The 2009 President’s Budget for the Bureau of Labor Statistics

On February 4, 2008, President Bush submitted his 2009 Federal budget to Congress. The President’s Budget provides $592.8 million in funding to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the 2009 fiscal year that will begin on October 1, 2008. 

The 2009 budget request restores funding that the 2008 President’s Budget requested for the BLS, but which was not received, including funds for a critical updating of the Consumer Price Index. If the restoration of the 2008 funding reductions are not provided in 2009, permanent reductions to BLS products would have to be taken on top of the reductions to the American Time Use Survey and Locality Pay Surveys described below. The 2009 budget request also includes funds for a program increase for the Current Population Survey.

2009 Budget Highlights

The 2009 President’s Budget for the BLS includes:

  1. Restoring temporary reductions that occurred in 2008 ($19.2 million)
    2008 funding for the BLS was considerably below the requested amount. As a result, the BLS temporarily curtailed products, delayed infrastructure investments, and instituted significant staffing reductions. More specific information on the 2008 temporary reductions may be found at The 2009 President’s Budget restores these necessary funds, without which the BLS would have to eliminate or reduce core BLS programs and data products besides those already included in the 2009 budget request. 
  2. Modernizing the Consumer Price Index (CPI) ($10.4 million). The CPI is the Nation’s most widely used measure of inflation. This initiative, previously included in the 2008 President’s Budget, would substantially improve the accuracy of the CPI by continuously updating the housing and geographic area samples. This initiative also would enable the BLS to complete the continuous updating efforts in all major components of the CPI begun in 2002. Historically, updated samples were introduced about every ten years as part of the periodically funded CPI revisions. The current samples are based on information from the 1990 decennial census, now 18 years old. Continuous updating from this initiative would result in samples that better reflect the geographic distribution of the U.S. population and its demographic and economic characteristics. 
  3. Funding the rising costs of the Current Population Survey (CPS) ($8.7 million). This initiative would ensure the continued accuracy of the national unemployment rate, labor force participation rate, women's-to-men's earnings ratio, and many other key indicators obtained from the CPS. Gathering information from the sample of 60,000 households each month has become more costly largely because of more stringent efforts to protect the sensitive information provided by those households, a greater geographic dispersal of the survey sample, and costs associated with the public’s growing reluctance to provide information. If this funding is not received, twenty-five percent of the sample will have to be eliminated. 
  4. Eliminating the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) ($4.4 million). In order to partially offset the CPS cost increase mentioned above, the BLS will eliminate the ATUS. The ATUS provides nationally representative estimates of how Americans spend their time, including time working and time doing nonmarket activities, such as child care and volunteering. ATUS data enables researchers to develop broader assessments of national well-being and domestic production. 
  5. Reducing the Locality Pay Surveys (LPS) ($1.5 million). In order to partially fund inflationary cost increases for its other core programs, the BLS will reduce the LPS component of the National Compensation Survey (NCS), thereby reducing the level of detail in LPS publications and the number of future publications. The NCS sample reduction, approximately nine percent, will impact all three NCS program outputs: the Employment Cost Index, the Employee Benefits Survey, and the LPS.

    The 2009 President’s Budget for BLS may be viewed in full at


Last Modified Date: April 11, 2008