Employment and Unemployment Among Youth Technical Note
Last Modified Date: October 29, 2020
The estimates in this release were obtained from the Current Population
Survey (CPS), a national sample survey of 60,000 households conducted month-
ly 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 tran-
sition from school to work. July is the peak summer month of youth employment.
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 Web site 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 Ser-
vice: (800) 877-8339.
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 de-
pending 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
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 infor-
mation, and errors made in the collection or processing of the data.
A full discussion of the reliability of data from the CPS and infor-
mation on estimating standard errors is available on the BLS Web site 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 ref-
erence 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 break-
down assigns workers to the following categories: Private and government wage
and salary workers, 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 unit. Self-employed persons are those who
work for profit or fees in their own business, profession, trade, or farm. 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.