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Composite Weight for replicating BLS labor force estimates


COMPWT is a 14-digit numeric variable with four implied decimals. That is, 12345678901234 should be interpreted as 1234567890.1234. The IPUMS command files automatically make the necessary adjustment, so no further adjustment is needed.


COMPWT is the weighted average of two estimates. The first estimate is the two-stage ratio estimate. The second estimate consists of the composite estimate for the preceding month to which has been added an estimate of the change from the preceding month, based on that part of the sample which is common to the two months.

COMPWT increases reliability of estimates of month-to-month change and should be used to replicate published BLS labor force estimates. WTFINL is the final person-level weight and is the appropriate weight for most analyses of basic monthly data. For further information on composite estimates, see BLS's weighting overview and the technical documentation.

When analyzing ASEC data, researchers should use the person weight ASECWT. For analyses including the variables EARNWEEK, HOURWAGE, PAIDHOUR, and UNION, researchers should use the EARNWT variable.


COMPWT is comparable over time.

After the original release of the 2000-2002 CPS public use files, the Census Bureau released a set of updated weights for these samples that incorporate updated population counts from the 2000 Census. These revised weights are made available as part of COMPWT for these years except for the April and June files from 2001. Due to the inclusion of an oversample in these months, the revised weights yield improbable totals. If users wish to apply the revised weights to these months, they are available in UH_WGTBLS_B2.


  • Respondents age 16+.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1998 – 2023 X X - X X X X X X X X X X
2024 X X - X X - - - - - - - -


This variable has no flags.

Unharmonized Variables