Bureau of Labor Statistics


Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bureau of Labor Statistics logo.svg
Agency overview
FormedJune 27, 1884; 137 years ago (1884-06-27)
JurisdictionFederal government of the United States
HeadquartersPostal Square Building
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Annual budget$609 million[2]
Agency executives

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 United States Department of Labor, and conducts research into how much families need to earn to be able to enjoy a decent standard of living.[4]

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, impartiality in both subject matter and presentation, and accessibility to all. 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.[5]


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 followed the hearings led by Henry W. Blair of the Committee of the Senate upon the relations between Labor and Capital.[6] Carroll D. Wright was the first U.S. Commissioner of 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.[7][8] The BLS is now headquartered in the Postal Square Building near the United States Capitol and Union Station.

Since 1915, the BLS has published a journal, the Monthly Labor Review, with articles about the data and methodologies of labor statistics.

The BLS is headed by a commissioner who serves a four-year term from the date he or she takes office. The most recent Commissioner of Labor Statistics is William W. Beach,[9] who was assumed office on March 28, 2019 [10][11] Dr. William Beach was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 13, 2019. William Beach's Senate Confirmation.

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, for a term that ended on January 27, 2017.[12][13] William Wiatrowski, Deputy Commissioner of the BLS, was serving as Acting Commissioner until the next commissioner, William Beach was sworn in.

Past Commissioners

  • Carroll D. Wright January 1885 – January 1905
  • Charles P. Neill February 1905 – May 1913
  • George Wallace William Hanger May 1913 – August 1913 (Acting)
  • Royal Meeker August 1913 – June 1920
  • Ethelbert Stewart June 1920 – June 1932
  • Charles E. Baldwin July 1932 – July 1933 (Acting)
  • Isador Lubin July 1933 – January 1946
  • A. Ford Hinrichs January 1946 – July 1946 (Acting)
  • Aryness Joy Wickens July 1946 – August 1946 June 1954 – July 1955 (Acting)
  • Ewan Clague August 1946 – September 1965
  • Arthur Ross October 1965 – July 1968
  • Ben Burdetsky July 1968 – March 1969 (Acting)
  • Geoffrey H. Moore March 1969 – January 1973
  • Ben Burdetsky January 1973 – July 1973 (Acting)
  • Julius Shiskin July 1973 – October 1978
  • Janet L. Norwood May 1979 – December 1991
  • William G. Barron Jr. December 1991 – October 1993 (Acting)
  • Katharine G. Abraham October 1993 – October 2001
  • Lois Orr October 2001 – July 2002 (Acting)
  • Kathleen Utgoff July 2002 – July 2006
  • Philip Rones July 2006 – January 2008 (Acting)
  • Keith Hall January 2008 - January 2012
  • John M. (Jack) Galvin January 2012 – January 2013 (Acting)
  • Erica Groshen January 28, 2013 – January 27, 2017
  • William J. Wiatrowski January 2017 – March 2019 (Acting)
  • William W. Beach March 13, 2019 – present

Statistical reporting

Statistics published by the BLS fall into four main categories:[14]


Employment and unemployment

Unemployment measurements by the BLS from 1950 to 2010

Compensation and working conditions


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. Archived from the original on May 8, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  2. ^ "BLS 2016 Operating Plan" (PDF). US Department of Labor. Archived from the original on 2017-03-01. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  3. ^ a b "Bureau of Labor Statistics: Senior Staff". Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2017-01-30. Archived from the original on 2017-02-23. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-06-11. Retrieved 2013-12-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Cohen, Patricia (2016-11-03). "How Economic Data Is Kept Politics-Free". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 2017-03-11. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  6. ^ GB McKinney, Henry W. Blair’s Campaign to Reform America: From the Civil War to the U.S (2012) 110-111
  7. ^ "Records of the Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]". National Archives. 2016-08-15. Archived from the original on 2017-02-24. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  8. ^ "Overview : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics". www.bls.gov. Archived from the original on 2017-02-23. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  9. ^ "William W. Beach, Commissioner". U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. April 16, 2019.
  10. ^ President Donald J. Trump Announces Key Additions to his Administration, whitehouse.gov, 17 Oct 2017
  11. ^ Nomination - William Beach — Department of Labor, 16 Jan 2019
  12. ^ Presidential Nominations, 112th Congress (011 - 2012), PN1404-112 Archived 2016-01-02 at the Wayback Machine, Library of Congress, thomas.loc.gov
  13. ^ Senate Confirms Erica Groshen to Head Bureau of Labor Statistics Archived 2017-09-04 at the Wayback Machine, by Jeffrey Sparshott at Wall Street Journal]
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-02-23. Retrieved 2017-02-23.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "American Time Use Survey". Bureau of Labor Statistics. Archived from the original on 2017-02-23.
  16. ^ "Current Employment Statistics". Bureau of Labor Statistics. Archived from the original on 2017-02-23.
  17. ^ "Local Area Unemployment Statistics". Bureau of Labor Statistics. Archived from the original on 2017-09-08.
  18. ^ "Employment, Hours, and Earnings from the Current Employment Statistics survey (State & Metro Area) Home Page". Bls.gov. 2012-05-30. Archived from the original on 2012-06-15. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
  19. ^ "Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Home Page". Bls.gov. Archived from the original on 2012-06-16. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
  20. ^ "Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages". Bls.gov. 2012-03-28. Archived from the original on 2012-06-10. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
  21. ^ "Business Employment Dynamics Home Page". Bls.gov. 2012-05-01. Archived from the original on 2012-10-15. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
  22. ^ "Mass Layoff Statistics Home Page". Bls.gov. 2012-05-16. Archived from the original on 2017-02-23. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  23. ^ "Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities". Bls.gov. Archived from the original on 2012-06-26. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
  24. ^ "Overview of BLS Productivity Statistics". Bls.gov. Archived from the original on 2012-06-25. 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, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1985.
  • William J. Wiatrowski, "BLS at 125: Using historic principles to track the 21st-century economy". Monthly Labor Review, June 2009, pp. 3–25.

External links

  • Official website
  • Records of the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the National Archives (Record Group 257)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Federal Register
  • Publications of the BLS available on FRASER
  • Bulletins of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, dating back to 1895
  • Local Area Unemployment Reports