Visualization: Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population

An interactive visualization of the civilian labor force, employment, and unemployment, for each state.

Source of data is Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the United States Department of Labor. The title of the data series is States and selected areas: Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population, January 1976 to date, seasonally adjusted (TXT). This may be found on the BLS page State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly), specifically the file

BLS offers these definitions of the data elements in this visualization: 1

  • Civilian labor force. Included are all persons in the civilian noninstitutional population ages 16 and older classified as either employed or unemployed. (See the definitions below.)
  • Employed persons. These are all persons who, during the reference week (the week including the 12th day of the month), (a) did any work as paid employees, worked in their own business or profession or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of their family, or (b) were not working but who had jobs from which they were temporarily absent because of vacation, illness, bad weather, childcare problems, maternity or paternity leave, labor-management dispute, job training, or other family or personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs. Each employed person is counted only once, even if he or she holds more than one job.
  • Unemployed persons. Included are all persons who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work, except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find employment some time during the 4 week-period ending with the reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed.
  • Unemployment rate. The unemployed percent of the civilian labor force [i.e., 100 times (unemployed/civilian labor force)].

There are four views of the data, accessible through the tabs along the top. You may select a time frame and any combination of states. By clicking on the color legend, you can emphasize the lines for one or more states. (Ctrl+click to add more than one line.)

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Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population, example. Click for larger.
Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population, example showing Kansas highlighted. Click for larger.


  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Local Area Unemployment Statistics, Frequently Asked Questions. Available at