What BLS Does
A leader in economic information
With the strongest commitment to accuracy, quality, and integrity, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) produces some of the Nation’s most sensitive and important information. The President, Congress, Federal policymakers, public institutions and private citizens use the economic information we provide. This information enables each of our stakeholders to make sound decisions in Government and business, or at home, the store, the bank, or just about anywhere. We recognize and accept our responsibility as stewards of the public trust and produce reports and economic indicators that are guided by the following principles:
“Working for the BLS means I’m working for one of the world’s premier statistical agencies. Because of that, I know that my work is important.”
—Anthony Garcia, Field Economist, Dallas, TX
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is committed to ensuring a prepared workforce. As an agency within DOL, the Bureau is the Nation's premier statistical agency in the broad field of labor economics and statistics. The world expects us to deliver and we do. On a timely basis, we provide key figures on unemployment; inflation; earnings levels; projections of occupational and industry growth; productivity trends; job accidents and illnesses; consumer household expenditures; and much more. The Nation depends on the work that we do to carry out the work that it does.
We recognize our more than 2,500 employees as our most valued asset and are committed to upholding the public trust that has been placed in us. Our credibility and the quality of our programs and services are entirely dependent on the professionalism, knowledge, and abilities of our employees.
Our work products
Most of our employees work in our headquarters in Washington, DC, but many work in regional offices throughout the United States. Depending on your particular program area, you could be directly involved with collecting, analyzing, or publishing data regarding: employment in a certain area; food prices; earnings of women compared with men; spending habits of a certain consumer group; or productivity changes in a particular industry.
You may have heard about BLS statistics on TV, or maybe you have seen our data in text books, or perhaps you have used our numbers while conducting research for a paper. To disseminate our data, we publish numerous articles, news releases, reports, and periodicals. We receive many website visits and email inquiries each day. In addition, we respond to numerous inquiries by telephone in our Washington and regional offices. The amount of economic information that you'll be exposed to firsthand is vast.
Finding your niche
Use the knowledge that you've gained in college and through your personal experience to jump start your career with BLS. We are involved in a variety of economic program areas, computer disciplines, and statistical and mathematical applications. The following descriptions briefly outline some of the work and outputs within the offices of BLS.
Office of Unemployment Statistics: This office produces, analyzes, and publishes closely-watched data on employment and unemployment, labor demand and turnover, work hours, earnings, employment by occupation and industry, mass layoffs, and time use. This office also publishes a career handbook every two years covering the employment profile and outlook for several hundred occupations.
Prices and Living Conditions: This office generates two of the most widely watched monthly inflation indicators: the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Producer Price Index (PPI). In addition, the staff analyzes U.S. import and export prices, and spending patterns and income sources of consumers.
Office of Compensation and Working Conditions: This office produces a variety of data on wages, benefits, and occupational safety and health. The staff prepares and analyzes occupational pay and employee benefits data such as health insurance, retirement plans, vacations, and holidays. The staff also produces data on nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses as well as fatal occupational injuries.
Productivity and Technology: This office prepares indexes of labor productivity, multifactor productivity, and related measures for broad economic sectors and for individual industries. In addition, the staff analyzes and compares productivity, unit labor costs, compensation, employment and unemployment, and consumer prices in foreign countries. This office also conducts training sessions in labor statistics for international participants.
Survey Methods Research: This office conducts research designed to improve BLS survey methodology. It is composed of the Mathematical Statistics Research Center (MSRC) and the Behavioral Sciences Research Center (BSRC). MSRC performs research to improve BLS survey methods and statistical methodology. BSRC conducts research on BLS surveys to reduce non-sampling error, improve the accuracy and response rates of BLS surveys, and further the development of survey methodology.
Publications and Special Studies: This office handles public relations, media contact, consumer education, marketing, and dissemination for all BLS program areas. It also develops information technology to support the Bureau’s outreach program. Staff members edit articles and use desktop publishing and other software, as well as other means, to lay out publications, create various visual communications (such as posters and displays) and prepare materials for the Bureau’s website.
Field Operations: This office trains and manages a force of field economists to conduct data collection operations for BLS programs throughout the Nation. In addition, staff members conduct quality assurance programs, provide technical direction to the States on surveys of employment and occupational safety and health, and perform public information and outreach activities.
Administration: This office handles the administrative activities of BLS. These activities include: financial management, management systems, human resources, employee development, procurement, and other administrative services.
Office of Technology and Survey Processing: This office manages the use of information technology to help meet the mission of the BLS in collecting, computing and disseminating statistical information of interest to the public in a secure and timely manner. It is composed of project managers, computer specialists, and program analysts responsible for building reliable, easy to operate, and flexible systems. Staff training is encouraged and supported to ensure BLS is able to adopt emerging standards and technologies beneficial to the changing needs of the organization.
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Last Modified Date: July 19, 2008