Labor Force Status

Labor Force Status

Created Variables

CV_ESR. Provides the respondent's employment status in the week before the survey, using CPS information. Available for rounds 1, 4, and 10. (Also, in the Event History array, EMP_STATUS presents the employment status of a respondent in a particular week. See Employers & Jobs for more information for event history variables.)

CV_ESR_COLLAPSED. Using CPS information, collapses employment status into four categories: employed, unemployed, not in the labor force, and in the active Armed Forces. Available for rounds 1, 4, and 10.

CV_MAINJOB_FLG. Lists the loop number of the current or most recent employer as of the interview date. The loop number listed corresponds to the position of the job on the roster, in the created variables, and in the questionnaire data. For example, if CV_MAINJOB_FLG=2, the current or most recent job in that survey round is in the second position on the roster. Created for all rounds.


Borrowing questions from the Current Population Survey (CPS), rounds 1, 4, and 10 of the NLSY97 asked respondents age 15 and older about their labor force status in the week before the interview (note that all respondents had reached age 15 by round 4). These respondents provided information on the characteristics of their current job (e.g., usual number of hours, type of business). Any respondent who did not report working was questioned on job search activities in the previous month. For those who reported looking for work, data on the type of search activity were also collected. Through these questions, the employment status (e.g., working, looking for work, unable to work) of the respondent can be defined according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) definition. BLS uses a similar set of CPS questions to determine the monthly labor force participation and unemployment rates for the nation.

Comparison to Other NLS Surveys: Current labor force status was determined for all respondents in the NLSY79 for 1979-1998 and 2006 and the four Original Cohorts for each survey year. From 1994 through 1998, labor force status was also determined for Children of the NLSY79 age 15 and older. However, the current labor force status questions were changed for the NLSY79 in 1994 and for the women's cohorts in 1995 to reflect the redesign of the CPS. Users should employ caution when comparing labor force status from surveys before these years to the NLSY97. For more information, consult the appropriate cohort's User's Guide.

Survey Instruments: These questions are found in the CPS section (question names begin with YCPS) of the rounds 1, 4, and 10 of the NLSY97 Youth Questionnaire.

Related User's Guide Sections Job Search
Main Area of Interest Employment: Labor Force Status
Supplemental Areas of Interest Employment: Job Search
Employment: Jobs & Employers