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2009 Budget for the Bureau of Labor Statistics

On March 11, 2009, President Obama signed into law the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act. The Omnibus provides $597.2 million in funding to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the 2009 fiscal year that began on October 1, 2008. This funding level is $4.4 million more than the President requested.

The 2009 level of funding will enable BLS to meet its highest priority goals and objectives during 2009. Specifically, it includes funds for a critical updating of the Consumer Price Index and funds to maintain the Current Population Survey. More generally, this level is the President’s Budget with the addition of funds to maintain the American Time Use Survey, and money for additional work in the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. See below for more detailed information.

2009 Budget Highlights

The 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act for the BLS:

  1. Restores temporary reductions that occurred in 2008 ($19.2 million). 2008 funding for the BLS was considerably below the requested amount. As a result, the BLS temporarily curtailed products, delayed infrastructure investments, and instituted significant staffing reductions. More specific information on the 2008 temporary reductions may be found at The 2009 Omnibus restores these necessary funds.
  2. Modernizes the Consumer Price Index (CPI) ($10.4 million). The CPI is the Nation’s most widely used measure of inflation. This initiative will enable the BLS to complete the continuous updating efforts in all major components of the CPI begun in 2002. This initiative also will substantially improve the accuracy of the CPI by continuously updating the housing and geographic area samples. Historically, updated samples were introduced about every ten years, as part of the periodically funded CPI revisions. The current samples are based on information from the 1990 decennial census, now nearly 20 years old. Continuous updating from this initiative will result in samples that better reflect the geographic distribution of the U.S. population and its demographic and economic characteristics.
  3. Funds the rising costs of the Current Population Survey (CPS) ($8.7 million). This initiative will ensure the continued accuracy of the national unemployment rate, labor force participation rate, women's-to-men's earnings ratio, and many other key indicators obtained from the CPS. Gathering information from the sample of 60,000 households each month has become more costly largely because of more stringent efforts to protect the sensitive information provided by those households, a greater geographic dispersal of the survey sample, and the public’s growing reluctance to provide information.
  4. Continues the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) ($4.3 million). The 2009 Omnibus includes funds to continue the ATUS. The ATUS provides nationally representative estimates of how Americans spend their time, including time working and time doing nonmarket activities, such as child care and volunteering. ATUS data enable researchers to develop broader assessments of national well-being and domestic production.
  5. Reduces the Locality Pay Surveys (LPS) ($1.5 million). In order to partially fund inflationary cost increases for core BLS programs, the LPS component of the National Compensation Survey (NCS) is reduced, thereby decreasing the level of detail in LPS publications and the number of future publications. The NCS sample reduction, approximately nine percent, impacts all three NCS program outputs: the Employment Cost Index, the Employee Benefits Survey, and the LPS.
  6. Includes funding to conduct research on the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) ($1.0 million). The 2009 Omnibus includes funding for research efforts to explore and address a potential undercount in the SOII.
  7. Funds new data on people with disabilities ($0.5 million). In February 2009, the BLS began to release monthly estimates on the employment and unemployment status of people with disabilities. The Omnibus includes a transfer of funding from the Office of Disability Employment Policy to the BLS to collect and publish these data on an ongoing basis.


Last Modified Date: March 17, 2009