Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. What is the Bureau of Labor Statistics?
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is the principal fact-finding agency for the Federal Government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics. The BLS is an independent national 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. The BLS also serves as a statistical resource to the Department of Labor. BLS publishes information about the nation's economy: relating to employment, unemployment, and other characteristics of the labor force; consumer and producer prices, consumer expenditures, and import and export prices; wages and other worker compensation; productivity and technological change; employment projections; and safety and health statistics.
  2. When and why was BLS created?
    In the late 1800s the American economy was becoming more industrialized and various labor organizations wanted the government to publish statistics and to help improve the status of the growing industrial labor force. Check out the timeline of the history of BLS beginning in 1884.
  3. Why are economic statistics so important?
    Everyday people use statistical facts to make economic decisions. At BLS, we make it our mission to help you make good decisions by producing statistics that are relevant, timely, accurate, and objective.
  4. Who works for BLS?
    There are over 2400 employees working at BLS. These include economists, mathematical statisticians, and computer specialists. Most full-time positions are located in our National Office in Washington, D.C. Employees also work in eight regional offices: Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, and San Francisco, and a variety of other locales.
  5. What happened to the career exploration feature and where is it?
    We have updated our “Career Exploration” feature. The updated feature is now located on our Student Resources page.
  6. What are statisticians?
    Statisticians use mathematical techniques to analyze and interpret data and draw conclusions. They design surveys, experiments, and opinion polls to collect data. Please visit our “Career Exploration” feature on our Student Resources page.
  7. What are economists?
    Economists study the production and distribution of resources, goods, and services. They interpret and forecast market trends. Please visit our “Career Exploration” feature on our Student Resources page.
  8. What are the fastest growing occupations?
    The fastest growing occupations reflect jobs with the largest rate of change in terms of percentage growth. They can be found in this table.
  9. How far back does BLS' occupational data go?
    The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey publishes data from 1997 to the present.
  10. How do I provide comments about the new BLS K-12 site?
    We appreciate your feedback! Please send your comments via email or you can call us at 202-691-5200.


Last Modified Date: September 30, 2013