPS).
The CPS has been the principal source of the official Government statistics on employment and unemployment for over 75 years. The CPS is a monthly sample survey of 60,000 eligible households. The labor force information gathered through the survey is of paramount importance in keeping track of the economic health of the Nation. The survey is the only source of monthly data on total employment and unemployment. The Employment Situation news release contains data from this survey and is designated as a Principal Federal Economic Indicator (PFEI). Moreover, the survey also yields data on the characteristics of persons not in the labor force. The CPS data are used monthly, in conjunction with data from other sources, to analyze the extent to which, and with what success, the various components of the American population are participating in the economic life of the Nation.
The labor force data gathered through the CPS are provided to users in the greatest detail possible, in conjunction with the demographic information obtained in the survey. In brief, the labor force data can be broken down by sex, age, race, ethnicity, marital status, family composition, educational level, veteran status, certification and licensing status, disability status, and other characteristics. Through such breakdowns, one can focus on the employment situation of specific population groups as well as on general trends in employment and unemployment. Information of this type can be obtained only through demographically oriented surveys such as the CPS.
The basic CPS data also are used as an important platform on which to base the data derived from the various supplemental questions that are administered in conjunction with the survey. By coupling the basic data from the monthly survey with the special data from the supplements, one can get valuable insights on the behavior of American workers and on the social and economic health of their families.
There is wide interest in the monthly CPS data among Government policymakers, legislators, economists, the media, and the general public. While the data from the CPS are used in conjunction with data from other surveys in assessing the economic health of the Nation, they are unique in various ways. Specifically, they are the basis for much of the monthly Employment Situation report, a PFEI. They provide a monthly, nationally representative measure of total employment, including farm work, self-employment, and unpaid family work; other surveys are generally restricted to the nonagricultural wage and salary sector, or provide less timely information. The CPS provides data on all job seekers, and on all persons outside the labor force, while payroll-based surveys cannot, by definition, cover these sectors of the population. Finally, the CPS data on employment, unemployment, and on persons not in the labor force can be linked to the demographic characteristics of the many groups that make up the Nation's population, while the data from other surveys often have limited demographic information. Many groups, both in the government and in the private sector, are eager to analyze this wealth of demographic and labor force data.
Office of Management and Budget clearance is being sought for a revision of the Current Population Survey. BLS is seeking approval to remove two questions that collected information about the impact of the COVID–19 pandemic on where people worked. These questions, which ask about telework or work at home in February 2020, have been included on the CPS since October 2022 to measure the impact of the COVID–19 pandemic on the labor force. BLS feels that enough time has passed since the onset of the pandemic and its impact on how people work. These questions would not provide meaningful data going forward.
Labor Force Statistics from the CPS: https://www.bls.gov/cps/
Draft survey instrument and technical documentation available at https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/vlt4iij7ywp1l2suqbecl/h?dl=0&rlkey=2vp8rfzm2e551i8sv9ki1vaxo