LMI Glossary of Terms
The following terms are commonly used in connection with employment and labor market information. To find the definition of a particular term from the list below, select the first letter of the term.
25th Percentile Wages
Twenty five percent of the workers in the occupation earn wages below the first quartile wage listed, and seventy five percent of the workers earn wages above the first quartile wage listed.
50th Percentile Wages
Fifty percent of the workers in the occupation earn wages below the median wage listed, and fifty percent of the workers earn wages above the median wage listed.
75th Percentile Wages
Seventy five percent of the workers in the occupation earn below the third quartile wage listed, and twenty five percent of the workers in the occupation earn above the third quartile wage listed.
America's Career Information Network (ACINet)
Provides national, state and local career information and labor market data using unique career tools, career reports, videos, a career resource library and other innovative web-based tools. (www.acinet.org/)
A structured approach for entering a skilled occupation in most of the major trade industries. Combines training on the job with related and supplemental instruction at school.
An annual revision process in which monthly labor force and payroll employment by industry estimates are updated.
BLS Training Levels
Occupational training and education classifications developed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to improve on prior classification systems that did not distinguish between occupations with comparable educational requirements.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Part of the U.S. Department of Labor. This Federal agency is the principal data-gathering agency of the Federal government in the field of economics. The BLS collects, processes, analyzes, and disseminates data relating to employment, unemployment, the labor force, productivity, prices, family expenditures, wages, industrial relations, and occupational safety and health. Well known data released by the BLS include: the Consumer Price Index, the Producer Price Index, the unemployment rate, and nonagricultural employment levels. (www.bls.gov/)
Bureau of the Census
See U.S. Census Bureau.
Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
The BEA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The BEA is part of the Department's Economics and Statistics Administration. The BEA produces and disseminates economic account statistics that provide government, businesses, households, and individuals with a comprehensive, up-to-date picture of economic activity. (www.bea.gov/)
California Career Resources Network (CalCRN)
Distributes career information, resources, and training materials to middle school and high school counselors, educators, and administrators, in order to ensure that middle schools and high schools have the necessary information available to provide a pupil with guidance and instruction on education and job requirements necessary for career development. (www.californiacareers.info/)
California Workforce Investment Board
Established by Executive Order in response to the mandate of the federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998, the Board assists the Governor in setting and guiding policy in the area of workforce development. (www.cwib.ca.gov/)
CalJOBSSM provides an automated, easy-to-use system for personal computers. The system serves employers who want to fill job openings and individuals seeking employment. (www.caljobs.ca.gov/)
Is a lifelong process of exploring, choosing, and implementing decisions about educational, work and life roles. It includes an individual's values about work, their beliefs about their own interests and abilities, their decisions about education, the ways they negotiate transitions into and out of work experiences and their unique interactions between work and other life roles.
A complete count of a specified population or some measurable characteristics in a given area (e.g. housing, industry, etc.).
Data derived from a census, typically the U.S. Census of population.
The method used to disaggregate labor market area (LMA) employment and unemployment statistics to sub-areas by assigning to the areas the same proportion of the monthly independent labor market area (LMA) estimate as was evidenced in the most recent census data.
Census-designated units that are small parts of metropolitan areas (MAs) and provide statistically comparable population and housing census tabulations. Tracts are designed to be relatively similar in population characteristics, economic status, and living conditions. The average tract has about 4,000 inhabitants. Census tract boundaries are recommended by local census tract committees and approved by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Age 16 years or older, not members of the Armed Services, and are not in institutions such as prisons, mental hospitals, or nursing homes.
All individuals who worked at least one hour for a wage or salary, or were self-employed, or were working at least 15 unpaid hours in a family business or on a family farm, during the week including the 12th of the month. Those who were on vacation, on other kinds of leave, or involved in a labor dispute, were also counted as employed.
Civilian Labor Force
The sum of civilian employment and civilian unemployment
Civilian Noninstitutional Population
Included are individuals 16 years of age and older residing in the 50 States and the District of Columbia who are not inmates of institutions (for example, penal and mental facilities, homes for the aged), and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces.
Those individuals who were not working but were able, available, and actively looking for work during the week including the 12th of the month. Individuals who were waiting to be recalled from a layoff, and individuals waiting to report to a new job within 30 days were also considered to be unemployed.
Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA)
Adjoining Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) having a combined population of one million or more. When combined into a CMSA, each component metropolitan area is referred to as a Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA).
Consumer Price Index (CPI)
A Bureau of Labor Statistics program which measures the average change in prices of a fixed set of goods and services purchased by households. It is the most commonly recognized measure of inflation. (www.bls.gov/cpi/home.htm)
Worker hired for a limited time or to work on a specific project lasting from a few days to many months.
A Cost-of-Living Index measures differences in the price of goods and services, and allows for substitutions to other items as prices change. A Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures a price change for a constant market basket of goods and services from one period to the next within the same city (or in the Nation). The CPI is not a true cost-of-living index and should not be used for place-to-place comparisons.
The largest territorial division for local government.
Covered Employment and Wages (ES-202) Program
This program produces employment and wage data for workers covered by State unemployment insurance laws and Federal workers covered by the Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees Program. (www.bls.gov/cew/cewover.htm)
Matching one coding system to another. This usually refers to the occupational coding systems.
Current Employment Statistics (CES)
Monthly survey of establishments, which is the basis of estimates of wage and salary employment. This survey is mandated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and conducted in all territories of the U.S. In California, the data is collected, analyzed and published by the Labor Market Information Division of the Employment Development Department. (www.bls.gov/ces/home.htm)
Current Population Survey (CPS)
Monthly household survey of the civilian noninstitutional population of the United States. The survey provides monthly statistics on employment, unemployment, and related subjects. The data are analyzed and published each month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In California, this data is gathered and published by the Labor Market Information Division of the Employment Development Department. (www.bls.census.gov/cps/cpsmain.htm)
Temporary downturn in the job market. The most common form of cyclical unemployment occurs when workers are temporarily laid off.
The need for new workers created by industry or occupational growth.
The characteristics of the population such as age, income, ethnicity, etc.
Department of Labor
Visit the U.S. Department of Labor.
Department of Finance (DOF)
The Department of Finance (DOF) has authority over all financial and business polices of the State. The Demographic Research Unit within DOF is designated as the single source of demographic data for State planning and budgeting. This includes, but is not limited to producing population estimates and projections. (www.dof.ca.gov/)
Department of Industrial Relations (DIR)
The Department of Industrial Relations was established to improve working conditions for California's wage earners, and to advance opportunities for profitable employment in California. (www.dir.ca.gov/)
Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT)
An obsolete occupational coding system that was established by the U.S. Department of Labor to classify occupations in a consistent manner. (www.oalj.dol.gov/libdot.htm)
People not in the labor force who want and are available for a job and who have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months (or since the end of their last job if they held one within the past 12 months), but who are not currently looking because they believe there are no jobs available or there are none for which they would qualify.
Individuals 20 years and over who lost or left jobs because their plant or company closed or moved, there was insufficient work for them to do, or their position or shift was abolished.
Manufactured items generally considered to have a normal life expectancy of more than three years (e.g., automobiles, furniture, household appliances).
Duration of Unemployment
The length of time in weeks (through the current reference week)that individuals classified as unemployed had been looking for work.
The entire array of activities, some conducted by government, and some by the private sector, often in partnership with government, which are intended to expand the economy of a designated area to increase the number of jobs available to the population of that area.
A set of data that serves as a tool for analyzing current economic conditions and future prospects. Usually classified according to their timing in relationship to the ups and downs of the business cycle, that is, whether they anticipate (lead), coincide with, or lag behind general business conditions.
Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL)
California established the Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL) in compliance with the Workforce Investment Act. The purpose of the ETPL is to provide customer-focused employment training for adults and dislocated workers. (etpl.edd.ca.gov/wiaetplind.htm)
Employment Development Department's Labor Market Information Division designates occupations as "emerging" if changes occurred due to technology, legislation, demographics, social concerns and/or the marketplace (e.g., biotechnology occupations).
Individuals, aged 16 years or older, who are working.
Employer Payroll Records
Data from employers submitted quarterly to the Tax Branch of the Employment Development Department. These records contain information on the number of workers, and the total wages paid.
Individuals who are working.
Employment and Training Administration (ETA)
A part of the U.S. Department of Labor. This agency oversees the State Unemployment Insurance Programs and job training and placement services provided by the State Employment Security Agencies. In California the Employment Development Department is the State Employment Security Agency. (www.doleta.gov/)
Employment Cost Index (ECI)
A measure of the change in the cost of labor, free from the influence of employment shifts among occupations and industries. In California, OES wage estimates are updated using the most current release of the ECI. More detailed information on the ECI is available from several sources. These include a chapter, "National Compensation Measures," (www.bls.gov/opub/hom/pdf/homch8.pdf) from the BLS Handbook of Methods, and several articles published in the Monthly Labor Review and Compensation and Working Conditions.
Jobs or occupations for which employers hire workers with little or no previous work experience or with relatively minimum training or education. Occupations that require more education or training may have specific entry-level classifications such as apprenticeship or internship.
The physical location of a certain economic activity--for example, a factory, mine, store, or office. A single establishment generally produces a single good or provides a single service.
Numerical data calculated from sample data, or from a model, and intended to provide information about a larger set of data.
To calculate or predict some future event or condition; usually as a result of study and analysis of available pertinent data.
Occurs when an individual voluntarily leaves one job and has not yet begun another job. The worker is voluntarily unemployed and is utilizing his/her right to change jobs.
An individual employed 35 or more hours per week.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
GIS is a computer system capable of assembling, storing, manipulating, and displaying geographically referenced information in the form of a map, i.e. data identified according to their locations.
High Demand Occupations
The top occupations in the state or the region for instance, occupations with the most openings, and/or occupations that have potential for highest growth.
High Skill Occupations
Occupations requiring long term on the job training (12 months) or more.
High Wage Occupations
Pay the median wage or above for the state or for a region.
People living in a single residence regardless of relationship.
A group of establishments that produce similar products or provide similar services. For example, all establishments that manufacture automobiles are in the same industry. A given industry, or even a particular establishment in that industry, might have employees in dozens of occupations. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is used to categorize industries.
A subset of industries in the regional economy connected by flows of goods and services stronger than those linking them to the rest of the economy. Individual firms in a cluster benefit from certain comparative advantages associated with geographical concentration such as access to a common pool of specialized labor, infrastructure, intellectual property, and lower transaction costs between firms.
Full-time and part-time workers (including employees on paid vacation or paid sick leave) who work or receive compensation from establishments for any part of the pay period including the 12th of the month. Those workers involved in labor-management disputes are excluded. This is a count of the number of jobs, and is available by industry.
The resources required for an activity. The underlying foundation or basic framework.
A structured program where an individual gains supervised practical experience in an occupation.
JobCentral - National Labor Exchange
The nation's online labor exchange. Businesses post job listings, create customized job orders, and search resumes. Job seekers post resumes and search for jobs that fit their career goals. (www.jobcentral.org/)
Unemployed people who involuntarily lost their last job or who had completed a temporary job.
A fully qualified worker in a specific trade.
Any controversy concerning terms or conditions of employment, or concerning the association or representation of people in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing, or seeking to arrange terms or conditions of employment, regardless of whether or not the disputants stand in the proximate relation of employer and employee.
This is a generic term that describes the collection of data that includes labor force (civilian or total), employment, unemployment, and the unemployment rate. In some of the tables or publications that come from Labor Market Information, the term "labor force" also means "civilian labor force".
Labor Market Area (LMA)
An economically integrated geographic area within which individuals can reside and find employment within a reasonable distance or can readily change employment without changing their place of residence.
Labor Market Information (LMI)
Information about the market -where labor skills are exchanged for wages. Information can be descriptive (qualitative) or statistical (quantitative). The key elements in the labor market are the workers (labor resources) and jobs (employment opportunities).
Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)
A Federal/State cooperative program which produces employment, labor force and unemployment estimates for States and local areas. (www.bls.gov/lau/)
Local Workforce Investment Area (LWIA)
LWIA's administer services as designated by the Governor. Factors that are considered in designating these LWIA's include geographic location, population, and commonality of labor market areas.
Long Term Unemployment
Individuals who have been unemployed for 15 or more consecutive weeks.
Mass Layoff Statistics (MLS) Program
This is a Federal-State cooperative effort to identify, describe, and track the effects of major jobs cutbacks using each State's unemployment insurance database. The program has reports on mass layoff actions that result in workers being separated from their jobs. (www.bls.gov/mls/)
The average value of a set of numbers.
The mid-point in a data set after the numbers are sorted. The median is the point where half of the numbers lie above and half lie below this value.
Metropolitan Area (MA)
A geographic area made up of a county containing a central city of 50,000 inhabitants or more, plus adjoining counties that are socially and economically integrated with the central city. There are three types of metropolitan areas: Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA); Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA); Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA).
Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
A MSA is a relatively freestanding metropolitan area (MA) typically surrounded by non-metropolitan counties.
The number in a distribution of numbers that appears most frequently.
Individuals entering the labor force for the first time.
Manufactured items that generally last three years or less. Food, beverages, clothing, shoes, and gasoline are common examples.
Individuals not residing in penal or mental institutions, sanitariums, and homes for the aged, infirm, and needy.
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
NAICS is the successor to the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) System. The United States, Mexico, and Canada will universally use this system of classifying business establishments. Due to differences in NAICS and SIC structures, industry data for 2001 are not comparable to the SIC-based data for earlier years. NAICS focuses on how products and services are created, as opposed to the SIC focus on what is produced. (www.bls.gov/bls/naics.htm)
Not in the Labor Force
All people in the civilian noninstitutional population who are neither employed nor counted as unemployed are "not in the labor force."
A set of activities or tasks that employees perform. Employees that perform the same tasks are in the same occupation, whether or not they are in the same industry.
Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Program
A Federal/State cooperative program produces employment and wage estimates for over 800 occupations. (www.bls.gov/oes/home.htm)
Specific information about a particular occupation (e.g., wages, skills required, benefits, entrance requirements, etc.)
Occupational Information Network (O*NET)
O*NET is a comprehensive database of worker attributes and job characteristics. (online.onetcenter.org/)
On-the-Job Training involves supervised, real-life practice in the current job usually at the worksite.
An expectation for the future.
An individual employed less than 35 hours per week.
Total wages paid by a business to its employees for work performed during the pay period (weekly, monthly, etc.)
Frequency with which worker's wages are calculated and paid; usually weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, or monthly.
Work paid for at a fixed rate (piece-rate) per piece of work done.
The total number of inhabitants occupying an area.
Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA)
If a metropolitan area (MA) has more than 1 million inhabitants it may be defined as a Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA). PMSAs consist of a large urbanized county or cluster of counties that demonstrates very strong internal economic and social links, but are also linked to other portions of the larger area.
A prediction or estimate of an actual value in a future time period. For employment it is based on a time series or for a situation it is based on a cross-section of data. Forecast, prediction and projection are typically used interchangeably. Projections of employment are based on historical employment and economic indicators input into mathematical models with national, state and local trends factored into the overall model.
The value of the boundary of the 25th, 50th, or 75th percentile of a frequency distribution divided into 4 parts, each containing a quarter of the population.
Comparing different data sources to establish accuracy.
Individuals who are re-entering the labor force after an absence.
Replacement openings occur as workers either switch occupations, retire, return to school, quit for health reasons or to assume household responsibilities. For occupations like cashiers, replacement openings will far surpass openings related to economic growth. While individuals already in the workforce will fill most replacement openings, some jobs will remain open when employees leave the workforce. Openings not filled by currently employed workers are net replacement openings. Usually separations and replacements are interchangeable terms. However, when employment declines in an occupation, replacement needs are less than separations because some workers leaving the occupation are not replaced. In these cases, separations are reduced by the decline in an occupation's employment.
Fixed compensation paid for labor or services. Most salaries are paid for a fixed periods of working hours.
A finite part of a statistical population whose properties are studied to gain information about the whole.
A process whereby normal seasonal changes are removed or discounted. In doing so, the underlying trends are easier to identify.
Seasonal factors are events that cause normal fluctuations in business activity within individual or combinations of industries. Seasonal factors include, but are not limited to, such events as: weather conditions, holidays, and school schedules.
A condition resulting from jobs being available for only a portion of the year. For example, migrant workers who follow the harvest of various crops, but have little chance of working when that crop is completed, are seasonally unemployed.
Seasonal changes have been removed or discounted.
Individuals who work for profit or fees in their own business, profession or trade, or who operate a farm.
To count oneself.
Individuals who have been jobless for fewer than five weeks.
Shortage of Workers
There are too few applicants with the required experience and abilities to fill openings within a reasonable amount of time.
Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)
SIC ia an obsolete industry classification system, which defined all establishments to a specific industry based on their primary output or product. (www.osha.gov/cgi-bin/sic/sicser5)
Each business employs workers with different types of skills to produce a good or provide a service. A staffing pattern summarizes this array of workers for an industry. The costs of labor and equipment in a local area will largely determine the mix of workers that a business will employ to remain competitive. Industry staffing patterns are often used to determine the ability of a local area to support economic development by being able to provide a skilled workforce.
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC)
A numerical coding system that classifies occupational data for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data. All workers are classified into one of over 820 occupations according to their occupational definition. To facilitate classification, occupations are combined to form 23 major groups, 96 minor groups, and 449 broad occupations. Each broad occupation includes detailed occupation(s) requiring similar skills, education, or experience. (www.bls.gov/soc/)
Static Labor Market
Unchanging labor market conditions resulting from the development of few openings coupled with a correspondingly low number of applicants.
This type of unemployment occurs when the basic nature of the economy changes over time; when employers no longer demand skills that unemployed workers possess. Structural unemployment is involuntary unemployment and typically requires retraining or education of displaced workers to bring their skills in line with demand.
In labor market information this term usually refers to the supply of workers in relationship to the demand for workers.
Surplus of Workers
More applicants ready and willing to work than there are job openings.
A study of all or a portion of the whole, conducted for purposes of making generalized statements about the whole.
The week including the 12th of the month.
Those workers who have no long-term attachment to an employer. They may work for several days, or several months, and often work for temporary help agencies.
A variable in which the values are successive observations over time. A key characteristic of a time series is that any 2 points in a time series can be compared.
Total Job Openings
The total of job openings produced by industry growth plus the job openings created when a worker changes occupations or leaves the labor force.
An individual hired for a job, which may or may not require previous experience or education. A trainee could start in an entry-level, apprenticeship level, or internship level position.
The persistent underlying movement that takes place over a period of time. It is the basic growth or decline that would occur if no variations in activity existed.
Separation of an employee from an establishment (voluntary, involuntary, or other).
The number of total separations during the month divided by the number of employees who worked during or received pay for the pay period that includes the 12th of the month (monthly turnover); the number of total separations for the year divided by average monthly employment for the year (annual turnover).
A condition which exists when the full potential of labor is not being utilized. Measures of under-employment are not readily available.
Individuals, aged 16 years or older, who are not working but are able to work, available for work, and seeking either full-time or part-time work.
Comprises all civilians 16 years and over who did not work during the survey week, who made specific efforts to find a job within the past four weeks, and who were available for work (except for temporary illness) during the survey week. Also included as unemployed are those who did not work at all, but were available for work, and (a) were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off for a specific time; or (b) had a new job to go to within thirty days.
The count of those who are drawing unemployment is only a small factor into calculating unemployment statistics. These statistics (labor force data) are mainly produced using the results of a monthly household survey called the Current Population Survey (CPS) which is conducted by the Bureau of the Census. Some of the questions asked of the household respondents are whether they are currently employed, and if not, are they able to work, available for work, and are they seeking full-time or part-time work. If the latter is true, they are counted as “unemployed” and are part of the labor force. If they are not working and not seeking work, they are not part of the labor force. Most high school and college students are not part of the labor force because they are not working or looking for work. Once they graduate and begin looking for work, they are counted as part of the labor force (as new entrants) and are factored into the unemployment rate calculations.
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program
A national program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor under the Social Security Act. Provides temporary weekly payments to workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. The payments are financed by contributions from employers on the wages of their covered workers. Eligibility for benefits requires that the claimant be able to work, be seeking work and be willing to accept a suitable job. (www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/Filing_a_Claim.htm)
The unemployment rate is derived by dividing the number of unemployed by the labor force. The result is expressed as a percentage.
U.S. Census Bureau
Part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. This agency conducts the censuses of population and housing every 10 years and of agriculture, business, governments, manufacturers, mineral industries, and transportation at 5-year intervals. The Census Bureau also conducts the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) in cooperation with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Data from this survey are the source of unemployment statistics. (www.census.gov/)
U.S. Department of Labor
Cabinet-level U.S. agency that enforces laws protecting workers, promotes labor-management cooperation, sponsors employment and training placement services, oversees the unemployment insurance system, and produces statistics on the labor force and living conditions. (www.dol.gov/)
Wage and Salary Employment
Full-time and part-time workers who receive wages, salaries, commissions, tips, payment in kind, or piece rates. The group includes employees in both the private and public sectors. This is a count of the number of jobs, and is available by industry.
A payment, usually of money, for labor or services performed.
All programs that prepare people for work, including educational segments and special programs, and job training and employment programs, whether operated by public, private or non-profit entities. This term is used interchangeably with workforce preparation.
Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
This 1998 Act provides the framework for a unique national workforce preparation and employment system designed to meet both the needs of the nation's businesses and the needs of the job seekers and those who want to further their careers. The most important aspect of the Act is its focus on meeting the needs of businesses for skilled workers and the training, education, and employment needs of individuals. Key components of the Act will enable customers to easily access information and services they need through the "One-Stop" system; empower adults to obtain the training they find most appropriate through Individual Training Accounts, and ensure that all State and local programs meet customer expectations. (www.doleta.gov/usworkforce/wia/act.cfm)
All job training and employment programs. This term is used interchangeably with "Workforce Development".
Working Age Population
All individuals 16 years or older in the United States. The lower limit of 16 years reflects the age at which most students can leave school voluntarily in most states. There is no upper age limit.