Real-Time Population Survey (RPS)*

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* The Real-Time Population Survey is conducted in collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. The results from the Real-Time Population Survey do not represent official forecasts or views of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, its President, the Federal Reserve System, or the Federal Open Market Committee.

Real-Time Labor Market Estimates During the 2020 Coronavirus Outbreak (June 18, 2021) pdf

Download aggregate time-series for employment, unemployment, labor force participation and hours per person data

Employment Rate, Age 18-64

We estimate the employment rate was 70.7% in the week of June 6-12

  • This is a 0.4 percentage point decrease relative to the previous RPS, which is statistically insignificant.

  • The RPS and CPS display a similar employment trajectory since May 2020. This is true both for the official CPS rate and after accounting for a potential misclassification discussed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Labor Force Participation Rate, Age 18-64

We estimate the labor force participation rate was 76.2% in the week of June 6-12

  • This is a 0.3 percentage point decrease relative to the previous RPS, which is statistically insignificant.

  • Since October 2020, labor force participation in the RPS has been somewhat higher than in the CPS, though both have been fairly flat.

Unemployment Rate, Age 18-64

We estimate the unemployment rate was 7.2% in the week of June 6-12

  • This is unchanged relative to the previous RPS.

  • Since June 2020, unemployment has been somewhat higher in the RPS than the CPS.

Hours Worked per Person, Age 18-64

We estimate that, on average, individuals age 18-64 worked 26.6 hours per week in the week of June 6-12.

  • This is an increase of 0.1 hours relative to the previous RPS, which is statistically insignificant.

Earnings Last Week, Age 18-64

We estimate that, among those who were employed just before the pandemic, 23.0% earned less in the week of June 6-12 than they did just before the pandemic.

  • Roughly half of those who have lost earnings since the pandemic are not currently working.

  • The remainder is accounted for by those who are still employed but who have received a pay cut.

  • Compared to mid-April 2020, earnings losses are less prevalent (37.4% in April vs. 23.0% currently), and earnings gains have increased (12.3% in April 2020 vs. 30.0% currently).

Expectations about Returning to Work

Will workers return to their old jobs?

  • To answer this question, we first separate currently employed individuals into those working for the same employer from just before the pandemic, and those working for a different employer. We then asked individuals who are not currently working, but who were employed just before the pandemic, whether they would be able to return to their old jobs if the economy and daycare/school facilities reopened soon and in a safe manner.

  • Among those in the RPS who were employed just before the pandemic, just under two thirds are still working for the same employer from before the pandemic; the remaining third are either working for a different employer or not employed.

  • Net increases in employment since the spring of 2020 have come primarily from a growing number of individuals working for a new employer, rather than returning to their pre-pandemic employer.