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Civilian Labor Force Series

The civilian labor force data are counts by geographic area of those in the labor force (individuals aged 16 and above who are working or looking for work), the employed, the unemployed and a calculation of the unemployment rate. The data are produced monthly at the national, state, Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), Labor Market Area (LMA), county and Minor Civil Division (MCD) level.

The purpose of the Civilian Labor Force data is identification of the extent and nature of unemployment. Policymakers use the information, together with other economic data, to make decisions as to whether measures should be taken to influence the future course of the economy or to aid those affected by joblessness.

Civilian labor force data are based on the same concepts and definitions as those used for the official national estimates obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a sample survey of households that is conducted for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the U.S. Census Bureau.  The labor force includes both the employed and unemployed.  Employed persons are those who did any work at all for pay or profit in the survey reference week (the week including the 12th of the month) or worked 15 hours or more without pay in a family business or farm, plus those not working who have a job from which they were temporarily absent, whether or not paid, for such reasons as labor-management dispute, illness, or vacation.  Unemployed persons are those who did not work at all (in the reference week), have actively looked for a job (sometime in the 4-week period ending with the survey reference week), and are currently available for work; persons on layoff expecting recall need not be looking for work to be counted as unemployed.

Statewide data are produced using estimating equations based on regression techniques.  This method utilizes data from several sources, including the CPS survey, the Current Employment Statistics survey (CES) and state unemployment insurance claims data.

MSA, LMA and county data are produced on a seasonally adjusted basis for comparability with seasonally adjusted state and national data. Seasonal adjustment eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from a time series, allowing economic trends to be more observable from month to month.

Pennsylvania's Civilian Labor Force data is available in both PDF and Excel versions.

More information on Pennsylvania's Civilian Labor Force data can be obtained by contacting the Center for Workforce Information and Analysis at 717-787-6466 (Toll Free: 877-493-3282) or by email at

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