The Department of Labor produces unemployment estimates in cooperation with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  BLS is a division of the U.S. Department of Labor and functions as the principal data-gathering agency of the federal government in the field of labor economics.  The unemployment rate is calculated by taking the number of unemployed persons divided by the civilian labor force. 

 

The Civilian Labor Force comprises the total of all civilians age 16 and older classified as either employed or unemployed.

 

Unemployment is defined as an estimate of the number of persons who did not have a job, but were available for work and actively seeking work during the calendar week that includes the 12th day of the month.

 

Employment is a count of all persons who worked full or part-time or received pay from a nonagricultural employer for any part of the pay period that included the 12th day of the month.  Also included are persons who worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of their family.

 

The published state unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted so that the rate is comparable to the published national unemployment rate.  County and metropolitan area rates cannot be seasonally adjusted.  Not seasonally adjusted state rates are available on our Web site.

 

Seasonal Adjustment is a statistical technique applied to monthly data to eliminate changes that normally occur during the year due to seasonal events such as weather, major holidays, shifts in production schedules, harvest times, and the opening and closing of schools.

 

More detailed information on the unemployment estimates methodology is on the BLS Web site at:  http://www.bls.gov/lau/laumthd.htm.