Current Population Survey (CPS) Data at the NBER
The CPS is the U.S. Government's monthly survey of unemployment and labor force participation. The BLS maintains a CPS Home Page with a great deal of information about the survey and access to downloads of recent data. The NBER maintains an extensive collection of historical CPS public use tapes for its research staff. All of the data is available for download.
Basic Monthly Data are the primary source of labor force statisitcs in the U.S. Topics include employment, earnings, and demographic data. CPS Supplements, when collected, are not a part of the Basic Monthly Data files. Households are in the survey eight times: four consecutive months, eight months off, and then a final four months. Available for every month from 1976 on. SAS, SPSS, & Stata data definition statement files are available.
Design and Methodology, Current Population Survey, Technical Paper 66 (issued October 2006) describes the sample, design, survey instrument, estimation procedures and more. CPS Interviewing Manual (revised April 2015) provides detailed instructions to the field staff about how to capture the CPS data while interviewing.
Changes in Metropolitan Areas, 1950-1994 lists each metropolitan area in the CPS, the counties that comprise the MAs, and the changes in the MA's county composition over time. 1990 Land Area for Metropolitan Areas (1998 Definition) lists the changes in the MAs (a handful have been added, or added to) since the publication of the chapter above.
The CPS was redesigned in 1994. Here is documentation about the redesign:
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