Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about employment, unemployment and other labor market information. Look through the list below to see if any of them answer your question. If you still have questions, call (785) 296-5000 or email us your question.

LMIS Programs & Other Information
Unemployment Data


What is Labor Market Information Services (LMIS)?
Labor Market Information Services (LMIS) activities involve the collecting, analyzing, reporting and publishing of data on economic activities to describe and predict the relationship between labor demand and supply. Specifically, it can include the number of people employed, the wages they are earning, their occupations, the location of their workplace in relation to where they live, the number of people available to work in a given area and the occupations that will be in demand in the future.

What is a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)?
An MSA is: 1) a county or group of contiguous counties that contains at least one city of 50,000 inhabitants or more, or 2) an urbanized area of at least 50,000 inhabitants and a total MSA population of at least 100,000 inhabitants. The contiguous counties are included in an MSA if, according to certain criteria, they are essentially metropolitan in character and are socially and economically integrated with the central city or cities.

What does seasonally adjusted mean?
Data is seasonally adjusted to remove the impact of regular events that occur at the same time every year such as the effect of cold weather on outdoor activities, the Christmas holiday or the summer influx of youth into the labor market. Seasonally adjusted data is available on the BLS website.

What does BLS stand for and what type of data is available?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is one branch of the United States Department of Labor. Monthly U.S. labor force data, the consumer price index and various other labor reports from the BLS information services section are available. Their data can also be accessed from the website http://stats.bls.gov.

Why is there a difference between the employed in the labor force and the nonfarm wage and salary employment figures?
The estimated number of employed in the labor force represent those individuals at least 16 years old by place of residence (census data) who are working or actively looking for work. The nonfarm employment figures represent an employer-based survey and reflect estimated jobs by place of work. These figures are more reliable when looking at the economic situation of the state or of an MSA because you can see what industries are growing and compare current to historical employment levels. For example, the data can show how many jobs have been added in mining or services for the last year compared to five years ago.  Thus more detailed analyses can be achieved with this data series.

What is covered employment?
Covered employment refers to those employers who fall under the coverage of the state and federal unemployment insurance programs and pay unemployment taxes on their workers. In Kansas, some of those employed by religious organizations, fully commissioned salespersons and elected and appointed officials are not covered by these laws.

What is NAICS?
NAICS (pronounced "nakes") is the new North American Industry Classification System. NAICS is an industry classification system that groups establishments into 1,170 industries based on their primary economic activity. NAICS replaces the old Standard Industrial Classifications (SIC). NAICS was developed jointly by the U.S., Canada and Mexico to provide comparability in statistics about business activity across North America. NAICS also recognizes that the service sector has grown more important and that new industries have emerged in the global economy.

What is the civilian labor force?
The civilian labor force is that portion of the population, age 16 or older, which is employed, or unemployed and actively seeking employment during the week of the 12th of each month. The civilian labor force is the total (or sum) of the employed plus the unemployed.

  • Employed - the members of the labor force who worked for pay or profit, or had a job from which they were temporarily absent because of illness, vacation, labor dispute or other reasons not reflecting a shortage of work, or who worked fifteen hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of the family.
  • Unemployed - the members of the labor force who did not work but were seeking work or were awaiting recall from layoffs or the beginning of a new job within 30 days.
  • Unemployment Rate - the number of unemployed persons expressed as a percentage of the labor force.

What is the Consumer Price Index (CPI)?
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services.

What is the Current Population Survey (CPS)?
The CPS is a monthly household survey conducted by the Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, providing a comprehensive body of information on the employment and unemployment experience of the Nation's population, classified by age, sex, race and a variety of other characteristics.

What is residence-based information?
Data is aggregated according to where individuals live. An individual who lives in Johnson County but works in Wyandotte County would be counted among employed individuals for Johnson County. Similarly, if that same individual were laid off at a future date, the individual would then be counted among the unemployed individuals for Johnson County.

What is establishment-based (or at-place employment) information?
Data is aggregated according to information reported by surveyed employers for each physical location. The employment figures include individuals working at a particular location during the week of the 12th of each month. No distinction is made between full-time or part-time work.

LMIS Programs and Other Information

How many businesses are there in Kansas? How many people do they employ?
The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program compiles statistics on employing units and employment from the Quarterly Wage Reports provided by Kansas employers that include the number of people working for them and the wages they received for that employment. This information is available on our website at the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) page.

How would covered employment statistics be useful to an employer or to an economic development analyst?
The annual and quarterly Employment and Wages publications contain major industry employment, total quarterly wages paid, average weekly wage by major industry group and the number of units (employers) by county, MSA and statewide levels. This data provides a stable economic indicator of growth or decline at the county level. For example, one can look at the increase of employers and see what industries are adding firms or workers, as well as whether or not wages are increasing and if they are keeping up with employment gains.

I didn't receive the Multiple Worksite Report. What should I do?
Please call the Kansas Department of Labor, Labor Market Information Office, at (785) 296-5000. For information on the Multiple Worksite Report (BLS3020), please visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Why do I need to complete the Industry Verification Survey?
The accurate assignment of industrial and geographic codes from the data you supply on this form will ensure the quality of the employment data summaries that we prepare. These summaries can be used in economic development planning, wage analyses and economic research. They are used to project emerging industries and occupations, information that is of great interest to workers, employers, guidance counselors in local schools, employment and job training organizations and others. The Kansas Department of Labor also uses the information you provide for program planning and statistical studies, and for informing public policy on investments in industry and workforce development. Your cooperation is critical to the decisions made in all of these areas.

Is data compiled to help employers with affirmative action plans?
The Labor Market Information Unit prepares data to give employers, researchers and students the latest annual average population and labor force broken out by race and gender. The data is compiled at the state, MSA and individual county levels.

Does LMIS collect plant-closing and layoff data?
The Mass Layoff Statistics program identifies establishments that have experienced a permanent mass layoff or plant closing. The federal definition of a mass layoff is 50 or more employees who are separated from a specific employer, regardless of duration away from work. The federal definition of an extended mass layoff is 50 or more employees who are separated from a specific employer, lasting 30 days or longer. Data can be accessed at: http://stats.bls.gov/mls/home.htm.

What section in LMIS collects and disseminates statistics about work-related injuries and illnesses, and is data available on work place fatalities?
The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) unit surveys Kansas employers to gather statewide data on the incidence rate of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses. Reports are also generated on the number of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work by selected worker characteristics and industry division. The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program surveys employers to collect statistics on fatal occupational injuries. Available reports include data by event or exposure, characteristics (examples: age, race, self-employed), occupation and industry. Results of these surveys are available on the KLIC website.

What occupations are projected to increase the most in Kansas?
Answers to questions such as the one above can be found in the Kansas Occupational Outlook. The projections are for each of the seven Kansas regions and statewide. This information is an important tool for career decisions, grant applications and school counselors.

Do small companies need to complete this survey?
Yes, it is important to include both large and small businesses. Three-fourths of the companies in Kansas employ fewer than ten people, so small companies play a major role in the state's economy.

Should part-time employees be included in the survey?
Yes, but their wages should be reported under their corresponding hourly rate.

What is done with the information collected from the survey?
Data from the survey is compiled and used to identify emerging and declining occupations and their corresponding average wages. Published annually, survey results are available for Kansas as well as by Metropolitan Statistical Area. The information is also available on the website under Kansas Wage Survey.

I employ only a few workers. Is the data I report important?
Yes, the sample includes small and large employers, all equally important in helping to accurately estimate employment, hours and wage data for their respective industries.

Do I report payroll and hours data for the whole month?
No, employment, wage and hours data is only needed for the payroll period that includes the 12th day of the month. This can be a weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly or monthly period, depending on how your business prepares its payroll.

How is the data I report used?
The information you and other employers provide is used to develop estimates of employment data for Kansas's industries, as well as hours and earnings data for manufacturing industries. These estimates are regarded as important economic indicators and are used by economists and planners.

Are people on strike defined as employed or unemployed? What about people who are sick or those who were laid off - are they counted as employed or unemployed?
Persons on strike, those away from their jobs due to illness and persons absent from work for such reasons as vacation or bad weather are all regarded as employed - they are "with a job but not at work." However, persons who have been laid off from their work and those waiting to start their new jobs within 30 days are classified as unemployed. Thus, persons laid off as the result of a strike (but not on strike themselves) would also be included in the jobless count.

How can I retrieve information from the Census Bureau?
How can I retrieve information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Who do I contact for questions related to alien labor certification?
The process for obtaining approval for using foreign workers is specified in the Alien Labor Certification program. This program is administered through the Kansas Department of Commerce and they can be contacted at (785) 291-3470.

Where do I find information on child labor?
Information on child labor laws can be found on the KDOL website.

How do I find out about job openings?
This information can be obtained from a variety of websites. The following are a few of the sites for Kansas:

Where can I find a list of the Kansas Workforce Center locations?
The Kansas Workforce Centers are under the Kansas Department of Commerce. The locations can be found on their website.

Where can I find specific data on Kansas?
The Kansas Statistical Abstract is published by Kansas University's Policy Research Institute and provides valuable information for researchers. Statistics can be found on agriculture, income, transportation, population and vital statistics, to name a few.

Where can I obtain the required postings for Kansas employers?
Workplace posters can be obtained by calling the Kansas Department of Labor, Employment Standards Division at (785) 296-5000. They are also available to download here.

Where can you find LMI data for states other than Kansas?
State data can be found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website. Data can also be found at the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) website. Click on the state and that state's website will appear.

What is the state minimum wage?
This information is found on the KDOL website at www.dol.ks.gov/Laws/FAQwages.aspx.

What is the federal minimum wage?
You can find this information at http://www.dol.gov/whd/

Where can I find minimum wage information for other states?
The latest minimum wage information can be found at http://www.dol.gov/whd/

Where can I find information on overtime requirements and pay?
This data is available on the KDOL website at www.dol.ks.gov/Laws/FAQlaws.aspx.

Who do I contact about Workers Compensation?
Workers Compensation is a division of the Kansas Department of Labor. They can be contacted at (785) 296-4000.

Who uses Labor Market Information?

  • occupational wages
  • employment levels
  • availability of workers
  • local and national economic conditions
Job Seekers and Students:
  • jobs/occupations in demand
  • skills required for a job
  • education required for a job
  • training programs available
  • occupational wages
  • projections of growth or decline in an occupation
  • jobs/occupations in demand
  • jobs/occupations in decline
  • location of jobs
  • skills required for a job
  • occupational wages
  • training programs available
Economic Developers:
  • occupational wages by labor market area
  • number of available workers by labor market area
  • skills of available workers
  • types of training workers need
Policy Makers:
  • occupational and industry data for plan development and implementation
  • education and training needs
  • local economic data

Why can't the LMIS Department release certain information?
In the department's grant with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) there is a confidentiality agreement which prevents LMIS from publishing or releasing any data that would reveal the identity of any participant in a statistical program operated by BLS.

How do you decide which areas to publish?
The areas published are determined by the program. Certain programs can only be produced at the state and/or Metropolitan Statistical Area level due to the size of the program's survey.

Is there a measure of underemployment?
Because of the difficulty of developing an objective set of criteria which could be readily used in a monthly household survey, no official government statistics are available on the total number of persons who might be viewed as underemployed. Even if many or most could be identified, it would still be difficult to quantify the loss to the economy of such underemployment.

Unemployment Data

How is data collected to determine the unemployment rate?
The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly household survey of the U.S. population conducted for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the Bureau of Census, of 56,000 selected households across the United States. Respondents are interviewed to obtain information on the employment status of each household member age 16 and above, during the reference week of the 12th of each month. Each state is allocated a portion of the survey for their statewide and county estimates.

How can I find out how many initial unemployment insurance claims were filed?
The Unemployment Insurance Research Unit in LMIS collects and disseminates weekly claims data at the statewide level. This data is available monthly. Unemployment insurance claims data can also be found at the following web link http://www.dol.ks.gov/LMIS/lmr.aspx.

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?
This can be done online at the KDOL website at www.GetKansasBenefits.gov.