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  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.

Business Cycle - A pattern of fluctuation in economic activity, characterized by alternate expansion and contraction. Economists distinguish four phases: (1) expansion, (2) contraction, (3) depression or recession, and (4) recovery.

Census - A count of a specified population and selected characteristics in a given area (housing, industry, etc.) and the statistical information derived from it. The United States Census Bureau conducts a nationwide census of population and housing every ten years.

Consumer Price Index (CPI) - is 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)- Monthly sample survey of about 400,000 employers nationwide, which yields estimates of nonagricultural wage and salary employment, hours, and earnings by industry. These statistics are prepared monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the entire nation, and by cooperating state agencies for each of the 50 states, the District of Colombia, and most MSA’s. The BLS publish data in "Employment and Earnings".

Current Population Survey (CPS) - Monthly household survey of a sample of the civilian noninstitutional 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.

Cyclical Industry - An industry whose sales and profits reflect the ups and downs of the business cycle. Almost all capital goods industries (steel, machine tools, etc.) are cyclical because any decline in consumer demand may eliminate the demand for the capital goods needed to make the product.

Cyclical Unemployment - Unemployment that is caused by periodic declines in business activity that give rise to an inadequate demand for workers.

Discouraged Worker - Person who would like to work but is not actively seeking employment because of a feeling that there are no jobs available.

Dislocated or Displaced Workers - Workers who are laid off or dismissed due to structural changes in their industry or occupation, such as plant closing or relocation, increased competition, automation or market changes.

Durable Goods - Items with a normal life expectancy of three years or more, such as automobiles and furniture. Durable goods are the most volatile component of consumer expenditures.

Econometric Model - A set of related equations used to analyze economic data through mathematical and statistical techniques. Econometric models are used for forecasting, estimating the likely quantitative impact of alternative assumptions, including those of government policies, and for testing various theories about the way the economy works.

Economic Indicator - A statistical series that has been found to represent fairly accurately the changes in business conditions.

Economically Disadvantaged - A person who meets one or more of the following criteria:

(1) a member of a family which receives public assistance, or

(2) a member of a family whose income during the previous six months on an annualized basis was such that (a) the family would have qualified for public assistance, if it applied, or (b) family income is below the poverty level, or (c) family income is less than 70 percent of the lower living standard income level, or

(3) a foster child on whose behalf state or local government payments are made, or

(4) an individual with significant barriers to employment because the individual is (a) a client of a sheltered workshop, or (b) a handicapped individual, or (c) a person residing in an institution or facility providing 24-hour support such as a prison, a hospital or community care facility, or (d) a regular outpatient of a mental hospital, rehabilitation facility, or similar institution.

Employed - Those 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.

Frictional Unemployment - The 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 Employment - A 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 Employment - Generally 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.

High Technology - Indicates the presence of one of more of the following: (1) high use of scientific and technical workers, (2) high expenditure for research and development (R&D) activities, or (3) the industry’s product either used advanced technologies for its production or is itself an example of advanced technology.

Income- There are numerous measures of income, including:

Income of Households-Includes the income of the householder and all other persons 15 years old and over in the household, whether related to the householder or not. Households include all the persons who occupy a housing unit – a house, an apartment, a mobile home, a group of rooms or a single room that is occupied as separate living quarters. Because many households consist of only one person, average household income is usually less than average family income.

Income of Families and Persons-In compiling statistics on family income, the incomes of all members 15 years old and over in each family are summed and treated as a single amount. Family households include a householder and one or more persons living in the same household who are related to the household by birth, marriage or adoption. All persons in the household who are related to the householder are regarded as members of his or her family. Not all households contain families since a household may comprise a group of unrelated individuals or one person living alone.

Median Income-The median divides the income distribution into two equal parts, one having incomes above the median and the other having incomes below the median. For households and families, the median income is based on the distribution of the total number of units including those with no income. The median for persons is based on persons with income.

Per capita income- is the mean income computed for every man, woman, and child in a particular group. It is derived by dividing the total income of a particular group by the total population in that group.

Index Number - A measure of the relative changes occurring in a series of values compared with a base period. The base period usually equals 100, and any changes from it represent percentages.

Industry-Occupation (I-O) Matrix - A tabulation of employment data cross-classified by industry and occupation, arranged in a grid divided into rows and columns. It provides a model representing the occupational employment staffing pattern of each industry for one point in time.

Initial Claim - Notice filed by a worker at the beginning of a period of unemployment requesting a determination of insured status for jobless benefits.

Labor Force
- Includes 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 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. New Shoreham LMA is the only Rhode Island LMA.

Labor Market Information - Data on job seekers, employment, unemployment, changes in industrial structure, technological changes, conditions of employment, wage rates and other related data.

Labor Surplus Area - In Rhode Island a labor surplus area is defined as a city or town which had an unemployment rate 1.2 times the national average for the preceding two calendar years. The classification is made by the United States Department of Labor and is effective from October 1 of the current year through September 30 of the following year, when a new list is issued. Employers located in labor surplus areas are eligible for preference in bidding on federal contracts under several federal laws and executive orders.

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. As of January 2005, areas are no longer defined as an MSA. Areas have been designated as New England City & Town Areas (NECTA).

The MSA’s which included Rhode Island cities or towns were:

  • Providence-Fall River-Warwick, RI-MA-MSA: RI Portion: Barrington, Bristol, Warren; Coventry, East Greenwich, Warwick, West Greenwich, West Warwick; Jamestown, Little Compton, Tiverton; Burrillville, Central Falls, Cranston, Cumberland, East Providence, Foster, Glocester, Johnston, Lincoln, North Providence, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, Providence, Scituate, Smithfield, Woonsocket; Charlestown, Exeter, Narragansett, North Kingstown, Richmond, South Kingstown; MA portion: Attleboro, Fall River, North Attleboro, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea, and Westport.

New England City and Town Area (NECTA), Providence-Fall River-Warwick NECTA, 
includes 37 communities in Rhode Island and 12 in Massachusetts. The general concept of the
NECTA is one of a large population center, usually over 50,000, together with adjacent
communities which have a high degree of economic and social integration within that locality.

Nonagricultural Wage and Salary Employment - Includes 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 Goods - Items that generally last for only a short time (three years or less), such as food, beverages, and apparel. Because of the nature of nondurable goods, they are generally purchased when needed.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) - The successor to the 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 nonproducing. There are 20 sectors in NAICS and 1,179 industries in NAICS in the United States.

Seasonal Adjustments - Statistical modifications made to compensate for predictable fluctuations which recur more or less regularly every year in a time series such as unemployment rates. These fluctuations tend to conceal underlying trends. Seasonally adjusted estimates give a clearer picture of long-term trends by compensating for such influences as summer school closings and holiday hiring.

Seasonal Industry - An industry in which business activity is affected by regularly recurring events such as weather changes, holidays, vacations, etc.

Self-Employed Worker - An individual who works more or less regularly, but usually does so in his/her own home or office, and is not listed on any establishment’s payroll.

State Employment Security Agency (SESA)
- The agency in each state with responsibility for implementing laws and regulations related to employment.

Structural Unemployment - Long-term joblessness resulting from changes in job skill requirements, job skill obsolescence, and the availability of job skill training programs.

Underemployed - Persons who are employed in positions that do not utilize their skill or educational level or who desire a full-time job but are only working part-time because of economic conditions.

Unemployed - Those individuals, 16 years of age or older, who have no job but are available for work and actively seeking work during the reference week (the week including the 12th of the month). The only exceptions to these criteria are individuals who are waiting to be recalled from a lay off and individuals waiting to report to a new job within 30 days - these, too, are considered unemployed.

Unemployment Insurance - A program that provides benefits to insured and eligible persons who are out of work due to conditions beyond their control. The program if financed by an employer tax.

Unemployment Rate - The total number of unemployed as a percent of the total labor force (employed plus unemployed). The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is calculated in the same manner using seasonally adjusted labor force and unemployment data.

Workforce Investment Act - On August 7, 1998, President Clinton signed the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), comprehensive reform legislation that supersedes the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) and amends the Wagner-Peyser Act. WIA reforms Federal job training programs and creates a new, comprehensive workforce investment system. The reformed system is intended to be customer-focused, to help Americans access the tools they need to manage their careers through information and high quality services, and to help U.S. companies find skilled workers. Rhode Island's has two Workforce Investment Boards (WIB), Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston and Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island, which includes the balance of state.




RI Department of Labor and Training
Labor Market Information
Center General Complex
1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920

Phone: (401) 462-8740
Fax (401) 462-8766
TTY via RI Relay: 711
5/8/15 MDF
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