calculated unemployment rate is different from BLS report


Hi, I tried to construct unemployment rate from CPS. I calcualted the ratio between weighted sum of people who are unemployed (empstat > =20 & empstat < 30) over weighted sum of people who are in laborforce (labforce=2, or empstat>=10 & empstat <30 tried both) . It turns out that the unemployment rate I calcluated is different from the one reported by bureau of labor statistics. The difference is 0.5-1 point higher in most cases.

I am not sure how this happens.

Thanks a lot for your help in advance.

Best wishes,




While it is unlikely you will be able to exactly match the BLS unemployment rate, your estimates should be closer than you report. Try the following:

  1. Exclude any IPUMS-CPS respondents under the age of 16.
  2. Make sure you are comparing your results to the “Not Seasonally Adjusted” unemployment rate.

Hope this helps.