EMPSTAT for last year



I understand that the IPUMS CPS variables EMPSTAT and LABFORCE refer to the past week. I have looked through the list of variables online and have not seen any that are for ‘last year’.

Does IPUMS CPS construct similar variables referencing the past calendar year? If not, is there a reason for not creating these variables?



IPUMS-CPS provides the information collected in the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. The CPS is designed to measure unemployment at a given point in time, which is presumably why they chose a reference period of ‘last week’.

While not perfect, you could use the EMPSTAT and DURUNEMP variables to infer information about the past year. If someone is currently employed, then by definition, they were employed at some point in the past year. Unfortunately, it is not possible to determine how long respondents have been employed. If someone is currently unemployed, you can use the DURUNEMP variable to determine how long they have been continuously unemployed. Additionally, the March ASEC samples include variables that record the total number of weeks worked and the total number of weeks unemployed in the past year.

Hope this helps.



Thank you Tim. I should have specified that I was referring to March ASEC data. For example, IPUMS CPS has variables such as Class of Worker for both last week and last year, and Weekly Hours Worked for last week and (usual) last year. The variables for ‘last year’ use ASEC data. So I was wondering if IPUMS had created a variable for employment status last year from the ASEC data, but from what you say, it sounds like not.