Labor Surplus Area

Fiscal Year 2020

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issues the Labor Surplus Area (LSA) list on a fiscal year basis. The list becomes effective each October 1, and remains in effect through the following September 30.

The LSA qualifying unemployment rate is 20% above the national (Puerto Rico included) annual average unemployment rate for the two-year reference period. The reference period used in preparing the current list is January 2017 through December 2018. The national average unemployment rate during this period is rounded to 4.34%. Twenty percent higher than the national unemployment rate during this period is rounded to 5.21%. Since 5.21% is below the "floor unemployment rate" of 6.00%, a civil jurisdiction must have a two-year unemployment rate of 6.00% in order to be classified a LSA.

There is an "Exceptional Circumstance Consideration Provision" that allows a civil jurisdiction to ask for inclusion in the LSA list after it is published. Events like Hurricane Dorian and other natural disasters and adverse economic changes, like a major plant closing, within a civil jurisdiction or metropolitan area allow states to ask for inclusion on the LSA list. A detailed explanation of the "Exceptional Circumstance Consideration Provision" is given in the "Related Link" section of this webpage, "Frequently Asked Questions" link, Item 5, "Can an area be added to the Labor Surplus List if that area's unemployment rate was below the qualifying unemployment rate for the referenced period?"

For areas meeting the "Exceptional Circumstance Consideration Provision" requirement, submit a request, signed by the head of the state's Workforce Agency and a list of the area(s) whose unemployment rate is expected to exceed 6.00%, to Samuel Wright at

The LSA list is an Excel file with a filter that allows the user to filter the list by state(s) and/or area type(s). In order to use the filter, the LSA Excel file has to be downloaded and saved to your computer. The following link gives instructions on how to use the filter feature of an Excel file.

Please direct all inquiries concerning the LSA list to Samuel Wright at or 202-693-2870.