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The 2011 President’s Budget for the Bureau of Labor Statistics

On February 1, 2010, President Obama submitted his 2011 budget to Congress. The President’s Budget provides $645.4 million in funding to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the 2011 fiscal year that will begin on October 1, 2010. This is an increase of $33.9 million over the BLS 2010 appropriation.

The 2011 level of funding will enable the BLS to continue to fulfill its unique role in developing national labor-related statistics. It includes funds to improve the quality of the data produced by several BLS statistical programs, but also includes some program eliminations.

2011 Budget Highlight
The 2011 President’s Budget for the BLS includes the following program changes:

  1. Measure Occupational Wage and Employment Growth ($4.9 million). This proposal will enhance the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program to address the lack of reliable data available that support the identification of occupational trends in employment and wages over time. Specifically, the BLS will expand the OES sample to collect data annually from a subset of establishments, making possible year-to-year comparisons.
  2. Modernize the Consumer Expenditure (CE) survey ($8.8 million). The modernization will improve the quality of data generated by the survey and the accuracy of its inputs into the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Specifically, the BLS will move the CE survey to a continuous updating process for the survey design, as well as increase the sample through the introduction of additional geographic areas.
  3. Reduce the Variance of the CPI ($15.0 million). In the CPI, as the number of price quotes for any given published index across the sample increases, the variance of that index will decrease. This proposal will increase the number of CPI commodity and services price quotes collected by 50 percent, improving the overall quality of CPI data.
  4. Research Improvements to the Frame of Retail Outlets in the CPI ($1.0 million). The current survey used for identifying the sample of retail outlets that are used to initiate and reprice items in the CPI is a telephone, random-digit dialing survey. By construction, it does not include cell phones, making it increasingly out of touch with trends in phone usage, and therefore possibly underrepresenting the types of retail outlets frequented by cell-phone only (and, on average, younger) households. This proposal will provide additional resources to research how to improve or replace the current survey.
  5. Develop a Supplementary Statistical Poverty Measure ($2.5 million). This proposal will enable the BLS to modify the CE Survey to support the Census Bureau in its development of a supplemental statistical poverty measure using CE data. This supplemental measure will be designed to complement rather than to replace the official measure.
  6. Restructure the Current Employment Statistics (CES) Program (-$5.0 million). This proposal will restructure the way in which the CES program produces State and metropolitan area data estimates. The BLS expects this change to result in considerable net cost savings to the program without reducing either data quality or the number of published series. A portion of the net savings will be used to fund improvements in data collection and survey response rates.
  7. Provide Alternative Data for Federal Locality Pay Setting (-$9.8 million). This proposal will introduce an alternative to the Locality Pay Surveys (LPS), a new model-based approach that uses data from two current BLS programs – the OES survey and Employment Cost Index. This will allow for the production of additional high quality data at a lower cost, while still meeting the requirement to provide data to the President’s Pay Agent and allowing the BLS to eliminate the LPS component of the National Compensation Survey.
  8. Eliminate the International Labor Comparisons (ILC) Program (-$2.0 million). In order to partially finance other needs, the BLS will eliminate the ILC program. Currently, the ILC program provides international comparisons of hourly compensation costs; productivity and unit labor costs; labor force, employment and unemployment rates; and consumer prices.

The 2011 President’s Budget for BLS may be viewed in full at


Last Modified Date: February 1, 2010