Accessing the Data
1.Start at the FRED website To begin looking at employment data, click on the categories tab.
2.Under the Population, Employment & Labor Markets category, choose the Current Population Survey (Household Survey) link. The number in parentheses after each category listed indicates how many series are available in that category.
3.Here you will see a list of possible data series. Data are sorted initially by popularity. They can also be sorted several other ways—by start or end date, units, seasonal adjustment, and update date. Select Unemployment Rate from the list of categories, and then choose Civilian Unemployment Rate, usually the first (the most popular) series. To bring up the series, click on the title.
4.The graph shows the entire history of the series and allows options to view or download the data. Now, choose Download in the upper right corner of the page to view all of the data in an Excel file.
5.Look at the data and then answer the following question in your write-up: What is the highest unemployment rate recorded since 1948 and when did it occur?
Looking at the Change in Employment:
1.Next, go back to the Population, Employment & Labor Markets main category, and choose the Establishment Survey Data.
2.Within that category, choose the Total Nonfarm category
3.Within the Total Nonfarm category, choose All Employees: Total Nonfarm Payrolls, seasonally adjusted. This series represents the number of people reported as employed by companies (so, if a person has two jobs, they are counted as two employed persons).
4.This will be the first graph you will edit for your write-up. To make changes to the graph, select the Edit Graph button in the upper-right corner of the page.
5.A window should appear that will allow you to Edit Line 1 (All Employees: Total Nonfarm Payrolls). This window will allow you to make several changes to the display. Two items will be changed: the units and the date range.
6.The data are in thousands (notice the label on the y-axis). To show the data as a change from the previous month, click on the pull-down next to Units, then choose Change, Thousands of Persons. You can now close the edit window for this graph.
7.Next, change the data range from the default (entire range) to the last 10 years. Above the graph lists the date range for the data. Click the link for 10Y link to show only the last ten years of data. The graph will automatically update as you change variables.
8.Save this graph by clicking on the Download tab. Include it in your write-up as part of the appendix.
Putting it Together
1.Go back to the category of Establishment Survey Data. You will now compare the number of jobs from several different areas of the economy (for this portion of the project, use construction and retail). This requires locating one series and then adding others to the graph. To do this, first choose Construction as a category.
2.Choose the All Employees: Construction, seasonally adjusted, series in the category (again, sorted by popularity).
3.To add another series for comparison, choose the Edit Graph tab link above the graph. Select Add Line tab to bring up a search bar to add more data to the graph your graph. To add a line showing the number of employees in the retail trade industry, begin typing Employees Retail Trade. FRED will suggest likely data series as you type. Choose All Employees: Retail Trade. Make sure you select the seasonally adjusted data series.
4.You now have a graph with the number of construction employees in blue and the number of retail trade employees in red. Consider adding other industries to the graph. You may want to add All Employees: Financial Activities or All Employees: Professional and Business Services.