What does the
LAUS 2015 Redesign entail?
The 2015 LAUS Redesign
includes improved time-series models for the census
divisions, states, select substate areas, and the balances
of those states; an improved real-time benchmarking
procedure to the national Current Population Survey (CPS)
estimates; an improved smoothed seasonal adjustment
procedure; and improved treatment of outliers.
Non-modeled area estimation
improvements include: updated Dynamic Residency Ratios (DRR);
more accurate estimates for all-other employment; more
accurate estimation of agricultural employment; and improved
estimation of non-covered agricultural unemployment.
Handbook estimation is now done at the county level instead
of at the Labor Market Area (LMA) level, which better
reflects local conditions. The Redesign also introduces
estimation inputs from the American Community Survey (ACS)
to replace inputs that were previously obtained from the
decennial census long-form survey.
In addition, 2010
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) delineations for
metropolitan areas, metropolitan divisions, and micropolitan
areas and new LAUS small labor market areas will be
implemented with the 2015 LAUS Redesign.
How often does
LAUS conduct major redesigns to its methodology?
Typically every 10 years.
When will the
LAUS 2015 Redesign changes be implemented?
The 2015 Redesign is being
implemented with the publication of January 2015 estimates.
What levels of
geography will the LAUS Redesign affect?
The 2015 Redesign will
affect all LAUS areas. Census divisions, states, the
District of Columbia, New York City, the Los Angeles-Long
Beach-Glendale metropolitan division and the balances of New
York and California will have their model-based series
re-estimated from 1976 forward.
Other modeled areas
directly affected include the following: the
Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL metropolitan
division; the Cleveland-Elyria, OH metropolitan area; the
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI metropolitan area; the
Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL metropolitan division; and the
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA metropolitan division and the
balances of Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Florida, and
Washington. These areas will be re-estimated back to 1990.
Substate areas not listed
above are directly affected by improvements to the Handbook
method and disaggregation procedure from January 2010
forward and indirectly affected by controlling to the new
model-based estimates back to their series beginning in
For the 2010 OMB geography,
estimates for 1990 to 2009 will be aggregated from their
county or city and town components. Estimates for 2010
forward will reflect the new estimation methods based on
For Rhode Island, the
only geographical change concerns the town of Hopkinton,
which will now be a part of the Norwich-New London-Westerly,
CT-RI NECTA (formerly the Norwich-New London, CT-RI NECTA),
moving from the Providence-Warwick, RI-MA NECTA (formerly
the Providence-Fall River-Warwick, RI-MA NECTA)
Why is LAUS
making these program improvements?
Some issues have been
identified with the 2005 methods of estimation at the state
and substate levels that affect accuracy and analysis of the
estimates. Because LAUS is committed to producing
high-quality data, it must conduct research and improve its
methods and procedures. Moreover, when data sources cease to
exist, it must find new sources to replace them. The 2015
state and substate estimation approaches generate more
accurate and reliable estimates.
Who decided to
implement these program improvements?
The LAUS national office in
consultation with the states decided to implement the 2015
Redesign. The 50 states, the District of Columbia, and
Puerto Rico had an opportunity to review and comment on
various aspects of the Redesign. In addition, the Federal
Register Notice provided an opportunity for the general
public to comment.
How do the 2005
models compare with the 2015 models?
There are four main
differences between the 2005 and 2015 models: (1) structural
differences, (2) real-time benchmarking, (3) smoothed
seasonal adjustment, and (4) treatment of outliers.
Both the 2005 and 2015
state models are signal-plus-noise models. The 2015 models,
or fourth generation models, move from the bivariate
structure to a regressor format. Current Employment
Statistics (CES) employment and unemployment insurance (UI)
claims are used as regressor variables, rather than separate
input variables. This improves computational performance, as
well as adds greater flexibility for the treatment of
outliers and for long-term model development. In addition,
substate models will also utilize this regressor structure,
allowing the use of CES employment and UI claims at the
In the 2005 generation of
the models, real-time benchmarking was an external process
applied after the completion of model estimation. With the
2015 generation, real-time benchmarking is now a model-based
component of the estimation procedure, distributing the
benchmark discrepancy to the states where it is most
appropriate. In other words, states that contributed more to
the discrepancy will receive a larger adjustment.
The 2015, or fourth
generation, models utilize an improved smoothed
seasonal-adjustment filter. In addition to the trend filter,
weights have been added to create a seasonal filter. This
removes the volatility introduced by real-time benchmarking,
while simultaneously removing residual seasonality that
results from benchmarking to a seasonal series.
In the 2005, or third
generation, models state outliers were added to the model
prior to real-time benchmarking. With the 2015 models,
outliers will be added subsequent to real-time benchmarking.
This approach allows the preservation of the impact of the
outlier in the originating state and prevents the distortion
of estimates in the other states.
on Revision to State and Area Time-Series Models for
How are estimates
for the census divisions developed with the 2015 models?
In both the 2005 and 2015
models, the census division estimates are generated
essentially the same, except that in the 2015 models, the
outlier effect is removed prior to estimation. Real-time
benchmarking is done a bit differently than in 2005. In
2015, real-time benchmarking will be done by estimating all
the divisions simultaneously, with a requirement that they
add to the national totals. Thus, there is no need for pro
rata, or ratio, adjustment as in 2005.
If a census
division contains a large state, how will the monthly
benchmark adjustment affect other states in the division?
The 2015 models have
greater flexibility for benchmarking. To distribute the
difference between the sum of the states’ estimates and
the divisions’ estimate, the models take into account how
much each state within the division is estimated to have
contributed to the difference. Thus, on a percent basis, the
adjustment rate will vary by state within the division. On
an absolute basis, a large state gets a larger absolute
adjustments than smaller state.
If a state has an
atypical monthly CPS value during the current year
estimation, how will that affect its current month estimates
and the estimates of other states in the division?
In the 2015 models, as with
the 2005 approach, the model will discount most of a state
CPS atypical movement by attributing it to the noise
component. Any remaining state CPS atypical movement will be
mostly retained in the originating state. By combining the
estimation and real-time benchmarking procedures, the 2015
models have greater flexibility for keeping local atypical
movements in the corresponding State. During annual
processing, atypical movements are evaluated and if they are
classified as outliers, they are addressed appropriately.
How does the 2005
Handbook method compare with the 2015 Handbook method?
The overall structure of
the Handbook method does not change. However, some inputs to
some Handbook lines will be more current with the 2015
Redesign. Changes in the Handbook method include: updated
Dynamic Residency Ratios (DRR), more accurate estimates for
all-other employment, more accurate estimation of
agricultural employment, and improved estimation of
non-covered agricultural unemployment.
In addition, the Handbook
estimation will be done at the county level instead of at
the Labor Market Area level to better reflect local
The Redesign also
introduces estimation inputs from the American Community
Survey (ACS) to replace inputs that were previously obtained
from the decennial census long-form survey.
on Revision to Handbook Method Employment Estimation and
on Revision to Handbook Method Unemployment Estimation
for more details.
What is the
American Community Survey, and why is it being used in LAUS
Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing monthly survey
conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. With a sample of
approximately 295,000 households, the ACS gathers
socioeconomic information that was previously obtained by
the long-form of the decennial census. With the 2010 Census,
the long-form questionnaire was eliminated.
The LAUS program had been
reliant on the census long-form data as the basis for
developing substate estimates for self-employed, unpaid
family workers, private household workers, and agricultural
workers throughout the decade. These data elements represent
employment that is either not covered by unemployment
insurance compensation programs, or not covered in the
payroll survey data (Current Employment Statistics).
How were the 2015
estimation methods evaluated prior to implementation?
The 2015 Redesign involved
a multi-year effort to research robust estimation methods
for all areas. For changes to the models, estimates based on
the new methodologies were made available to states for
their review. Formal feedback from states on the Redesign
models estimates was provided to BLS in 2014. For the other
substate areas, components of the Handbook Method were
evaluated regarding methodological improvements and new data
sources. Information regarding any proposed changes and/or
effects of using new data sources were made available to
states for their review and comment.
In addition, the Federal
Register Notice provided an opportunity for the general
public to comment on the new methodology.
All of the systems used to
generate LAUS estimates were modified and tested to ensure
that the 2015 Redesign will be implemented correctly.
Will the 2015
Redesign affect when labor force estimates will be released
No. The use of the 2015
Redesign methodologies will not impact the BLS release of
labor force estimates relative to prior years.
How will the LAUS
2015 Redesign affect historical comparisons?
For the census divisions,
states, and balance of states, the entire historical series
from January 1976 forward will be replaced with estimates
based on the redesigned models. For the five modeled
metropolitan areas and divisions, the plan is to re-estimate
back to 1990. For the remaining substate areas, the
re-estimation with the new methodology will be carried back
to 2010. Hence, many areas can be expected to display breaks
in series between 2009 and 2010.
Will the state
and area estimates still be revised at the end of the year?
Yes. The end-of-year
revision process remains essentially the same as with the
Where can I go to
get technical information on the Redesign?
changes to state and local area labor force estimation in
2015 for additional information.