Employment and Unemployment Among Youth Technical Note
Last Modified Date: August 21, 2012
The estimates in this release were obtained from the Current Population
Survey (CPS), a national sample survey of about 60,000 eligible households
conducted monthly for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the U.S. Census
Bureau. The data in this release relate to the employment status of youth
(16- to 24-year-olds) during the months of April-July. This period was selected
as being the most representative time frame in which to measure the full
summertime transition from school to work. July is the peak summer month of
Beginning in January of each year, data reflect revised population controls
used in the CPS. Additional information about population controls is available
on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#pop.
Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired
individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service:
Statistics based on the CPS are subject to both sampling and nonsampling
error. When a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed, there
is a chance that the sample estimates may differ from the "true" population
values they represent. The exact difference, or sampling error, varies
depending upon the particular sample selected, and this variability is
measured by the standard error of the estimate. There is about a 90-percent
chance, or level of confidence, that an estimate based on a sample will
differ by no more than 1.6 standard errors from the "true" population value
because of sampling error. BLS analyses are generally conducted at the 90-
percent level of confidence.
The CPS data also are affected by nonsampling error. Nonsampling error
can occur for many reasons, including the failure to sample a segment of
the population, inability to obtain information for all respondents in the
sample, inability or unwillingness of respondents to provide correct
information, and errors made in the collection or processing of the data.
A full discussion of the reliability of data from the CPS and information
on estimating standard errors is available on the BLS website at
The principal definitions used in this release are described briefly
Employed persons are all those who, during the survey reference
week, (which is generally the week including the 12th day of the month),
(a) did any work at all as paid employees; (b) worked in their own business,
profession, or on their own farm; (c) worked 15 hours or more as unpaid
workers in a family-operated enterprise; or (d) were temporarily absent from
their jobs because of illness, vacation, labor dispute, or another reason.
Unemployed persons are all persons who had no employment during the
reference week, were available for work, except for temporary illness, and
had made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the 4 weeks
preceding the survey. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job
from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to
be classified as unemployed.
Civilian labor force comprises all persons classified as employed or
Unemployment rate represents the number of unemployed persons as a
percent of the civilian labor force.
Not in the labor force includes all persons who are not classified as
employed or unemployed.
Industry and class of worker for the employed relate to the job held in
the survey reference week. Persons with two or more jobs are classified in
the job at which they worked the greatest number of hours. Persons are
classified using the 2007 Census industry classification system. The class-
of-worker breakdown assigns workers to the following categories: Private and
government wage and salary workers, unincorporated self-employed workers,
and unpaid family workers.
Wage and salary workers receive wages, salary, commissions, tips, or pay
in kind from a private employer or from a government entity.
Self-employed workers are those who work for profit or fees in their own
unincorporated business, profession, trade, or farm. Only unincorporated
self-employed are included in the self-employed category. Self-employed
persons whose businesses are incorporated are included with private wage and
Unpaid family workers are persons working without pay for 15 hours a week
or more on a farm or business operated by a family member in their household.