Labor Market Surveys in a Challenging Economy

The "ability to obtain gainful employment" decision isn't based solely on fluctuation in the job market.

Ability-to-Work Assessment

A Labor Market Survey (LMS) conducted during an Ability‑to‑Work Assessment (AWA) is positive if it shows enough job opportunities in the worker's relevant labor market to enable the injured worker (IW) to become employable.

Lack of current or projected job openings shouldn't be the reason to find an IW eligible for plan development. Inability to work must be due to the injury or disease, not fluctuation in the labor market.

Contact the unit Vocational Services Specialist (VSS) if you have any questions regarding whether a LMS reflects fluctuation due to economic downturn and if the IW can be found employable during AWA.


Transferable skills are well documented, the job is within the IW's physical restrictions, 6 labor market contacts have identified 74 positions, but no current or projected openings were reported.

In this example, the worker should be found employable because there is no evidence of any barriers to employment other than the fluctuations in the labor market.

Plan Development

A LMS conducted during Plan Development is positive if it shows enough jobs for the proposed goal exist to reasonably conclude the IW will be employable at plan completion.

Additional information may be presented in the summary but only as a supplement to the LMS. Additional information may include, but isn't limited to, published statistical data regarding occupations and projected job openings.


Plan goal is for an occupation documented (per WAC requirements) as existing in the IW's relevant labor market. The LMS found positions exist with numerous employers although many aren't currently hiring.

In this example, the LMS would be considered positive.

Additional information

Contact the unit VSS if you have any questions.

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