Monitoring Economic Health and Wellness

The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is responsible for monitoring a variety of data relating to the economic health of the nation and the workforce. The BLS maintains strict methods for gathering, processing, interpreting, and distributing that data. Emphasis is often placed on national data, but BLS is committed to local-level information, as well.

Measuring Unemployment and Uncovering Opportunity for Growth

The group of data referenced by BLS is known as Local Areas Unemployment Statistics (LAUS). LAUS are compiled primarily from the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS has been conducted monthly since 1940 as a way to effectively measure unemployment across the country. LAUS are valuable for government and private groups, highlighting areas where businesses and employment can grow and develop.

In addition to the CPS, LAUS incorporates data from the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is a yearly report that includes demographic, social, and housing data in addition to employment. By using the ACS, LAUS are able to provide a more complete overview of employment in the country.

Data Integrity for Future Advancement

The variety and quantity of data, the rapidly changing nature of available software, and the complexity of controlling so many variables at once necessitated BLS seeking a partner to aid with a solution. They approached WebFirst to help, and the role we play is twofold:

  1. Improving LAUS via multi-tiered benchmarking. As LUAS improves, we improve the benchmarks.
  2. Incorporation of ACS data into LAUS, while maintaining the integrity and accuracy of that data.
  3. Building complex statistical models.


We continue to work with BLS to monitor, refine, examine, and implement improvements and updates to the system we partnered to develop, and we are excited to see how the data can continue to provide insight and opportunity for growth in the future.

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