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The U.S. labor department utilizes several basic concepts to define unemployment. Able workers with jobs are considered to be employed, whereas outof-work individuals who are available for work, and who have been actively seeking a job in the last four weeks are unemployed. Both groups constitute the U.S. labor force. The remaining members of the population are excluded from the labor force. Prisoners, residents of medical institutions and military members are not included in the unemployment survey.
In general, all workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own may be eligible for unemployment benefits. However, they must also meet additional program requirements under their state’s laws.