Labor force flows at the MSA level


#1

I am looking to document labor force flows at the MSA level, using CPS data. In particular, I would like to examine how flows from “not in labor force” to “employed” have changed over time. I extracted LABFORCE to obtain flow data and METAREA to obtain associated MSA-level information. My questions are as follows:

(1) I do not see “employed” as an option within LABFORCE; I only see “Yes, in the labor force.” Can I find “employed” elsewhere?

(2) My understanding is the METAREA identifiers track household geography. To track labor force flows, then, can I simply track an identifier’s status from year to year? Again, my end goal is to find MSA-level data on individuals (or households) moving from “not in labor force” to “employed.”

Thank you.


#2

I’ll address each question one at a time.

(1) Categories indicating “employment” can be found in the EMPSTAT variable.

(2) You are correct that METAREA identifies the metropolitan area where the household resides. However, if I understand your objective correctly, I think what you will want to do is make use of the longitudinal capabilities of the CPS at the monthly level. The CPS follows a sampling pattern of including a household for 4 months, excluding them for 8, and then including them again for 4 more months. This allows for analysis of labor market flows from employed to unemployed for the same households over time. A helpful document with additional details for performing this task can be found in this paper.