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A note on spurious seasonal patterns and other distortions in the BLS local area unemployment statistics


  • Phillips, Keith R.

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas - San Antonio Branch)

  • Wang, Jianguo

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas)


This paper examines the potential sources behind statistically significant seasonal patterns in the state level seasonally adjusted Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). We find that these seasonal patterns are likely spurious and may be due to the pro-rata factors used in benchmarking the states to census regions and national totals. In addition we find that the Henderson 13 filter used by the BLS to smooth the seasonally adjusted state data often makes the data inconsistent with national labor market data. We conclude that the BLS should use seasonally adjusted data when estimating the pro-rata factors used to benchmark states to regional and national totals.

Suggested Citation

  • Phillips, Keith R. & Wang, Jianguo, 2014. "A note on spurious seasonal patterns and other distortions in the BLS local area unemployment statistics," Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, IOS Press, issue 3, pages 145-152.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:iosjes:0017

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    More about this item


    Local area unemployment statistics; data revisions; seasonal adjustment; C8;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values


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