Box: Current Population Survey (CPS) Definition of Unemployment

Article: How Out-of-State Claimants Affect Wyoming’s Unemployment Rate

The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a household survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and is used to estimate unemployment. The reasons for unemployment are divided into four major groups:

1. Job losers, defined as:

  • persons on temporary layoff, who have been given a date to return to work or who expect to return within 6 months (persons on layoff need not be looking for work to be classified as unemployed);
  • permanent job losers, whose employment ended involuntarily and who began looking for work;
  • persons who completed a temporary job, and who began looking for work after the job ended.

2. Job leavers, defined as persons who quit or otherwise terminated their employment voluntarily and immediately began looking for work.

3. Reentrants, defined as persons who previously worked but were out of the labor force prior to beginning their job search.

4. New entrants, defined as persons who never had worked but were searching for work.



U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2015). Handbook of Methods. Ch. 1: Labor Force Derived from the Current Population Survey, and Ch. 4: Measurement of Unemployment in States and Local Areas. Retrieved February 29, 2016.

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February 2016, Vol. 53 No. 2

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