Hi! Is there a way to pull quarterly data out of the IPUMS-CPS ASEC?


I am trying to figure out if there is a way to pull quarterly income trends and unemployment rates out of the ASEC. Do the different whatchmacallums – rotation groups – report their income and employment status for different periods as they roll through through the ASEC frame? Or is there any subperiodization in ASEC Income and employment status variables?

I assume I could get quarterly employment status by linking with the monthlys, but I am actually interested in trying to figure out if there is any way to compare periodicity and lags of business-cycle frequency income movements with same-frequency employment movements based on micro data. All the analysis of this I have ever seen on this relies on the NIPAs for income, but I suspect that there is a story in the micro data – if it exists – that you can not pick up that way.

If I were prepared to use earnings data rather than income data – which would not be my first choice, but I might settle for it – am I correct in thinking that earnings data is not collected often enough in the monthlies to get quarterly estimates (especially assuming I want a long baseline)? Or again, is there some way to use the rotation groups to trick quarterly data out of the monthlies, even though earnings measurement is at a lower frequency?


The ASEC does not request sub-period income or employment information as part of their annual data collection questions. There are questions about duration of unemployment, employment, etc, but not about the dates of the duration.

You are correct that income/earnings information is really only collected for each individual a maximum of 3 times throughout the respondent’s 8 observations. You could use the earner study questions (weighting the data with EARNWT) to get quarterly earnings figures at the population level, but not within person.

I am sorry I wasn’t able to provide the data you are looking for. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to ask.