Submitting papers to Monthly Labor Review: guidelines for non-BLS authors

Monthly Labor Review (MLR) serves as the flagship publication of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It publishes research, analysis, and data on the Bureau’s major program areas: employment and unemployment; compensation and working conditions; productivity and technology; occupational safety and health; industry, occupational, and employment projections; and prices and living conditions. All papers submitted to the Review must be factual analyses not published elsewhere, and objective and analytical, rather than polemical in tone.

Authors may submit papers for consideration by email to Emily Liddel, Executive Editor, at To send your paper via regular mail, address it to—

Emily Liddel, Executive Editor
Monthly Labor Review
Bureau of Labor Statistics
2 Massachusetts Ave. NE
Room 2850
Washington, DC 20212

The Review’s audience

The Review’s audience includes economists, statisticians, labor relations practitioners (lawyers, arbitrators, etc.), sociologists, and other professionals concerned with labor-related issues. Because the MLR presents topics in labor economics in less forbidding formats than some social science journals, its audience also includes laypersons who are interested in the topics but are not professionally trained economists, statisticians, and so forth.

In writing papers for the Review, authors should aim at the generalists in the audience on the assumption that specialists will understand. Authors should use the simplest exposition of the subject consonant with accuracy and adherence to scientific methods of data collection, analysis, and drawings of conclusions.

Referee process

All submissions from outside the Bureau of Labor Statistics are subjected to a rigorous, two-track review process:

  1. The executive editor screens all submissions. Those that are of a topic and style that are appropriate to the Review are assigned to a staff editor for a detailed editorial review—generally an analysis of the salience of the topic for our readers and the editorial problems that might arise if the piece were to be accepted on its technical merit.
  2. At the same time, the Review solicits comments from one or more subject-matter experts in BLS. These experts are generally advanced degree economists with substantial experience in the relevant program of the Bureau. They submit comments to the Review’s senior editorial staff.

With the two sets of comments in hand, the senior editorial staff of the Review select the submissions that will be considered further. This process takes about 8 weeks. Authors are notified whether their paper has been accepted or rejected. If accepted, papers may include recommendations or suggestions regarding content or style.


Editorial process

Upon acceptance, the paper will then be submitted to the managing editor to begin the editorial process:

  1. Assigned editor prepares comments and suggestions
  2. Editor sends suggestions to the author for further comments and corrections
  3. Author-editor conference: changes are negotiated
  4. Editor incorporates all changes into a revised file
  5. Editor or designer prepares HTML pages and sends to author for approval
  6. Author reviews HTML pages and gives editor approval to publish
  7. Article is published online

Note that the editorial process and the role of the editor in preparing accepted articles for publication are more substantial than is the case in some journals. This ensures consistently appropriate style, tone, and level of discourse for our readers.


Specifications for MLR papers

In general, papers should describe, explain, update, and inform the Review’s audience about analyses and findings relevant to the major BLS program areas. Manuscripts average 20 double-spaced pages (using 12-point Times Roman or similar type) and may also contain tables, charts, exhibits, appendixes, and boxes (which could include a glossary or supplementary information).

Papers submitted for publication should follow certain formatting styles, which will help move submissions quickly through the editorial process.

  • Papers should be submitted via electronic files in MS Word or another editable format (no .pdf or image files).
  • The author’s title, affiliation, and email address should be included on the first page of the paper.
  • Separate files should be created files for (1) the text, (2) the figures, and (3) the tables.
  • Do not embed tables or charts into the text. Do not use colors or shading in the tables. For tables, we prefer MS Excel files. Authors are responsible for the accuracy of their tables.
  • Please submit an electronic file with the data set for all charts. We prefer Excel, PowerPoint, and Freelance formatted charts. Authors are responsible for the accuracy of their figures.
  • Cite sources with a consecutive endnote number in the text and associate it with the number in the endnote section at the end of the document; not as footnotes at the bottom of the page. Authors are responsible for the accuracy of their endnotes.

Questions or comments can be addressed to Emily Liddel, executive editor (202-691-6468) or by email: