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August 2006, Vol. 129, No.8
The Current Population Survey response to Hurricane Katrina
Lawrence S. Cahoon, Diane E. Herz, Richard C. Ning, Anne E. Polivka, Maria E. Reed, Edwin L. Robison, and Gregory D. Weyland
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, devastating the city of New Orleans and surrounding Louisiana parishes, as well as gulf coast towns in Mississippi. The immediate emergency and the storm’s widespread reach and long-lasting devastation presented unprecedented challenges to statistical agencies charged with measuring the economic situation in the affected areas and in the United States as a whole. At the time of the storm, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau were discussing a proposed disaster estimation strategy for the Current Population Survey (CPS) program, the U.S. national labor force survey. However, no formal plan was in place for dealing with such a situation when Katrina struck the coast.
At news of the storm’s approach, representatives from the two agencies, which cosponsor the monthly survey of approximately 60,000 occupied housing units, began meeting to discuss how different scenarios might affect operations and estimation. After landfall, when the severity of the damage became clearer, the two Bureaus met several times daily and worked between meetings to locate and support staff in the affected areas, assess problems with operations, and determine how to proceed with estimation and data dissemination. This article discusses the impact of Hurricane Katrina on CPS field staff, data collection operations, and estimation. Also described is a special set of questions added to the survey to measure the labor force status of Hurricane Katrina evacuees. The article concludes with lessons learned.
This excerpt is from an article published in the August 2006 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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