Home Labor Market Information FAQs

Labor Market Information Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions


LMI Data Definitions, Assumptions, and Methodologies


BLS Statistical Programs


Other


General Questions

Where can I find data by Occupation?
You can find information about a particular occupation using the Occupation Profile. If you would like information on several occupations, areas, or time periods visit Occupational Wages.

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What is California’s Minimum Wage?
Labor laws in California are enforced by the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. Visit the DIR Minimum Wage page for more information.

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Where can I find the current Unemployment Rate for my area?
The EDD’s Labor Market Information Division prepares monthly estimates of labor force and unemployment rates for all counties, including selected cities and towns in California. Links to these data are available on the Industry Employment and Unemployment Rates page and the Data Library.

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Where can I find wage data for an occupation in my area?
Visit the Employment and Wages by Occupation page for information.

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Where can I find a list of the top employers in my area?
The information collected by the EDD’s Labor Market Information Division from employers is considered confidential. We cannot provide a list of employer names nor information about that employer, such as the number of employees. Information about employers is available from private vendors such as infoUSA.

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Where can I find Occupations in the highest demand?
Visit the Occupations in Demand page for information.

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Where can I find information about my rights as an employee/employer?
Please visit the Department of Industrial Relations for a list of frequently asked questions for information.

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When does EDD release new Labor Force and Unemployment Rate data?
The labor force, unemployment rate, and associated data are updated monthly at the time of the official EDD Press Release. Please refer to the Data Release Schedule to see the next planned release date.

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Where can I find information about education and skill requirements for a specific occupation?
The California Occupational Guides provide information on California wages, job outlook, education, and licensing requirements for approximately 300 occupations. The guides offer students and jobseekers occupational information to assist with making informed career choices.

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Where can I find a list of commonly used Labor Market Information (LMI) terminology?
A list of commonly used LMI terms and definitions can be found on the LMI Glossary of Terms page.

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LMI Data Definitions, Assumptions, and Methodologies

How does EDD define: Civilian Labor Force, Employment, Unemployment, and Unemployment Rate?

  • 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 4 weeks prior to the reference week.
  • Unemployment Rate is the percent of the civilian labor force that was unemployed.

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How does EDD generate monthly estimates for the California labor force and unemployment rates?
The EDD Labor Market Information Division uses several methods to estimate statistics for civilian labor force, employment, unemployment, and unemployment rates. These methods were developed in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For further information about the Labor Force and Unemployment rate methodology, visit the Labor Force Data Methodology FAQ page.

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What is a Benchmark?
A Benchmark is an annual revision process in which monthly Labor Force and payroll Employment by Industry estimates are updated. Throughout the year, employment by industry data is estimated based on sample data. On an annual basis, when updated information becomes available from detailed tax records, the employment by industry estimates is revised. Tax record data are used through March; therefore, the revision is referred to as the March Benchmark.

The labor force data series is also revised. The labor force statistics are calculated based on a number of data sources including the employment by industry data, Unemployment Insurance claims filed, and at the State level, data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a survey of households. As these industry employment and CPS data are updated, so are the labor force statistics.

Because this review and update process is so extensive, and affects historical as well as current year data, the information is released in stages early each year. For more information on benchmarking visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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What is a "Seasonal Adjustment?"
Seasonal adjustment is a process whereby normal seasonal changes are removed or discounted from monthly data. Taking employment as an example, we know that some industries show large fluctuations in employment because they need more or less employees at certain times of the year. Ski resorts, for instance, hire far more employees in the winter months to accommodate snow skiing season. Employment in education fluctuates greatly at the beginning and the ending of the school year. Retail businesses typically hire more employees during the holiday season late in the year.

By seasonally adjusting employment, statisticians attempt to adjust the influences of predictable seasonal patterns to reveal how employment and unemployment change from month to month. The adjustment consists of either raising or lowering the actual employment reported by a certain percentage to reflect the normal seasonal increases or decreases that historically occur.

This explains why you often see two sets of employment figures, seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted.

Typically, the monthly employment and unemployment numbers reported in the news are seasonally adjusted data. Seasonally adjusted data are useful when comparing several months of data. Annual average estimates are calculated from the not seasonally adjusted data series.

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Why does Civilian Employment differ from Total Industry Employment?
The EDD Labor Market Information Division releases data about jobs every month. But the number of jobs we report for Civilian Employment differs from the number of jobs reported for Total Industry Employment (also known as Wage and Salary Employment). The reason for the difference in the two numbers is that they are measuring different types of employment. Total Industry Employment counts the number of jobs by the place of work. This does not include business owners, the self-employed, unpaid family workers, or private household workers. If someone holds more than one job, they may be counted more than once.

Civilian Employment counts the number of working people by where they live. This includes business owners, the self-employed, unpaid family workers, private household workers, and wage and salary workers. An individual with more than one job is only counted once.

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How does EDD generate estimates for Industry Employment?
The EDD Labor Market Information Division generates industry employment estimates using a nationally recognized monthly employment reporting system. Employment by industry data reflects jobs by "place of work.” That is, jobs located in the county or the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) that pay wages and salaries are counted although workers may live outside the area. Jobs are counted regardless of the number of hours worked. Multiple jobholders (i.e., individuals who hold more than one job) may be counted more than once. Self-employed, unpaid family workers and private household employees are not included. For further information about the methodology for generating Industry Employment data, visit the Industry Employment Data FAQ page.

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How does EDD generate estimates for occupational employment projections?
Occupational Employment Projections estimate the changes in occupational employment over time resulting from industry growth, technological changes, and other factors. Industry growth exists when the demand for goods and services increases, resulting in an increased demand for workers to produce these goods and services. Technological changes can raise the demand for some skills while eliminating the demand for others.

The State and sub-state area Long-Term projections are for a 10-year period. The projections are revised every two years to incorporate economic changes that occur in the State and local areas. Statewide Short-Term projections are for a two-year period and are revised annually. For further information visit the Occupational Employment Projections Methodology FAQ page.

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How does EDD generate estimates for Industry employment projections?
Industry Employment Projections estimate changes within an industry over time. The projections are based on the State or local area's past industry employment trends and are refined by a review of current economic developments that affect employment within each industry. Base year data, the date for the beginning year of the projection period, are a "snap-shot" of employment at a point in time. Preliminary employment projections are produced using various economic models. The methods and economic models are provided to all state Labor Market Information programs to insure consistent methodology and outcomes across the nation. Using these methods, analysts review preliminary industry employment projection numbers and make adjustments based on local area and State economic developments that may occur during the projection period. For further information about the methodology for generating occupational employment projections data, visit the Industry Employment Projections Methodology page.

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BLS Statistical Programs

What types of data are collected and reported by the Current Economic Statistics (CES) Program?
The Current Employment Statistics (CES) program estimates nonagricultural employment by industry based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). These estimates represent jobs by place of work and are generated from a monthly survey of businesses in California. For further information about the CES program, visit the BLS CES page.

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What types of data are collected and reported by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program?
The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program produces estimates of civilian labor force, total employment, unemployment, and unemployment rates by place of residence. Each month EDD Labor Market Information Division releases Monthly estimates. For further information about the LAUS Program, visit the BLS LAUS page.

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What types of data are collected and reported by the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Program?
The OES survey collects data on occupational employment and wages of employees in nonfarm establishments. It produces estimates of occupational employment and occupational wages. For further information about the OES Program, visit the OES FAQ page.

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What types of data are collected and reported by the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program?
The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program derives data from quarterly tax reports submitted to the State of California by employers subject to state Unemployment Insurance (UI) laws. These reports provide information on the number of people employed and the wages paid to the employees each quarter. The QCEW/ES-202 program obtains information on the location and industrial activity of each reported establishment, and assigns location and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. These data are then aggregated by industry and geographic area and published according to state and federal confidentiality guidelines. For further information about the QCEW Program, visit the QCEW FAQ page.

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What types of data are collected and reported by the Mass Layoff Statistics (MLS) Program?
As a result of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act, (commonly referred to as sequestration); the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), suspended the Mass Layoff Statistics (MLS) program. The January 2013 publication of MLS data for California will be the last of the series. For more information about this change, please visit the BLS 2013 Sequestration Information page.

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What is the Multiple Worksite Report (MWR)?
The Multiple Worksite Report (MWR), also known as the BLS 3020 form, was developed by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to gather employment data showing the distribution of the employment and wages of business establishments by industry and geographic area. This data will enable our agency to prepare accurate reports on the economic condition of business activities by geographic area and industry within California. To collect data for each worksite, the MWR form is mailed to multiple worksite employers so they may provide the address, monthly employment totals, and quarterly wages for each of their separate locations. For further information about the Multiple Worksite Report, visit the MWR FAQ page.

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Other

What is the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)?
The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. For further information about the NAICS, visit the NAICS FAQ page.

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What is the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system?
The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system, which is used by all federal statistical agencies for reporting occupational data, consists of 840 detailed occupations, grouped into 461 broad occupations, 97 minor groups, and 23 major groups. For further information about the SOC, visit the BLS SOC page.

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How can I find out more information about California's labor markets, labor market indicators, or economic concepts or theory related to California's economy?
Submit your questions online through Ask EDD. Select Labor Market Information Other (Question or Comment) options and fill in the form from there to submit your question(s). An analyst will review your questions and respond to you directly.

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