I am looking to use the employment status variable (EMPSTAT) for an analysis going back in time that uses the CPS monthly survey. On the variable page under the availability tab it says this variable is available going back to 1968, however, when I go to select the sample, there is no data going back to 1968. The oldest data available for the monthly survey is 1976. When I read the documentation for the Basic monthly survey, it says the labor force items are asked from 1976 forward. Is the empstat variable available going back to 1968? And if so, how do I gain access to it?
IPUMS CPS only offers basic monthly data going back to 1976. All samples prior to 1976 are ASEC samples, which are fielded annually in March (there are some exceptions to the timing of data collection in a small subsample of ASEC respondents). If you would like to measure EMPSTAT prior to 1976, it will only be on an annual basis. The availability tab differentiates between the specific samples available each year (i.e., months and ASEC); in the EMPSTAT table you can see that this variable is only available in the ASEC prior to 1976.