How to Use the SF Fed Data Explorer

SF Fed Data Explorer gives you the ability to compare labor market outcomes for different demographic groups based on Current Population Survey data from the Census Bureau.

Learn more about how to use the Data Explorer in our Tutorial videos. If you have more specific questions related to the Data Explorer, check out our Frequently Asked Questions and, when you are ready, launch the Data Explorer!


Quick Start Guide to Using the Data Explorer

Watch our Quick Start video to learn how to begin building charts using some of the preset features built into the Data Explorer (video, 2:52)

Build Your Own Chart Using the Data Explorer

Learn how to use the special customization options to build your own chart using the Data Explorer (video, 4:35)

How Is Inflation Affecting Our Paychecks?

In nominal dollar terms, median weekly earnings have grown since January 2021. But how have our real earnings, adjusted for CPI inflation, been keeping up? (video, 1:59)

How Has the Return to Work Differed by Age Group Since COVID-19?

After a dramatic drop in labor force participation for workers of all ages at the start of the pandemic, the labor force participation rate has since recovered. But how has the recovery differed by age group? (video, 2:23)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How are the start and end dates for recession shading determined?

Q: How do I decide which tab to use, between “Labor Market Status,” “Shifts in Labor Market Status (Flows),” and “Weekly Earnings”?

Q: What kind of charts can I make with the Data Explorer?

Q: How do I build my own time-series chart using the Data Explorer?

Q: How do I make my own pie chart using the Data Explorer?

Q: What does it mean for data to be “seasonally adjusted”?

Q: How can I find the source of the data used in the Data Explorer?

Q: How are moving averages calculated?

Q: What are Chart Codes, and how can I use them?

Q: What does the Index to Base Date option do?

Q: What is the difference between Industry and Occupation in the Demographic Options?

Q: How do I remove lines from my chart?

Q: What does the “Inflation Adjustment” option under the earnings tab do?

Q: How can I contact the creators of the Data Explorer if I have further questions?

Q: How can I cite charts generated by the Data Explorer?

Q: How do I download the chart I’ve created using the Data Explorer?

Q: How far back do the data go?

Q: How do you define location of birth in the data?

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the management of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco or of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

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For Educators

Our Starter Guide is available as a downloadable pdf. In addition to our Tutorial video series, users can find definitions for many labor market terms in the boxes below each Data Explorer chart.


For questions about the SF Fed Data Explorer, please contact us

For media requests, please contact our Media Team

The SF Fed Data Explorer was developed by the San Francisco Fed’s Economic Research Department staff. Learn more about our work and other research.

Suggested Citation

If you use the SF Fed Data Explorer in your own writings and publications, we ask that you cite this page:

SF Fed Data Explorer, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Retrieved Month DD, YYYY; based on most recent Current Population Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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