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Bureau of Labor Statistics

Bureau of Labor Statistics
Agency overview
Formed 1884
Jurisdiction Federal government of the United States
Headquarters Postal Square Building
Washington, D.C.
Employees 2,500[1]
Annual budget $618.2 million [2]
Agency executives Erica Groshen[3], Commissioner [4]
John M. (Jack) Galvin [5], Deputy Commissioner [4]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a unit of the United States Department of Labor. It is the principal fact-finding agency for the U.S. government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics and serves as a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System. The BLS is a governmental statistical agency that collects, processes, analyzes, and disseminates essential statistical data to the American public, the U.S. Congress, other Federal agencies, State and local governments, business, and labor representatives. The BLS also serves as a statistical resource to the Department of Labor, and conducts research into how much families need to earn to be able to enjoy a decent standard of living.[6]

The BLS data must satisfy a number of criteria, including relevance to current social and economic issues, timeliness in reflecting today’s rapidly changing economic conditions, accuracy and consistently high statistical quality, and impartiality in both subject matter and presentation. To avoid the appearance of partiality, the dates of major data releases are scheduled more than a year in advance, in coordination with the Office of Management and Budget.


  • History 1
  • Statistical reporting 2
    • Prices 2.1
    • Employment and unemployment 2.2
    • Compensation and working conditions 2.3
    • Productivity 2.4
  • Statistical regions 3
  • See also 4
  • Footnotes 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7


The Bureau of Labor was established in the Department of the Interior by the Bureau of Labor Act (23 Stat. 60), June 27, 1884, to collect information about employment and labor. It became an independent (sub-Cabinet) department by the Department of Labor Act (25 Stat. 182), June 13, 1888. It was incorporated, as the Bureau of Labor, into the Department of Commerce and Labor by the Department of Commerce Act (32 Stat. 827), February 14, 1903. Finally, it was transferred to the Department of Labor in 1913 where it resides today. The BLS is now headquartered in the Postal Square Building near the United States Capitol and Union Station. The BLS is headed by a commissioner who serves a four year term from the date he or she takes office. The current Commissioner of Labor Statistics is Erica Groshen, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 2, 2013 and sworn in as the 14th Commissioner of Labor Statistics on January 29, 2013.[7][8]

Statistical reporting

Surveys, Indices, and Statistics produced by the BLS fall into 4 main categories:


Employment and unemployment

Unemployment measurements by the BLS from 1950 - 2010

Compensation and working conditions


  • Productivity[18]

Statistical regions

Data produced by the BLS is often categorized into groups of states known as Census Regions. There are 4 Census Regions, which are further categorized by Census Division as follows:

Northeast Region

  • New England Division: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
  • Middle Atlantic Division: New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

South Region

  • South Atlantic Division: Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • East South Central Division: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
  • West South Central Division: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Midwest Region

  • East North Central Division: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
  • West North Central Division: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

West Region

  • Mountain Division: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.
  • Pacific Division: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington.

See also


  1. ^ "What BLS Does". Bureau of Labor Statistics. February 9, 2009. Retrieved May 10, 2011. 
  2. ^ "BLS 2013 Budget". Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  3. ^ "The 2013 President's Budget for the Bureau of Labor Statistics". Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  4. ^ a b "BLS Senior Management Officials". Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2009-06-19. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  5. ^ "John M. (Jack) Galvin, Deputy Commissioner". Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Presidential Nominations, 112th Congress (011 - 2012), PN1404-112, Library of Congress,
  8. ^ Senate Confirms Erica Groshen to Head Bureau of Labor Statistics, by Jeffrey Sparshott at Wall Street Journal]
  9. ^ "American Time Use Survey". Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
  10. ^ "Current Employment Statistics". Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
  11. ^ "Local Area Unemployment Statistics". Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
  12. ^ "Employment, Hours, and Earnings from the Current Employment Statistics survey (State & Metro Area) Home Page". 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  13. ^ "Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Home Page". Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  14. ^ "Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages". 2012-03-28. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  15. ^ "Business Employment Dynamics Home Page". 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  16. ^ "Mass Layoff Statistics Home Page". 2012-05-16. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  17. ^ "Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities". Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  18. ^ "Overview of BLS Productivity Statistics". Retrieved 2012-06-22. 

Further reading

  • Joseph P. Goldberg and William T. Moye, The First 100 Years of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bulletin No. 2235. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1985.

External links

  • Official website
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Federal Register
  • Publications of the BLS available on FRASER
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