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An Open Letter to Survey Respondents from Commissioner William Beach

PDF version of this letter in English

Esta carta en español

Dear Business Partners:

I am writing to inform you of the approaches we at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) have taken in our survey collection activities in response to the novel coronavirus and its effects. We understand how broadly this pandemic is affecting people and businesses. We take this threat very seriously.

First, we have taken steps to protect BLS employees and survey respondents across the United States. We have discontinued all in-person data collection and will not resume until we can do so safely. We are collecting data by electronic means, such as internet and email, as well as more traditional methods like the telephone. We are also exploring ways to offer data collection by video calls.

Second, we are carefully assessing the areas, industries, and firms that are most affected by the pandemic to ensure that we are not adding burdens to business at this difficult time. Our staff will work flexibly with employers to reduce the burden and frequency of surveys, where needed.

Third, we are continuing to publish data on our website and provide public assistance over the phone and email. The information we produce with your assistance is vital for assessing current economic conditions and helps inform decision making and planning. We encourage you to contact us with your data needs.

Finally, we thank you for your partnership with BLS. This partnership enables us to provide gold standard economic statistics both during and after this crisis. You have my pledge that we will maintain safe data collection practices, with sensitivity and flexibility, while maintaining our commitment to data security and confidentiality and will continue to supply vital information on the economy.


William Beach

Commissioner of Labor Statistics

Last Modified Date: April 10, 2020