Frequently Asked Questions

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What is LAUS?

The LAUS (Local Area Unemployment Statistics) program produces monthly and annual employment, unemployment, and labor force data for census regions and divisions, states, counties, metropolitan areas, and many cities, by place of residence. The LAUS program provides labor force data (employment and unemployment rates) for each state and sub-state area (metropolitan areas, counties, and cities with populations larger than 25,000). LAUS data are used for planning and budgetary purposes, determining employment and training program needs, allocating federal funds under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and identifying labor surplus areas, which receive preference in the awarding of federal procurement contracts.

What is CES?

The Current Employment Statistics (CES) program provides monthly estimates of all nonagricultural employees, hourly earnings, average weekly earnings and average weekly hours for production workers and select service producing, non-supervisory employees for the State, Las Vegas-Paradise MSA, Reno-Sparks MSA and Carson City MSA.

The CES survey of payroll records covers over 300,000 businesses nationally. The program is a federal/state partnership.  After verifying and computing current monthly employment, hours, and earnings estimates by industry, the Research and Analysis Bureau transmits the data to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, where it is combined with data from other states to determine national economic trends.

What is the CPI?

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change in the prices paid by urban consumers for a fixed basket of goods and services. Through the Consumer Expenditure Survey, the U.S. Department of Labor surveys consumers to find out what consumers buy and what share of consumer incomes are spent on each item. This survey is used to create a basket of goods purchased by the average consumer. The price of the basket of goods becomes the base period cost. The U.S. Department of Labor then surveys stores to determine the price and quantity of goods sold to consumers. The monthly CPI indicates the increase in the price of the basket of goods since the base period. The price is indexed to make it easier to understand by setting the price in the base period equal to 100. Any price increases are represented as a percentage increase since the base period. A 3% price increase since the base period would result in an index of 103.

What is a seasonal adjustment?

Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that attempts to measure and remove the influences of predictable seasonal patterns to reveal how employment and unemployment change from month to month. Over the course of a year, the size of the labor force, the levels of employment and unemployment, and other measures of labor market activity undergo fluctuations due to seasonal events including changes in weather, harvests, major holidays, and school schedules. Because these seasonal events follow a more or less regular pattern each year, their influence on statistical trends can be eliminated by seasonally adjusting the statistics from month to month. These seasonal adjustments make it easier to observe the cyclical, underlying trend, and other nonseasonal movements in the series. As a general rule, 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.

What is OES?

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey is conducted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The Research and Analysis Bureau of the Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR) conducts the semi-annual OES survey for Nevada.  The collected information includes occupation and wage data for the State as a whole, the State’s three metropolitan statistical areas (Las Vegas-Paradise, Reno-Sparks and Carson City), a state-defined region (West Central Counties) and the Balance of State (BOS) area.  In addition to the area information, data is also available by industry.

In Nevada, approximately 1,650 establishments are surveyed on a semi-annual basis, giving the State a total sample of about 3,300 establishments annually.  The data provided here is only possible due to the cooperation of thousands of Nevada businesses who responded to the OES Wage data request. The level of data detail that the OES program can provide is directly related to the degree of participation received from the business community.  Wage data are published for specific areas and/or industries only if there are enough responses to ensure both the reliability of the data and the confidentiality of the respondents.

What is QCEW?

In the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program, the Research and Analysis Bureau collects and compiles employment and wage data for workers covered by Nevada unemployment insurance (UI) laws, and federal civilian workers covered by Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees. The QCEW staff arranges the data by type of industry according to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). They assign each employing unit a NAICS code and location code. After screening the quarterly data, they transmit it to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS combines all of the states’ data for analysis of national economic trends and performance.

QCEW data are used by the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce as a base for estimating a major portion of the total wage and salary component for national personal income and Gross Domestic Product. State agencies use the QCEW data to benchmark the Current Employment Statistics estimates. The QCEW program uses the UI administrative files of employers’ quarterly reports to develop a complete list of employment by geographic location, which is important at both state and national levels for sampling firms, for research studies, and for the development of LMI programs at substate levels.

How often is Nevada's Unemployment Rate published?

Nevada labor statistics data are published monthly at the same time as all other states. The data are published for the prior month, so that July's estimates are released in August. Generally, the unemployment rate is released on a Friday during the third week of the month, although the schedule changes in some months due to the national release schedule. February's release, which includes labor statistics for the month of January, is delayed until March. In July, September, and November, the data are released on a Tuesday. The full release schedule can be found on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website at

What is the difference between statistics published by Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitiation, Research and Analysis Bureau and that published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics?

There is no difference between the statistics.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) contracts with the Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR)  to collect and produce labor market statistics for our state.  The Research and Analysis Bureau is the part of DETR that collects, produces, and disseminates the labor market information.  The BLS provides the models and methodology that are used to generate the numbers, and DETR must use the standard methodology.  At times, there may be some disparity between the numbers published on the Nevada DETR website and those published by BLS; this disparity is often because DETR updates the data and website more frequently.

What are Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA's)?

Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are official urban regions designated by the federal government and used by statistical agencies.  A metropolitan area has an urban core with a population of at least 50,000 people, while a micropolitan area has a population between 10,000 and 50,000 people.  MSAs refer to the core urban area, plus the counties containing the core urban area and any adjacent counties that have a high level of social and economic integration with the urban core.  In Nevada, there are currently three metropolitan areas: Las Vegas-Paradise, Reno-Sparks, and Carson City.  There are four micropolitan areas: Humboldt County (Winnemucca), Elko, Gardnerville, and Pahrump.  Only the Reno-Sparks MSA includes more than one county in the official MSA geography.  These areas are updated periodically, and may be revised with changes in Nevada’s population.