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Section 8

Labor Force, Employment, and Earnings

This section presents statistics dealing with the characteristics of the economically active segment of the population, the labor force; its distribution by occupation and industry affiliation; and the supply of, demand for, and conditions of labor.

The chief sources of these data are the census of population conducted by the Bureau of the Census (see text, p. 1); the monthly Employment and Earnings and Monthly Labor Review, issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); and Farm Labor, issued monthly by the Statistical Reporting Service (SRS), Department of Agriculture. Types of data.-Statistics on the labor force, employment status, and jobs shown in this section are derived from two bodies of data. Each measures a different aspect of employment. Data based on household interviews conducted by the Bureau of the Census in the census of population and the Current Population Survey (see below) present information on employment status obtained from workers or members of their households. Each employed worker is counted only once, even though he may have held more than one job during a given period.

Data based on establishment reports are used in BLS industry surveys and in SRS surveys. Workers are counted each time they appear on a payroll during the same period. While population characteristics are obtained only from the household survey, detailed data on wages, hours worked, and labor turnover are more readily obtained from establishment reports.

The census of population provides detailed data for the United States and for each State, standard metropolitan statistical area, county, city, and other area. The data include personal characteristics (sex, age, race, etc.) of persons employed and unemployed, the numbers reported in each occupation and industry, and other items. Monthly data from the Current Population Survey, are published by BLS in Employment and Earnings and related publications. Data presented include national totals, by sex, race, and age, of the number of persons in the civilian labor force; the number employed in nonagricultural industries and in agriculture along with data on hours of work and occupational groups; the number unemployed and duration of unemployment; and the number of nonworkers, their work experience, and jobseeking intentions.

Employment and Earnings also presents monthly data from establishment surveys on nonagricultural employment, labor turnover, and hours worked. These data are shown for broad groupings in the BLS Monthly Labor Review, which also presents statistics on wage rates, industrial relations, and output per man-hour. Certain of these data are shown for States and most standard metropolitan statistical areas (see sec. 33). Historical statistics, in geographic detail, are shown in the BLS Bulletin No. 1370-9, Employment and Earnings, States and Areas, 1939-71.

Current Population Survey.-Monthly data on the labor force are collected and compiled for BLS as a part of the Current Population Survey, a nationwide sample survey conducted by the Bureau of the Census. (See text, p. 1.) A detailed discussion of the survey and its methodology appears in Concepts and Methods Used in Manpower Statistics From the Current Population Survey (Report No. 313), available on request from BLS. Because the data are derived from a probability sample, they may differ from the figures that would have been obtained if it were possible to take a complete census using the same questionnaire and procedures. Thus, the data are subject to some degree of sampling error which must be taken into account in evaluating changes in the data. According to current computations, the relative sampling error for summary

estimates such as civilian labor force, total employment, and nonagricultural employment is about 0.3 percent; for agricultural employment and for unemployment, it is roughly 2 to 4 percent. The chances are about 2 out of 3 that an estimate from the sample would differ from a complete census by less than the percentage estimated above for the particular item. The chances are about 19 out of 20 that the difference would be less than twice the specified percentage and about 99 out of 100 that it would be less than 21⁄2 times the percentage. This sampling variability is illustrative of the variability of data based on the Current Population Survey. For further details, see the explanatory notes in the BLS Employment and Earnings.

Statistics obtained from the Current Population Survey may differ from decennial census data because of sampling variability as well as differences in the enumeration process and procedures. For further information, see U.S. Census of Population: 1970, Vol. I.

Labor force.-Effective in January 1967, the lower limit for official statistics on the labor force was raised from 14 to 16 years of age. Data on employment status, collected in the Current Population Survey, relate to activity or status during the calendar week which includes the 12th of the month.

The civilian labor force comprises all civilians classified as employed or unemployed according to the criteria below; the "total labor force" also includes the Armed Forces. Employed persons comprise (a) all civilians who, during the survey week, did any work for pay or profit (minimum of an hour's work) or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in a family enterprise, and (b) all persons who were not working but who had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent for noneconomic reasons (illness, bad weather, vacation, labor-management dispute, etc.). Unemployed persons comprise all persons not working during the survey week who made specific efforts to find a job within the previous 4 weeks, (such as applying directly to an employer, or to a public employment service, or checking with friends) and who were available for work during the survey week (except for temporary illness). Persons on layoff from a job or waiting to report to a new job within 30 days are also classified as unemployed. All other persons, 16 years old and over, are "not in the labor force."

Changes in methods of measuring employment and unemployment were also introduced in January 1967. They have clarified underlying concepts but have not substantially altered the statistics. A detailed discussion of the changes and their effect on the various series appears in the February 1967 Employment and Earnings and Monthly Report on the Labor Force.

Beginning in 1972, information from the 1970 Census of Population was introduced into estimation procedures, producing increases in the civilian noninstitutional population, labor force, and employment totals, but having essentially no effect on unemployment levels and rates. A subsequent population adjustment, introduced in March 1973, affected the statistics by race but had little effect on totals or rates. Further changes in labor force statistics derive from a comprehensive revision in classification of occupations and industries for the 1970 census, and from inclusion of a question on major activities or duties in the December 1971 Survey. As a result, meaningful comparisons of occupational employment levels cannot be made between 1971-72 and prior periods nor between those 2 years. For further explanation of the changes, see the February 1971 and 1972 issues of Employment and Earnings.

Employment and earnings.-The monthly estimates of nonagricultural employment prepared by BLS are based on voluntary reports from establishments which, in March 1971, employed 11 million manufacturing workers (61 percent of total manufacturing employment at that time), 10 million workers in nonmanufacturing industries except government (26 percent of the total in nonmanufacturing industries), and 8 million Federal, State, and local government employees (60 percent of the total in government). These reports are supplemented by data from other government agencies and adjusted at intervals to data from tabulations of reports under government social insurance programs. The monthly estimates exclude persons not normally

Labor Force, Employment, and Earnings


on establishment payrolls, such as proprietors of unincorporated businesses, selfemployed persons, domestic servants, unpaid family workers, agricultural workers, and the Armed Forces. The employment data are for all employees, and full- and parttime, who received pay for any part of the period reported.

Estimates are available on a continuous basis from 1919 for total nonfarm payroll employment and the 8 major industry divisions. Estimates for other periods are available for several hundred selected industries. Both total employment and production-worker estimates are published for 21 major manufacturing groups, 277 manufacturing subgroups, and 11 mining industries. Also, estimates for nonsupervisory workers are published at broad levels and in varying detail for wholesale and retail trade, transportation, public utilities, finance, insurance, real estate, and services; estimates for construction workers are published for the contract construction industries; and 402 series are published for the employment of women.

Average weekly hours and average weekly and hourly earnings are available for over 360 series covering production and related workers in manufacturing and mining, construction workers in contract construction, and nonsupervisory workers in other selected nonmanufacturing industries. The earnings data are gross (before payroll deductions) and include overtime premiums; they exclude irregular bonuses and value of payments in kind. Hours are those for which pay was received.

Agricultural employment estimates and wage rates, obtained by means of monthly mail returns, have been issued since 1909 by the Department of Agriculture and appear monthly in Farm Labor. Annual estimates of persons 14 years old and over who did farm work for cash wages at any time during the year are published in The Hired Farm Working Force. Also reported are days employed, earnings from farm and nonfarm work, personal characteristics of hired farm workers and other pertinent information. These estimates are derived from a survey conducted once a year under contract by the Bureau of the Census for the Economic Research Service.

Output per man-hour.-BLS publishes annual measures of output per man-hour according to two broad concepts. The first, physical output per man-hour, deals with the relationship between production in physical units and man-hours used in production; the second, net output per man-hour, with the relationship between value added (at fixed prices) and man-hours. Both indexes measure the relationship between production and one factor of input--labor time. They do not measure the specific contribution of labor or capital nor the increased efficiency resulting from changes in technology or production procedures.

The indexes of output per man-hour for selected industries are based on the physical output per man-hour concept; measurements relating to the total economy and various sectors are based on the net output per man-hour concept. These indexes are influenced by the divergent movements of various industries which make up the total, as well as by changes in the relative importance of these components.

Labor turnover.-Labor turnover rates are published monthly in the Monthly Labor Review and in Employment and Earnings for over 220 industries on the basis of reports from cooperating establishments employing over 10 million workers (about 55 percent of the universe surveyed). Labor turnover data are available on a monthly basis from January 1930 for manufacturing as a whole and, from January 1958, for individual industries and industry groups.

Work stoppages.-Statistics on strikes are compiled by BLS and include stoppages, workers involved, and man-days of idleness. Basic data are obtained from the employers and unions involved in strikes. Knowledge of strikes comes from a variety of sources, including newspapers, State employment services, and State and Federal mediation services. The Bureau presents annual reports in the Monthly Labor Review and later, in bulletin form, giving totals for each month of the year and analysis of strikes by industry, State, city, causes, and other classifications.

Historical statistics.-Tabular headnotes provide cross-references, where applicable to Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1957. See preface.



[See table 347]

Source: Chart prepared by U.S. Bureau of the Census. Data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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[In thousands of persons 16 years old and over. Annual figures are averages of monthly figures. See Historical Sta ̄ tistics, Colonial Times to 1957, series D 1-14 and D 20, for similar but not exactly comparable data]

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Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment and Earnings, monthly.

Excludes white.

3 Civilian non

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