The Census Bureau’s Labor Force Statistics measure the nation's workforce. The Decennial Census began collecting labor force data in 1880, which allows us to see how our workforce has changed over time.
The Census Bureau now collects labor force data through the American Community Survey (ACS). This allows us to measure yearly changes in employment and unemployment rates at the national, state, and often county and city levels. We can also look at these statistics by age, race, gender, and household composition, among other demographic factors. This helps us identify policy impacts and which groups are likely to be affected by policy changes.
The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) also produces labor force statistics. SIPP surveys fewer respondents, but provides information about their weekly employment status for a period of 2-5 years. This paints a more complete picture of households over time. Labor force statistics in the SIPP can offer insight into how long individuals remain unemployed, how long workers remain with their employers, why jobs or self-employed businesses end, and what happens when people transition from one employer or employment status to another.
For assistance, please contact the Census Call Center at 1-800-923-8282 (toll free) or visit ask.census.gov for further information.