BLS Data Finder

Data Finder is a new search and navigation tool for BLS time series data available on the BLS website. Rather than searching individual data sets, Data Finder allows users to conveniently search multiple data sets all at once. Users can extract specific data by searching by keyword or by filtering through multiple topics, measures, and attributes.

This tool is designed to eventually replace many of the existing query tools on data.bls.gov. It is being developed iteratively, and we plan to update the application on a regular basis. We therefore encourage feedback, which we will use to plan and prioritize enhancements.

With each incremental release, we will provide a list of changes and enhancements as release notes.

Current release: Version 0.5 (10/16/2014)

Release Notes

  • Industry, Multifactor, and Labor Productivity and Costs (IP, MP and PR) data sets have been added.
  • Removed 2 and 5 month selection choices for the Net and Percent Calculation options.
  • The Excel output creates a .xlsx (Open office document format) file rather than .xls.
  • Added a special Excel document format to display set of selected series where all attributes are the same except one. The differing attribute is the column in the Excel document. This feature is labeled as a Profile. For example, users can select all wage series from OES for one occupation. This format will display the different wage percentile (different attribute) as columns for one occupation (common attribute) in one row.

Version 0.4 (04/30/2013)

Release Notes

  • The Occupational Employment Statistics (OE) data set has been added.
  • All available catalog data for included data sets is now displayed.
  • The default number of years of data retrieved has been increased to three years.
  • A line graph appears when graphing multiple data points for a series.

Known Limitations

  • When BLS introduces new time series, they will not immediately appear in the search results.
  • Search relevancy has not yet been fine-tuned.
  • The selection filters are a work in progress and will undergo changes as we arrive at a common taxonomy across data sets.
  • Currently, users can only select one filter at a time within a group.
  • The look, behavior, and web address (for example, http://beta.bls.gov/dataQuery/) are subject to change.
  • Table format and exports are limited in functionality and will be enhanced in future iterations.
  • Browser compatibility, particularly with older Internet Explorer (IE) versions, is not guaranteed. For example, within the Data Viewer, IE 8 users may see the message, “A script on this page is causing Internet Explorer to run slowly.” Utilizing a newer browser would help to avoid this message.

Version 0.3 (02/28/2013)

Release Notes

  • The State and Area Employment, Hours, and Earnings (SM) data sets have been added.
  • New column data output format for easier manipulation in Excel and other tools.
  • New options to select start and end years.
  • Option to select net change and percent change.
  • Added an information box when a single time series is displayed.
  • Provide more navigation through additional hyperlinks.

Known Limitations

  • When BLS introduces new time series, they will not immediately appear in the search results.
  • Search relevancy has not yet been fine-tuned.
  • The selection filters are a work in progress and will undergo changes as we arrive at a common taxonomy across data sets.
  • Currently, users can only select one filter at a time within a group.
  • The look, behavior, and web address (for example, http://beta.bls.gov/dataQuery/) are subject to change.
  • Table format and exports are limited in functionality and will be enhanced in future iterations.
  • Browser compatibility, particularly with older Internet Explorer (IE) versions, is not guaranteed. For example, within the Data Viewer, IE 8 users may see the message, “A script on this page is causing Internet Explorer to run slowly.” Utilizing a newer browser would help to avoid this message.

Version 0.2 (12/20/2012)

Release Notes

  • The Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey data sets have been added.
  • Search results are now more compact (experimental).
  • A new Data Viewer page has been introduced, with an interactive line chart.
  • New XLS and CSV download options.
  • More granular, survey-specific filters are now available when selecting "More...". The number of available filters in this section will vary based on other selections.

Known Limitations

  • When BLS introduces new time series, they will not immediately appear in the search results.
  • Search relevancy has not yet been fine-tuned.
  • The selection filters are a work in progress and will undergo changes as we arrive at a common taxonomy across data sets.
  • Currently, users can only select one filter at a time within a group.
  • The look, behavior, and web address (for example, http://beta.bls.gov/dataQuery/) are subject to change.
  • Table format and exports are limited in functionality and will be enhanced in future iterations.
  • Browser compatibility, particularly with older Internet Explorer versions, is not guaranteed.

Version 0.1 (09/30/2012)

Release Notes

  • Data consists of five data sets from two BLS programs: Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LA) and the Current Population Survey (LN, LE, LU and FM). We will add more data sets incrementally.
  • A cross-survey taxonomy has been created using Topics and Measures as initial selections. We will expand these as we incorporate new data sets.

Known Limitations

  • When BLS introduces new time series, they will not immediately appear in the search results.
  • Search relevancy has not yet been fine-tuned.
  • The selection filters are a work in progress and will undergo changes as we arrive at a common taxonomy across data sets.
  • Currently, users can only select one filter at a time.
  • Selecting a large number of filters may result in a server error.
  • The look, behavior, and web address (for example, http://beta.bls.gov/dataQuery/) are subject to change.
  • Table format and exports are limited in functionality and will be enhanced in future iterations.

Planned features

  • More BLS data sets.
  • Visualization via charts, graphs, and maps.
  • Functionality similar to a shopping cart to allow you to save your selections.
  • Public, developer-oriented data API for automated data query and extraction.

 

Last Modified Date: October 16, 2014