Labor force topics include employment, unemployment, labor force participation, wages, and commuting.

There are several source of economic data discussed here. Some sources such as the American Community Survey and the Current Population Survey are survey based, relying on individuals to report their labor force status. Other sources such as the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages rely on administrative records and econometric models along with survey data. The estimates on a particular indicator produced by different sources are likely to show different numbers, attributable to differences in the phrasing of survey questions and whether the source is purely survey based or not.

Economic data is subject to suppression. The Census Bureau is committed to confidentiality and constantly pursues new procedures, technologies, and methodologies to safeguard individual data. Disclosure avoidance is the process for protecting the confidentiality of data. Cell suppression protects the confidentiality of individual businesses by replacing cell values with symbols in tables, where the amount of the cell if it were known, would allow one to estimate a single contributor’s value too closely. This occurs when there are very few contributors, or when there are one or two large contributors that dominate the aggregate statistic.

Find more economic data in the Business and Industry topic.

American Community Survey

The American Community Survey (ACS), a product of the U.S. Census Bureau, is an ongoing survey that collects information on the characteristics of the population. The data are available for small geographies and areas with small populations. ACS data is available on the Census Bureau’s search engine American Fact Finder.

Topics on the labor force included in the ACS are:


Employment (Labor Force) Status

Commuting (Journey to Work)

Class of Worker



Part/Full-Time Work Status

Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics

The Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) program is part of the Center for Economic Studies at the U.S. Census Bureau. The LEHD program combines federal and state administrative records with Census Bureau survey data on employers and employees under the Local Employment Dynamics (LED) Partnership.

The LEHD program produces the Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI). The QWI are a set of economic indicators including employment, job creation, earnings, and other measures of employment flows. The QWI are reported using detailed firm characteristics (geography, industry, age, size) and worker demographics information (sex, age, education, race, ethnicity). Data are available for states, metropolitan areas, and counties.

Access QWI data through the QWI Explorer or the LED Extraction Tool.

The LEHD program produces the LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics (LODES). The LODES are a partially synthetic dataset that describes geographic patterns of jobs by their employment locations and workers by their residential locations as well as the connections between the two locations. These data are tabulated by age, sex, earnings, industry distributions, race, ethnicity, and educational attainment. The data are available for small statistical units and custom geographies.

Access LODES data through OnTheMap.


Current Population Survey

The Current Population Survey (CPS), sponsored jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is the primary source of labor force statistics for the population of the United States. The CPS is the source of numerous high-profile economic statistics, including the national unemployment rate, and provides data on a wide range of issues relating to employment and earnings. The CPS also collects extensive demographic data that complement and enhance our understanding of labor market conditions in the nation overall, among many different population groups, and across the states. CPS data is available for the nation, states, and 12 of the largest metropolitan areas.

Access CPS data through the CPS Table Creator or download raw CPS files from BLS.

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Tabulation

The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Tabulation serves as the primary external benchmark for comparing the race, ethnicity, and sex composition of an organization’s internal workforce, and the analogous external labor market, within a specified geography and job category. The most recent EEO Tabulation is based on the 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-year estimates. The data are available for the nation, states, metropolitan areas, counties, places, and EEO county sets.

Access the EEO Tabulation on American Fact Finder.

The Disability Employment Tabulation provides in-depth labor force characteristics of people with a disability, with more details on occupation, education, and earnings. Tables may include employment status, detailed occupation, occupation groups, citizenship, educational attainment, age, race, sex and earnings. The most recent tabulation is based on the 2008-2010 American Community Survey 3-year estimates. The data are available for the nation, states, metropolitan areas, EEO county sets, and PUMAs.

Access the Disability Employment Tabulation on American Fact Finder.

Business Patterns

The Census Bureau’s Business Patterns is an annual series that provides subnational economic data by industry. This series includes the number of establishments, employment during the week of March 12, first quarter payroll, and annual payroll. The data are available for the nation, states, metropolitan areas, counties, and ZIP codes.

Data from Business Patterns excludes industries in crop and animal production; rail transportation; National Postal Service; pension, health, welfare, and vacation funds; trusts, estates, and agency accounts; private households; public administration, and most establishments reporting government employees.

Access Business Patterns data here or on American Fact Finder.

Kentucky Labor Market Information

The official site of the Kentucky Cabinet for Education and Workforce Development’s Office of Employment and Training Workforce Intelligence Branch. Find data on unemployment, occupations, wages, industry, and employment for the state and counties, as well as occupational projections and other career information.

Get Kentucky Labor Market Information.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal Federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. Its mission is to collect, analyze, and disseminate essential economic information to support public and private decision-making. As an independent statistical agency, BLS serves its diverse user communities by providing products and services that are objective, timely, accurate, and relevant.

BLS maintains several programs to measure economic activity:

The Current Employment Statistics (CES) program publishes monthly detailed industry data on employment, hours, and earnings of workers on nonfarm payrolls for all 50 States and about 400 metropolitan areas. CES defines employment as the total number of persons on establishment payrolls employed full or part time who received pay for any part of the pay period which includes the 12th day of the month. The data excludes proprietors, self-employed, unpaid family or volunteer workers, farm workers, domestic workers, and persons on leave without pay during the time period.

The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program publishes a quarterly count of establishments, employment, and wages by industry for the nation, states, metropolitan areas, and counties. The data reflect workers covered by state unemployment insurance as well as federal workers. Workers excluded from QCEW include members of the armed forces, the self-employed, proprietors, domestic workers, unpaid family workers, and railroad workers.

The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program produces monthly and annual employment, unemployment, and labor force data for states, metropolitan areas, counties, and cities of 25,000 population or more.

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas; national occupational estimates for specific industries are also available.

Bureau of Economic Analysis

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce produces economic accounts statistics that enable government and business decision-makers, researchers, and the American public to follow and understand the performance of the Nation’s economy.

BEA publishes data on personal income. Personal income differs substantially from the Census Bureau’s measure of money income. Personal income is a more comprehensive measure and is representative of the income received by, or on behalf of, all persons from all sources: from participation as laborers in production, from owning a home or business, from the ownership of financial assets, and from government and business in the form of transfer receipts. It includes income from domestic sources as well as from the rest of the world. Personal income data is available for states, metropolitan areas, and counties.

BEA also publishes data on employment, wages, and industry for states, metropolitan areas, and counties.

Access BEA Regional Data.