U.S. Chamber of Commerce Workforce Monitor Report Methodology

Estimates of available workers for each month are based on the BLS Employment Situation Report monthly estimates for persons unemployed and for persons not in the labor force but “marginally attached.”  These BLS estimates are derived from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) of households conducted jointly by Census and BLS.  For our report unemployed persons are described as “active” and persons marginally attached are described as “inactive” in terms of their job seeking behavior.  Besides the published estimates from the BLS Employment Situation Report, the U.S. Chamber’s Workforce Monitor Series analyzes publicly released CPS individual survey response data records to examine in more detail the characteristics of available workers, employed workers and others. 

To calculate the Worker Availability Ratio, we first establish the total number of available workers by adding the total “unemployed” individuals (those who actively sought work that month) and the total “marginally attached” individuals (those who did not seek work that month but say they want and are available for work and have sought work in the past year), as reported monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We then divide the total “available workers” by the number of job openings, as reported in BLS’s monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).

Our detailed tabulations provide insights regarding the distribution of available workers by geographic region, age, sex, school enrollment, educational attainment, race, and other characteristics.  For active job seekers with prior work experience, the data also shows the industry in which the person last worked.  For available workers who are not active job seekers in the most recent month, the CPS data provides information regarding the primary reason for job search inactivity.  Inactive search reason data may be useful for shaping strategies by government or by businesses better to connect these marginally available workers to the job openings and to improve the efficiency of the labor market.   

Total employment by industry is estimated by inference from the industry level unemployment rates and the number of unemployed persons with prior employment experience in the indicated industry as published in Table A-14 of the BLS Monthly Employment Situation Report.  Persons employed in the current month who were not in the labor force or who changed jobs from a different Industry in the previous month are not reflected in these estimates.  No prior employment experience by industry is available for available workers whose current job search status is inactive (i.e., marginally attached category).

The data used in these calculations are all “not seasonally adjusted” because BLS does not publish seasonally adjusted estimates for the “marginally attached” series.

The Chamber’s tabulations of Current Population Survey data was based on the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey data files maintained and published online by the University of Minnesota at www.ipums.org.

The Census Region definitions used in this report are as follows:

Northeast:  Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania;

Midwest:  Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota

South:  Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas; The District of Columbia is included in this region;

West:  Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii;