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Glossary of Terms
Average Monthly WageTotal annual wages divided by the number of employers on nonagricultural payrolls divided by 12.
BenchmarkA point of reference (either an estimate or a count) from which measurements can be made or upon which adjustments to estimates are based.
Business CycleA periodically repeated sequence of fluctuations in the aggregate economy of an area, or the nation as a whole, varying in duration, but consisting of: a) upturn, including recovery and prosperity b) cyclical peak c) downturn including recession and d) cyclical trough.
Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)Part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. A Federal statistical agency responsible for estimation of Gross Domestic Product. Data from the CES and QCEW programs are used in the GDP estimates.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)An agency within the United States Department of Labor, this organization is the principal data-gathering agency of the federal government in the field of labor economics. It collects, processes, analyzes and disseminates data relating to employment, unemployment, the labor force, productivity, prices, family expenditures, wages, industrial relations and occupational safety and health.
Bureau of the CensusPart of the U.S. Department of Commerce. It conducts censuses of population and housing every 1O years and of agriculture, business, governments, manufacturers, mineral industries, and transportation at 5-year intervals. The Census Bureau also conducts the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) in cooperation with BLS. Data from this survey are the source of unemployment statistics.
CensusA complete count (as opposed to a sample) of a specified population or some other measurable characteristic in a given area (housing, industry, etc.).
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP)The CIP is a taxonomic coding scheme that contains titles and descriptions of primarily post secondary instructional programs. It was developed to facilitate the collection and reporting of post secondary degree completions by major field of study using standard classifications that capture the majority of reportable program activity.
CivilianIndividuals aged 16 years or older, not members of the Armed Services, and not in institutions such as prisons, mental hospitals, or nursing homes.
Civilian Labor ForceThe number of individuals age 16 or over who are employed or unemployed. People who are not working or actively looking for work are not included in the labor force.
Consumer Price Index (CPI)A measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services. Covered Employment - Those jobs covered by the Unemployment Compensation program. Generally, those not covered include some agricultural workers, certain domestics, certain nonprofit employees and self-employed workers.
Current Employment Statistics (CES)A federal-state cooperative statistical program to estimate current employment in a state or sub-state area. A statistically valid sample of employers is surveyed to supply total number of employees, total number of female employees, total number of production workers, total number of hours worked, and total wages earned. This survey is the basis of current estimates of these characteristics. It is used in the calculation of the monthly estimates of employed, unemployed, and the unemployment rate.
Current Population Survey (CPS)Monthly household survey of a sample of the civilian non-institutional population age 16 and over. Conducted by the Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The survey provides a variety of demographic, economic, and social characteristics.
Discouraged workersPersons 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.
Durable GoodsManufactured items with a normal life expectancy of three years or more. Automobiles, furniture, and household appliances are examples. Because of their nature, expenditures for durable goods are generally postponable. Consequently, durable goods sales are a more volatile component of consumer expenditures.
Economic indicatorA set of data that serves as a tool for analyzing current economic conditions and future prospects. Usually classified according to their timing in relationship to the ups and downs of the business cycle, that is, whether they anticipate (lead), coincide with, or lag behind general business conditions.
EmployedThose individuals, 16 years of age or older, who worked at least one hour for pay or profit or worked at least 15 unpaid hours in a family business, during the reference week (the week including the 12th of the month). Individuals are also counted as employed if they have a job but did not work because of illness, bad weather, vacation, labor dispute, or other personal reason.
Employer Identification Number (EIN)A 9-digit identification number assigned to employers by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
Employment, TotalAn unduplicated estimate of area residents who earned wages during the week including the 12th of each month. This estimate includes agricultural employees, self-employed and unpaid family workers, domestics and strikers, as well as residents who were employed in wage and salary jobs.
Employment and Training Administration (ETA)A part of the U.S. Department of Labor. This agency oversees the State Unemployment Insurance Programs and job training and placement services provided by the State Employment Security Agencies.
EstablishmentAn economic unit that produces goods or services, usually at a single physical location, and engages in one or predominantly one activity.
Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS)Standards for information processing issues by the National Bureau of Standards in the U.S. Department of Commerce. Includes a numeric designation for geographic areas such as States, counties, and MA's.
FirmA business entity, either corporate or otherwise. May consist of one or several establishments.
Forecast DataData based on future projections or estimates. The data will usually change when the future becomes the past.
Frictional UnemploymentThe temporary joblessness which results from individuals who are between jobs, are engaged in seasonal work, have quit their jobs and are looking for better ones, or are looking for their first jobs. This type of unemployment is usually short term and is caused by the economy's inability to immediately match job seekers with jobs.
Full EmploymentA state of the economy in which all persons who want to work can find employment without much difficulty at the prevailing rates of pay. This does not mean the same thing as zero unemployment because seasonal and frictional unemployment will still exist to some extent.
Full-Time EmploymentGenerally includes persons who worked 35 hours or more during the survey week (week of the month that includes the 12th). Persons who worked between one and 34 hours are designated as working part-time.
Goods-Producing Industries (North American Industry Classification System)Includes manufacturing, construction, and natural resources and mining.
IndustryA group of establishments that produce similar products or provide similar services. For example, all establishments that manufacture automobiles are in the same industry. A given industry, or even a particular establishment in that industry, might have employees in dozens of occupations. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) groups similar establishments into industries.
Initial ClaimNotice filed by a worker at the beginning of a period of unemployment requesting a determination of insured status for jobless benefits.
Labor ForceIncludes all persons 16 years of age or older, living within a specified geographic area who are either employed or unemployed. This is a count of persons (not jobs) by location of residence (not location of work).
Labor Force Participation RateThe civilian non-institutionalized population age 16 and over of an area divided into the area's civilian labor force, expressed as a percentage or rate.
Labor Market Area (LMA)A labor market area consists of a central city or cities and the surrounding territory within normal commuting distance. Persons in a labor market area can change jobs without having to change residences. The boundaries depend primarily on economic and geographic factors rather than on political jurisdictions.
Labor Market Information (LMI)Data on job seekers, employment, unemployment, changes in industrial structure, technological changes, conditions of employment, wage rates and other related data.
LayoffSuspension from pay by the company for reasons such as lack of orders, plant breakdown, shortage of materials, or termination of seasonal or temporary employment, etc.
Local Employment Dynamics (LED)The LED Program is a partnership between the Census Bureau and the participating states. LED produces demographic employment information called Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) for each partner state, as well as each partner state's metropolitan areas, combined non-metropolitan areas, counties, and Workforce Investment Board areas.
Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)A Federal-State cooperative program that develops monthly estimates of the labor force, employment, unemployment, and unemployment rates for the state, all counties, Workforce Development Areas, labor market areas, metropolitan divisions, combined statistical areas, metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, and cities with a population of 25,000 or more.
Location QuotientRatio that compares the concentration of a resource or activity, such as employment, in a defined area to that of a larger area or base. For example, location quotients can be used to compare State employment by industry to that of the nation.
Mass LayoffA situation that involves at least 50 persons at the same establishment, each of who has filed an initial claim for unemployment insurance benefits during a consecutive five-week period.
Mass Layoff Statistics (MLS)A federal-state cooperative standardized program designed to identify, describe and track the impact of large job cutbacks. A mass layoff event occurs when an establishment has at least 50 initial unemployment compensation claims filed against it within a five-week period and the layoff lasts longer than 30 days.
MeanCalculated by dividing the sum of values in a particular statistical universe by the number of units in the universe. Also referred to as the average.
MedianThe value that divides a particular distribution (like wage rates) into two equal parts, one part having values above the median and the other having values below the median.
Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)An area containing a city of at least 50,000 or an urbanized area of at least 50,000 with a total metropolitan population of at least 100,000. MSA's are defined by cities and towns within New England and by counties throughout the remainder of the country.
Micropolitan Statistical AreaThese are smaller geographic areas based on having at least one urban cluster of at least 10,000 population but less than 50,000, plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured by commuting ties.
Multi-EstablishmentA firm or reporting unit that consists of more than one establishment.
New EntrantsIn the Current Population Survey (CPS), new entrants are new workers looking for a job. They include students entering the labor market after graduation from school and others who have not previously held a full-time job lasting two weeks or longer.
Nonagricultural Wage and Salary EmploymentIncludes persons on nonagricultural establishment payrolls (including employees on paid sick leave, paid holiday or paid vacation) who work or receive pay for any part of the pay period including the 12th of the month. It does not include proprietors, self-employed, unpaid volunteer or family workers, domestic workers in households, military personnel, and persons who are laid off, on leave without pay or on strike for the entire reference period.
Nondurable GoodsManufactured items that generally last for only a short time (three years or less). Food, beverages, apparel and gasoline are common examples. Because of their nature, nondurable goods are generally purchased when needed.
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)The successor to the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system; this system of classifying business establishments is being used by the United States, Canada, and Mexico. NAICS is an industry classification system that groups establishments into industries based on the activities in which they are primarily engaged. It is a comprehensive system covering the entire field of economic activities, producing and non-producing.
Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)OES is a federal-state cooperative program between the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and state agencies. Surveyed employers are asked about the number of wage and salary workers in detailed occupations and about the wage distribution for those workers. OES survey samples are drawn from the universe of non-farm employers covered by the Unemployment Insurance (UI) system.
Occupational Staffing Patterns
This concept describes an industry in terms of its occupational distribution. For example, an occupational staffing pattern for the electrical machinery industry would indicate how many of the workers in the industry were employed as electrical engineers, electronic technicians, assemblers, etc.