The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that any person has the right to request access to federal agency records or information. Like all federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is required to disclose records requested in writing by any person. However, agencies may withhold information pursuant to nine exemptions and three exclusions contained in the statute. FOIA applies only to federal agencies and does not create a right of access to records held by Congress, the courts, or state or local government agencies.
Below are links to specific FOIA-related information. We encourage the public to explore BLS and DOL websites to see if the information you seek is already publicly available.
Please see our BLS FOIA Frequently Asked Questions for quick answers to common questions.
Many statistical data products produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) can be found on the BLS website and may be obtained without making a request under FOIA.
Statistical data questions or special data requests for information not readily available on the BLS website should be submitted directly to the appropriate BLS program that produces the data. Submitting your questions to the appropriate BLS program or the BLS Division of Information and Marketing Services is the most direct way to receive the answers you are seeking, and we recommend it over submitting a FOIA request. Please contact the Division of Information and Marketing Services or the BLS program that produces the data before submitting your FOIA request for BLS data products.
Please be aware BLS microdata, including establishment names, cannot be released to FOIA requestors pursuant to FOIA Exemption (b)(3), records that are specifically exempted from disclosure by statute. Most BLS data are collected under the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA) (44 USC Section 3561 et seq.) which limits use of the information to only statistical purposes and prohibits disclosure of information.
Please see our BLS FOIA Frequently Asked Questions for information on additional exemptions and how they apply to BLS records.
The Freedom of Information Act provides any person the right to request access to records held by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The request must be in writing and signed by the person making the request, and it must reasonably describe the records being requested. The Department of Justice's homepage provides the full text of the Freedom of Information Act. There are statutory FOIA exemptions that authorize the withholding of information in certain specific circumstances. If BLS does withhold information requested under the FOIA, we will specify in our response the FOIA exemption under which the information is being withheld. Before making a request, first look to see if the information you are interested in is already publicly available. You can find a lot of useful information on a range of topics on bls.gov.
If the information you want is not publicly available, you can submit a FOIA request to the BLS FOIA Office (see Instructions for Submitting a FOIA Request to the BLS.) The request must be in writing and reasonably describe the records you seek. In making your request, you should be as specific as possible in describing the records requested. The more specific you are about the records or types of records you are requesting, the more likely it will be that the BLS can locate those records. The BLS accepts FOIA requests by mail, e-mail, or fax.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- FOIA Disclosure Officer
- (202) 691-5111
The BLS FOIA Coordinator can be reached at (202) 691-7628.
Last Modified Date: July 13, 2021