CFDP 2243

The US Employment Situation Using the Yale Labor Survey


Publication Date: July 2020

Pages: 53


This study presents the design and results of a rapid-fire survey that collects labor market data for households in the United States. The Yale Labor Survey, or YLS, uses an online panel from YouGov to replicate the Current Population Survey (CPS), which is the source of the government’s monthly household statistics. Questions in the YLS concern current and retrospective employment, hours, and income. Because the YLS draws upon an existing pool of potential respondents, it can generate responses inexpensively and quickly (within 24 hours). Moreover, the YLS can develop new questions in real time to study unusual patterns of work and unemployment during the pandemic. Results from the YLS track those from the CPS over the period of April through June of 2020, with relatively accurate estimates of employment but greater difficulty capturing unemployment. The major issue statistical issue dealt with in this paper is the sample weighting required to overcome the bias in using an online panel.

Keywords: Employment, Unemployment, Survey, Weighting

JEL Classification Codes: J1, J11, C83

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