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1999 BLS Annual Performance Plan, Section II

Section II:  Performance Indicators, Performance Goals, Processes and Resources  


This section provides an overview of the 1999 performance goals and indicators, presented by BLS strategic goal. It should be noted that for strategic goal one, the baseline year is 1997. For strategic goal two, there is no baseline data because these are new activities. However, the work for these projects is on schedule.

This 1999 Performance Plan provides, for each BLS strategic goal, the following key elements:

  • 1999 Performance Goals—The specific targets relative to the Departmental outcome goal which will be accomplished in 1999;
  • Indicator—The measure that will be used to assess progress towards goal accomplishment;
  • Source of Data—The measurement system(s) that will be used to collect performance indicator data;
  • Baseline—The baseline year and baseline level against which progress will be evaluated; and
  • Comment—Issues related to goal accomplishment, measurement systems, and strategies that provide a context or description of the performance goal.


Agency 1999 Performance Goals


Means and Strategies

Supporting Budget Activities:
  • Labor Force Statistics
  • Prices and Cost of Living
  • Compensation and Working Conditions
  • Productivity and Technology
  • Employment Projections
  • Executive Direction
  • Consumer Price Index Revision
1999 Funding Request: $398,870,000

Department Cross-Cutting Goal: Prepared Workforce: Enhance Opportunities for America’s Workforce

Agency Strategic Goals: Measure the economy through producing and disseminating timely, accurate, and relevant information in our areas of expertise. Improve accuracy, efficiency, and relevancy of our economic measures and program outputs through increased application of state-of-the-art statistical techniques, economic concepts, technology, and management processes.

Supporting 1999 Means and Strategies—

Sustained Efforts in 1999:

  • BLS will continue to carry out its mandate as the principal fact-finding agency for the Federal Government in the field of labor economics. This includes producing impartial and objective essential economic data for the Nation in the areas of employment and unemployment, price change, compensation, safety and health, productivity, and economic growth. Business, labor, governments, the media, and the public rely on these measures to develop economic policy and make well-informed decisions.
  • BLS will continuously improve the operational processes used to develop economic data through the use of the BLS Statistical Program Model. The processes in the model are: conceptualization, planning, design, development, implementation, validation, and administration.
  • Technological advances are occurring in all aspects of economic data development and are particularly evident in the following three areas:
  • Many of the BLS computer systems are being downsized from mainframe computers to a personal computer-based client/server environment.
  • Data collection and review is being facilitated with the use of computers both at the survey respondent’s locale and at the BLS worksite.
  • Data dissemination is being modernized with the goal of serving a larger customer base with greater speed, accuracy, and more tailored customer service.

Significant New or Enhanced Efforts in 1999:

  • BLS will convert the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (ES-202) program to the North American Industry Classification System to enable the rest of BLS programs to have a properly classified sampling frame during the multi-year NAICS conversion.
  • BLS will continue the multi-year Consumer Price Index Revision (CPIR) initiative by updating the CPI market basket’s housing sample to reflect current demographic and geographic population characteristics.
  • BLS will expand the sample size of the Consumer Expenditure Survey by approximately 50 percent, along with other improvements in the multi-year Consumer Price Index Improvements (CPII) initiative, to substantially reduce the time it takes to update the CPI market basket.
  • BLS will begin a new monthly survey on job openings for the Nation and major industry sectors.



Since goal one is very different from goal two, the performance goals and measures reflect this difference. For objectives within goal one, the production of BLS data, the performance goals are the dissemination of high quality program deliverables according to the announced schedule. The BLS reports timeliness and reliability results annually. Verification of the timeliness measures occurs through the comparison of the planned and actual release date of products by publications staff who are independent of program staff.

The established procedure for validation of reliability measures is through program evaluations. In many cases, these measures are the direct output of the system that BLS uses to run and manage the programs. The program evaluation is undertaken by parties internal or external to the BLS. Program evaluations consist of internal reviews conducted by BLS program and research staff, views from customers based on program-specific and BLS-wide customer feedback measurements and meetings, assessments conducted by advisory groups, and evaluations required by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Regarding the latter, OMB Statistical Policy Directive Number 3 requires performance evaluations for BLS principal economic indicators. These evaluations are to assure that the data series meet specific accuracy, release, and accountability standards. Evaluations are conducted every three years for each of the eight indicators.

For goal two, the improvement goal, the performance goals are quite different. These performance goals are significant milestones expected to be completed towards the accomplishment of an improvement objective in the given year. Over time BLS will validate these indicators by showing how they relate to desired outcomes such as modernizing BLS data or improving accuracy.


Management Issues

Financial Management
  • The BLS is in compliance with legislative requirements and existing operational standards. The BLS has no unresolved internal control issues or material weaknesses. There are no outstanding issues with external authorities such as the General Accounting Office or the Inspector General.
  • The BLS has agreed to act as a pilot agency in the Department of Labor’s efforts to develop GPRA cost accounting. The pilot will be complete by the end of 1999.

Information technology linkages

Information technology is used extensively in all BLS work. In the first strategic goal, the production of the statistical programs, information technology is used in all programs to produce the statistical outputs. The second strategic goal provides the framework for information technology infrastructure issues as well as the identification of the CPI system as a major investment.

  • In accordance with the Information Technology Management Reform Act (ITMRA), the development of the computer system for improving the quality of the Consumer Price Index is a major information system investment.
  • The BLS plan includes an objective on information technology which is aligned with the BLS Information Technology Strategic Plan. This objective highlights infrastructure issues such as computer security and establishing a standardized computing environment.

Since the BLS Strategic Plan is based on the achievement of individual program and support area plans, no new information activities are required for the achievement and measurement of the strategic goals.

Human Resources

The BLS must be able to hire and retain highly qualified staff. Coupled with this requirement is the need to develop and train staff to meet the challenges of reengineered work processes and rapidly changing technology. Except for the budget initiatives listed above, the strategic goals and objectives can be accomplished within existing resources.

A broad recruitment and workforce development program is a cornerstone of the BLS strategic human resource initiative through the year 2002. Recruitment activities will be integrated fully with current and projected BLS vacancies in economist, statistician, and computer specialist areas. The recruitment program is designed to ensure that the BLS continually achieves a more diversified workforce. College recruitment and relations efforts are continued by:

Attending job fairs and conducting interviews at colleges and universities across the nation, targeting Historically Black Colleges and Universities and schools with predominant Hispanic enrollments;

  • Conducting seminars for placement officers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities;
  • Sponsoring BLS Job Fairs;
  • Conducting outreach efforts through workshops on campuses that address course requirements and applications for positions in the BLS; and
  • Advertising positions on the BLS Website.

As a result of advances in technology, the need for a large clerical and technical staff to accomplish the work of the BLS has greatly diminished over time. Over the next several years, the number of clerical and technical positions will continue to decrease as a result of technological advances. The BLS will continue to utilize attrition, reassignment, and retraining efforts for this workforce and will continue to address this issue through the year 2000.


Agency Cross-Cutting Issues

The BLS serves as a statistical resource to the DOL, producing data on the workforce, workplace, and wages. This data is utilized by other DOL agencies to fulfill their individual missions. The BLS also has a cooperative relationship with States, ETA, ESA, and OSHA in gathering and producing data that is of mutual interest.

As a Federal statistical agency, the BLS is a member of the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy, which sponsored an initiative to compile inventories of current and potential collaborative activities. The BLS also is engaged in ongoing relationships with the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Finally, the BLS works with foreign statistical agencies and international statistical organizations in efforts to enhance comparability of definitions and methodologies.


Last Modified Date: January 6, 2004