Error in data description page of empstat?

I think I might have found another error at IPUMS-CPS.

According to data description page (screenshot:, the variable “empstat” is either 21 or 22 for years like 76,77,78…

“An ‘X’ indicates the category is available for that sample”

However, when I actually look at the data, they are 20.

So, if I do

keep if empstat==21 | empstat==22

then only data from 1989 are left.

Could you please if this is an error? If it’s not an error, please tell me what I am thinking wrong.

I do not believe what you are seeing is an error. In 1984 and from 1989 - 1993, EMPSTAT can take on a value of 20 ("“unemployed”). In those years, as well as all other years, EMPSTAT can take on a value of 21 or 22, in which a separate CPS variable specifying whether an unemployed person had worked before or was looking for a first job was used to distinguish between “experienced” and “inexperienced” unemployed persons in IPUMS-CPS. From your most recent extract, it looks like your data are in line with this description.