In the United States, the unemployment rate is an estimate of the number of unemployed residents seeking work. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics, an agency of the Labor Department, compiles it monthly.
Each month the bureau selects a nationwide cross section of the population and conducts interviews to determine the size of the U.S. workforce. The workforce is defined as the number of people with jobs and the number of people looking for jobs.
The unemployment rate is expressed as a percentage figure. The essential calculation involved dividing the total workforce into the number of people looking for jobs, followed by adjustments to reflect variable factors such as seasonal trends.