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April 2009, Vol. 132, No. 4
Trends in labor force flows during recent recessions
Harley J. Frazis and Randy E. Ilg
The Current Population Survey (CPS) is the Federal Government’s main source of information on the labor force status of the population. Employment and unemployment estimates derived from the CPS are watched closely each month to gauge the health of the labor market. During periods of economic weakness, unemployment rises and the employment-population ratio declines. Chart 1 shows the unemployment rate and the employment-population ratio from January 1990 to December 2008. From a recent low point of 4.4 percent in March 2007, the jobless rate increased by 2.8 percentage points, to 7.2 percent in December 2008. Over the same period, the employment-population ratio declined by 2.3 percentage points, to 61.0 percent.
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Related BLS programs
Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
Studying the labor market using BLS labor dynamics data.—Feb. 2008.
Analyzing CPS data using gross flows.—Sept. 2005.
Estimating gross flows consistent with stocks in the CPS.—Sept. 2005.
Using gross flows to explore movements in the labor force.—Apr. 1995.
Measuring labor force flows: a conference examines the problems.—Jul. 1985.
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