NC Commerce

Labor and Economic Analysis Division, Department of Commerce

(919) 707-1500 Location Parking

Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions are the most frequently asked by visitors to our site. They are sorted by popularity with the leading questions appearing at the top of the list. To view the answer to any of the questions below, click on the question and the answer will be displayed.

If you have a specific question you want answered, please go to the Requests for Information page under Contact Us. There you will be prompted to type in your email address, name, and phone number, followed by your query. A LEAD staff member; will reply promptly to your request.

How are the civilian labor force, employment, unemployment, and unemployment rate defined?

The civilian labor force, employment, unemployment, and unemployment rate are data produced monthly and annually by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To get the latest LAUS data, go to D4-Demand Driven Data Delivery.

Civilian labor force includes persons aged 16 and older who were not institutionalized or on active military duty and were either employed or unemployed.

Employment includes those who did any work as paid employees, worked in their own business or farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in a family business during the reference week (normally the week including the 12th of the month). It also includes those who had a job, but did not work due to a temporary absence. Each employed person is counted only once, even if they had more than one job. 

Unemployment includes those who did not have a job during the reference week, were available for work, and made specific efforts to find a job sometime during the four weeks prior to the reference week.

Unemployment rate is the percent of the civilian labor force that was unemployed.

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