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ABOUT THE DATA

Labor force and unemployment statistics are the result of the Current Population Survey (CPS) and Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program, which publishes monthly and annual-average estimates of the civilian labor force, employed labor force, unemployed labor force, and unemployment rates for North Dakota and approximately 75 substate areas including metropolitan statistical areas, micropolitan statistical areas, combined statistical areas, counties, and cities of 25,000 population or more.

Infographic: How does LAUS count employment and unemployment?


LABOR FORCE AND UNEMPLOYMENT STATISTICS


Frequently-used acronyms:

BLS [U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics]
CES [Current Employment Statistics]
CPS [Current Population Survey]
LAUS [Local Area Unemployment Statistics]
NAICS [North American Industry Classification System]
OEWS [Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics]
QCEW [Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages]
SOC [Standard Occupational Classification]
UI [Unemployment Insurance]

Methodology
The LAUS program is a federal-state cooperative effort between the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and State Workforce Agencies (SWAs) including Job Service North Dakota. The concepts and definitions underlying LAUS data come from the CPS, the household survey that is the source of the national unemployment rate. State monthly model-based estimates are controlled in "real time" to sum to national monthly employment and unemployment estimates from the CPS. North Dakota’s CPS sample is approximately 900 households. These models combine current and historical data from the CPS, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), and state unemployment insurance (UI) systems. Estimates for counties are produced through a building-block approach known as 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. The LAUS program independently estimates employed people and unemployed people which are summed to derive civilian labor force, and then the unemployment rate is calculated as the percent unemployed of the civilian labor force.

At the beginning of each calendar year, the LAUS program benchmarks or revises up to five years of previous data to incorporate new inputs and population data. At the state level, LAUS receives new population controls from the Census Bureau, as well as updated CES and UI claims inputs. State models then are re-estimated to incorporate these changes, using all data in the series. Revised statewide estimates are controlled to updated census division and national totals reflecting the new population controls.

Substate estimates subsequently are revised to incorporate any changes in the inputs, such as revisions in the place-of-work-based employment estimates, revisions to UI claims data, and updated historical relationships. Local area Handbook estimates then are revised and re-adjusted to sum to the revised state estimates of employment and unemployment. Estimates for disaggregated cities are revised using updated population and UI claims data.

Select state-level demographic and economic characteristics of the labor force from the CPS are also available. Due to North Dakota’s CPS sample size, these data are only available as 12-month moving averages at the state level and are not directly comparable with official LAUS estimates. Despite these limitations, the CPS-based estimates are an important source of demographic and economic characteristic detail for North Dakota’s labor force.

Data are subject to response and processing errors. Errors are reduced through careful review and screening procedures and contact with respondents whose data are inconsistent or appear to involve misinterpretation of instructions or definitions. Every effort is made to minimize human error. Please note that data revisions may occur. Data are provided as is and Job Service North Dakota makes no warranty, either expressed or implied, including, but not limited to, warranties of correctness and fitness for a particular purpose.

The most relevant statute which governs LAUS confidentiality is the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA). Each published estimate is screened to ensure that it meets these confidentiality requirements.

For a more in-depth explanation of the methodology, please visit the national LAUS webpage.

Special Notices
Posted April 21, 2021
Substate labor force and unemployment statistics were revised from 1990 through 2020 to incorporate updated inputs, new population controls, re-estimation of models, and adjustment to new state control totals.

Posted March 15, 2021
State-level labor force and unemployment statistics were revised from 1976 through 2020 to incorporate updated inputs, new population controls, re-estimation of models, and adjustment to new census division and national control totals.

Posted April 17, 2020
Substate labor force and unemployment statistics were revised from 2015 through 2019 to incorporate updated inputs and adjustment to new state control totals. Some data may have been revised back further.

Posted March 16, 2020
State-level labor force and unemployment statistics were revised from 2015 through 2019 to incorporate updated inputs, new population controls, re-estimation of models, and adjustment to new census division and national control totals. Some data may have been revised back further.

Posted April 19, 2019
Substate labor force and unemployment statistics were revised from 2014 through 2018 to incorporate updated inputs and adjustment to new state control totals. Some data may have been revised back further.

Posted March 11, 2019
State-level labor force and unemployment statistics were revised from 2014 through 2018 to incorporate updated inputs, new population controls, re-estimation of models, and adjustment to new census division and national control totals. Some data may have been revised back further.

Posted April 20, 2018
Substate labor force and unemployment statistics were revised from 2013 through 2017 to incorporate updated inputs and adjustment to new state control totals. Some data may have been revised back further.

Posted March 23, 2015
In 2013, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget announced revised metropolitan and micropolitan statistical area delineations based on 2010 Census results. The Labor Market Information Center of Job Service North Dakota began adopting the changes for the LAUS program starting with 2015 data. For North Dakota, the Bismarck metro area was affected by a delineation change with the addition of Oliver and Sioux Counties (all other metro area delineations remain unchanged). The Dickinson micro area was affected by a delineation change with the subtraction of Billings County (all other North Dakota micro area delineations remain unchanged). The LAUS program was able to reconstruct historical data using the new delineations.

Definitions
Civilian Labor Force:
All persons in the civilian noninstitutional population ages 16 and older classified as either employed or unemployed.

Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate:
The civilian labor force participation rate represents the proportion of the civilian noninstitutional population that is in the labor force (that is, either employed or unemployed).

Civilian Noninstitutional Population:
All persons 16 years of age and older residing in the state who are not inmates of institutions (for example, penal and mental facilities, homes for the aged), and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces.

Discouraged Unemployed:
The discouraged unemployed are those that think it is impossible to find a job so they do not seek employment. These persons are not included in the official unemployment rate definition because they are not actively seeking work.

Employed:
An unduplicated estimate of all persons who, during the reference week (the week including the 12th day of the month), (a) did any work as paid employees, worked in their own business or profession or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of their family, or (b) were not working but who had jobs from which they were temporarily absent because of vacation, illness, bad weather, childcare problems, maternity or paternity leave, labor-management dispute, job training, or other family or personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs. Each employed person is counted only once, even if he or she holds more than one job. Also, people are counted where they live, not where they work, so the effects of commuting into and out of an area are negated.

Employment-Population Ratio:
The employment-population ratio represents the proportion of the civilian noninstitutional population that is employed.

Not in the Labor Force:
All persons in the civilian noninstitutional population who are neither employed nor unemployed. Information is collected on their desire for and availability to take a job at the time of the CPS interview, job search activity in the prior year, and reason for not looking in the 4-week period prior to the survey week. This group includes discouraged workers, defined as persons not in the labor force who want and are available for a job and who have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months (or since the end of their last job if they held one within the past 12 months), but who are not currently looking because they believe there are no jobs available or there are none for which they would qualify. People most likely to be included in this category are retirees, stay-at-home parents, and students.

Unemployed:
All persons who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work, except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the 4 week-period ending with the reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed. Not all persons 16 years and older are unemployed if not working. One must be available and actively looking for work, otherwise they are considered not in the labor force. Unemployed persons may be so by virtue of being laid off or having quit a job.

Unemployment Rate:
The unemployment rate represents the number unemployed as a percent of the civilian labor force.

Available Geographies
Geographic areas available for LAUS data:

  • North Dakota
  • North Dakota metropolitan statistical areas [view map]
    A metropolitan statistical area may consist of one or more counties (but must have a core urban area of 50,000 or more population) with a high degree of social and economic integration as measured by commuting patterns. North Dakota currently has three metropolitan statistical areas.
  • North Dakota micropolitan statistical areas [view map]
    A micropolitan statistical area may consist of one or more counties (but must have a core urban area of at least 10,000 but less than 50,000 population) with a high degree of social and economic integration as measured by commuting patterns. North Dakota currently has five micropolitan statistical areas.
  • North Dakota combined statistical areas [view map]
    A combined statistical area consists of various combinations of adjacent metropolitan and micropolitan areas with a high degree of social and economic integration as measured by commuting patterns. North Dakota currently has one combined statistical area.
  • North Dakota planning regions [view map]
    A planning region is a grouping of counties anchored around recognized regional city centers in order for all state agencies to follow a standardized system of statistical reporting to be used in future planning and administration of state services. North Dakota currently has eight planning regions.
  • North Dakota counties [view map]
    North Dakota currently has 53 counties.
  • North Dakota cities with a population of 25,000 or higher
    The following North Dakota cities currently meet the LAUS publication threshold (populations of 25,000 or higher): Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, Minot, West Fargo, and Williston.

Publication Cycle
State-level and substate data are published monthly and annually. Generally, monthly state-level data are available 2-3 weeks following the reference period, while monthly substate data are available 3-4 weeks following the reference period. During the annual benchmark period (January-March), January data are delayed and released in March. Annual state-level and substate data are also released in March. Review our data release schedule for more information.