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Checked public employment agency for work

Codes and Frequencies

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FWK_PUBAG reports whether the respondent contacted a public employment agency to find work.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) only classifies persons as "unemployed" if they did not hold a job during the preceding week and had actively sought work through specific "active" methods (such as answering want ads) during the preceding month. The open-ended question, "What has [this person] been doing in the last four weeks to find work?" is designed to determine whether individuals who said that they were looking for work had recently taken action to find a job and thus officially qualified as unemployed. FWK_PUBAG indicates whether one specific method (contacting a public employment agency) has recently been used by non-employed persons who identified themselves as looking for work.

The various methods of seeking employment recorded by the CPS are not mutually exclusive; individuals who received a code of 1 (method used) in FWK_PUBAG could report using any or all of the other search methods as well. Other active job search methods include: checking with an employer (see FWK_EMPLR), contacting a private employment agency (see FWK_PVTAG), contacting friends or relatives (see FWK_RELATE), contacting school or university employment centers (see FWK_SCHOOL), sending out resumes or filling out job applications (see FWK_RESUME), checking union or professional registers (see FWK_UNION), placing or answering want ads (see FWK_ADS), or some other "active" job search method (see FWK_OTHERA). Passive job search methods include: looking at job ads (see FWK_READADS), attending a job training program or course (see FWK_JOBPRGM), or some other "passive" job search method (see FWK_OTHERP). Individuals who report doing nothing to find work receive a code of 1 for FWK_NOTHING.

FWK_PUBAG was collected at the time of the ATUS interview, 2-5 months after the final CPS interview. Information on other job search methods was also collected during the final CPS interview. See FWK_EMPLR_CPS8, FWK_PUBAG_CPS8, FWK_PVTAG_CPS8, FWK_RELATE_CPS8, FWK_SCHOOL_CPS8, FWK_RESUME_CPS8,FWK_UNION_CPS8, FWK_ADS_CPS8, FWK_OTHERA_CPS8, FWK_READADS_CPS8, FWK_JOBPRGM_CPS8, FWK_OTHERP_CPS8, and FWK_NOTHING_CPS8.


This variable is comparable across years from 2003 onward.


  • ATUS respondents who were not employed but were looking for work.


  • 2003-2018


This variable has no flags.