Confidentiality of Data Collected by BLS for Statistical Purposes

This report is being issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in accordance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Implementation Guidance for Title 5 of the E-Government Act, the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (CIPSEA) (72 Federal Register 33362, June 15, 2007). CIPSEA establishes strong confidentiality protections for information acquired by the BLS for exclusively statistical purposes. Among other things, CIPSEA strictly limits who may have access to protected data, sets strict fines and penalties for knowing and willful disclosures of confidential information to unauthorized persons, and explicitly exempts protected statistical information from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. CIPSEA also authorizes BLS, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), and the U.S. Census Bureau (Census) to share confidential business data for the purposes of improving the Nation's economic statistical system.

As directed by OMB, this report covers Calendar Year 2016 (CY 2016), addressing which BLS statistical programs have issued CIPSEA confidentiality pledges in the collection of data from respondents, the conditions under which the BLS has designated agents for access to confidential data for statistical activities, and the data sharing arrangements that the BLS has entered into with BEA and Census.

BLS Use of the CIPSEA Confidentiality Pledge

During CY 2016, the following BLS surveys acquired data using a CIPSEA pledge of confidentiality. A copy of the pledge used for each survey is attached to this report.

  • Report on Employment, Payroll, and Hours – OMB Number 1220-0011
  • Report on Occupational Employment – OMB Number 1220-0042
  • Consumer Price Index Commodities and Services Survey – OMB Number 1220-0039
  • Consumer Price Index Housing Survey – OMB Number 1220-0163
  • Point of Purchase Survey – OMB Number 1220-0044
  • Producer Price Index – OMB Number 1220-0008
  • International Price Program – U.S. Export & Import Price Indices – OMB Number 1220-0025
  • National Compensation Survey – OMB Number 1220-0164
  • Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses – OMB Number 1220-0045
  • Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries – OMB Number 1220-0133
  • Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) – OMB Number 1220-0170
  • National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) – OMB Number 1220-0109
  • National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97) – OMB Number 1220-0157
  • Cognitive and Psychological Research – OMB Number 1220-0141
  • Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (Labor Market Information Cooperative Agreement) – OMB Number 1220-0079
  • Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS) production – OMB Number 1220-0189

BLS Use of the Agents Provision in CIPSEA

During CY 2016, BLS had 746 active written agreements authorizing the designation of agents. Under these agreements, a total of 5,493 agents were designated. These include contracts with private vendors, Cooperative Agreements with State partners, Letters of Agreement with academic institutions and other non-profit organizations, and Memoranda of Understanding with government agencies. A copy of the standard BLS Agent Agreement and the standard BLS written agreement template are attached to this report.

  1. Contracts with Private Vendors
  2. During CY 2016, BLS had 746 active written agreements authorizing the designation of agents. Under these agreements, a total of 5,493 agents were designated. These include contracts with private vendors, Cooperative Agreements with State partners, Letters of Agreement with academic institutions and other non-profit organizations, and Memoranda of Understanding with government agencies. A copy of the standard BLS Agent Agreement and the standard BLS written agreement template are attached to this report.
  3. Cooperative Agreements with State Partners
  4. During CY 2016, BLS had 746 active written agreements authorizing the designation of agents. Under these agreements, a total of 5,493 agents were designated. These include contracts with private vendors, Cooperative Agreements with State partners, Letters of Agreement with academic institutions and other non-profit organizations, and Memoranda of Understanding with government agencies. A copy of the standard BLS Agent Agreement and the standard BLS written agreement template are attached to this report.
  5. Letters of Agreement with Academic Institutions and Other Non-profit Organizations
  6. BLS has designated 901 agents working under 513 different Letters of Agreement (LOAs). “Researcher agent” activities under these agreements include exclusively statistical research and analysis. Of these LOAs, 85 are for work onsite at the BLS National Office and involve 118 researcher agents; 428 are for work offsite at the researcher agent’s institution/organization and involve 783 researcher agents.
  7. Memoranda of Understanding with Government Agencies
  8. BLS has designated 723 agents working under 92 different Memoranda of Understanding (MOU). Researcher agent activities under these agreements include exclusively statistical research and analysis. Of these MOUs, 18 are for work onsite at the BLS National Office and involve 36 researcher agents; 74 are for work offsite at the outside government agency and involve 687 researcher agents1.

BLS Use of Data Sharing Provisions under Subtitle B of CIPSEA

During CY 2016, the BLS has been engaged with the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the U.S. Census Bureau (Census) in multiple data sharing initiatives. Below is a summary of the data sharing activities the BLS has entered into with BEA and Census, including the statistical purposes for sharing data and anticipated improvements in efficiency from each data sharing arrangement.

Data Sharing Initiatives between BLS and BEA

  1. BLS is continuing to collaborate with BEA to provide BEA with unpublished aggregates and selected establishment reports from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) data for use by BEA for developing the wage and salary component of the National Personal Income and Gross Domestic Product statistics. Access to the QCEW data from the BLS allows BEA to acquire processed employment and wage data from a centralized location without having to enter into separate data access arrangements with each of the various States.
  2. BLS is continuing to collaborate with BEA to share Consumer Price Index (CPI) data within the U.S. to develop inter-area price indexes to permit comparisons of price levels between local areas. BEA is using data from the CPI Commodities and Services (C&S) Survey and the CPI Housing Survey to develop and produce real, price-adjusted estimates of personal income for states and select metropolitan areas. Collaboration between BLS and BEA over a number of years laid the groundwork for BEA to construct the indexes which were first released to the public in April 2014 as official BEA statistics. This data sharing arrangement provides an efficient source of reliable data for the purposes of constructing consistent and empirically useful inter-area price indexes corresponding to the regions and metropolitan areas for which CPI data are published. It also makes possible a detailed analysis of the CPI data, promoting the continued effective use and dissemination of these data.
  3. BLS is continuing to collaborate with BEA to share data from the BLS QCEW and the Occupational Employment Statistics survey (OES); and from BEA the benchmark and annual surveys of direct investment, which collect information on the financing and operations of U.S. parent companies, their foreign affiliates, and U.S. affiliates of foreign companies; quarterly direct investment surveys, which collect information on transactions and positions between parents and affiliates; a new investments survey, which collects information on new foreign direct investments in the United States; and benchmark, annual and quarterly surveys of U.S. international trade in services. BEA and BLS will plan, conduct, and complete a program of cost-effective research work to accomplish the purposes of this data sharing arrangement. Work will include any project, task, tabulation, simulation, comparison, analysis, research, or other activity determined to be relevant, appropriate, and potentially useful by BEA and BLS. Among other things, the agencies expect to perform work to determine the feasibility of linking BEA and BLS data for the purpose of developing detailed industry-level estimates of the employment, payroll, and occupational structure of foreign-owned U.S. companies or of U.S. companies that own foreign affiliates. This data sharing arrangement will provide an evaluation of the potential to augment and enhance the economic statistics currently published by the two statistical agencies. It will make possible a detailed analysis of the microdata, allowing an analysis of data quality issues, promoting the continued effective use of these data, and disseminating these data to a wider audience. This data sharing arrangement also will increase understanding of the economic impact of off-shoring on the U.S. economy.
  4. BLS is continuing to collaborate with BEA to provide access to a file that includes all employment, mean wages, percentile wages (10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th), and wage ranges for all occupational major groups by industry and State. The occupations are coded at the 2-digit Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) major group level, and the industries are coded at the 4-digit North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) level. BEA is using the data to improve the accuracy of its estimates of employer contributions to Social Security. BEA hopes to use the data to improve upon its current methodology, which involves using industry-wide averages from the BLS QCEW to determine taxable wages. The methodology relying on QCEW data overestimates actual taxable wages. The application of OES wage ranges to QCEW data should provide detailed insight into workers’ actual salaries that cannot be determined by simple averages. This advanced interpretation of the QCEW data will provide more accurate taxable wage estimates. While the QCEW data will remain the principal data source used in the published estimates of employer contributions to Social Security, the relationship between QCEW and OES will strengthen the estimates of taxable wages.
  5. BLS is continuing to collaborate with BEA to share selected company and revenue data from BEA’s international surveys with BLS, and to share selected sample frame data from the BLS’ international price index for royalties and license fees with BEA, that will enable (a) BLS to study the feasibility of developing an international price index for royalties and license fees, and (b) BEA to compare its sample frame with the BLS sample frame to find omissions in both lists.

Data Sharing Initiatives between BLS and Census

  1. Census is continuing to share with the BLS monthly NET export files and names and addresses from the Census annual survey of exporters and commodities. The BLS uses these files to assemble sampling frames for its export price index series. The Census Bureau also shares with the BLS natural gas import files for use by the BLS to assemble sampling frames for its import price survey. Providing BLS access to these data, allows BLS to produce export and import price indexes without having to conduct a separate survey of establishments to build a sampling frame of importers and exporters. Conducting a separate survey would be costly, both in terms of the money needed to conduct the survey and also the additional reporting burden that would be placed on establishments participating in the survey.
  2. BLS and Census are continuing to collaborate on the industry code matching project. Census identifies businesses for which its Business Register (BR) needs industrial classifications, and the BLS supplies classifications, when available, from its Business Establishment List (BEL). Census maintains the BR, which serves primarily as an enumeration list for 5-year economic censuses, as a source of sampling frames for more frequent business surveys, and as a basis for statistical tabulations. Accurate and timely industrial classifications are essential to these basic purposes, because they are a principal factor in determining the scope and coverage of survey frames and in structuring efficient samples to provide high-quality industry statistics. Moreover, industrial classifications strongly affect the accuracy and effectiveness of data collection, survey processing, and statistical estimation and aggregation. The most important benefits of this project accrue to businesses that are relieved of unnecessary response burden previously imposed by the Census Bureau’s direct collections done expressly to maintain BR and the Annual Survey of Manufacturers industrial classifications. Additionally, the Census Bureau’s use of BLS industrial classifications and further provisions for resolving classification discrepancies works to promote consistency between the Federal statistical system’s principal business lists and thereby to improve the comparability of statistical products that depend on those lists. Lastly, the Census Bureau’s use of BLS industrial classifications makes Federal statistical programs less duplicative and more cost-effective overall.
  3. BLS and the Census Bureau continue to share selected business data of multi-location companies. These multi-location data will enable both agencies to accrue efficiencies in the maintenance of their respective business lists. In general, the BLS will provide the Census Bureau with multi-location company data from the QCEW for States that authorize the release of confidential microdata. The Census Bureau will provide the BLS with multi-location company data that are free of Title 26 restrictions. The Census Bureau also will provide multi-location data from the 2007 and 2012 Economic Censuses, with updates from the Annual Company Organization Survey, the Annual Survey of Manufactures, and the Service Annual Surveys.

BLS Use of the CIPSEA Pledge 20162

 
TITLE OF SURVEY OMB NUMBER CIPSEA PLEDGE
Producer Price Index Survey 1220-0008 The Bureau of Labor Statistics, its employees, agents, and partner statistical agencies, will use the information you provide for statistical purposes only and will hold the information in confidence to the full extent permitted by law. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (Title 5 of Public Law 107-347) and other applicable Federal laws, your responses will not be disclosed in identifiable form without your informed consent.
Report on Employment, Payroll, and Hours 1220-0011 The Bureau of Labor Statistics, its employees, agents, and partner statistical agencies, will use the information you provide for statistical purposes only and will hold the information in confidence to the full extent permitted by law. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (Title 5 of Public Law 107-347) and other applicable Federal laws, your responses will not be disclosed in identifiable form without your informed consent.
International Price Program—U.S. Export and Import Price Indices 1220-0025 The Bureau of Labor Statistics, its employees, agents, and partner statistical agencies, will use the information you provide for statistical purposes only and will hold the information in confidence to the full extent permitted by law. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (Title 5 of Public Law 107-347) and other applicable Federal laws, your responses will not be disclosed in identifiable form without your informed consent.
Consumer Price Index Commodities and Services Survey 1220-0039 The Bureau of Labor Statistics, its employees, agents, and partner statistical agencies, will use the information you provide for statistical purposes only and will hold the information in confidence to the full extent permitted by law. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (Title 5 of Public Law 107-347) and other applicable Federal laws, your responses will not be disclosed in identifiable form without your informed consent.
Report on Occupational Employment 1220-0042 Private Sector forms:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, its employees, agents, and partner statistical agencies, will use the information you provide for statistical purposes only and will hold the information in confidence to the full extent permitted by law. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (Title 5 of Public Law 107-347) and other applicable Federal laws, your responses will not be disclosed in identifiable form without your informed consent.
State and Local Government forms:
The BLS publishes statistical tabulations from this survey that may reveal the information reported by State and local governments. Upon request, however, the BLS will hold the information provided by State and local governments on this survey in confidence.
Point of Purchase Survey 1220-0044 The confidentiality of the information you provide is assured to the full extent permitted by law in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974,the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (Title 5 of Public Law 107-347). The information you provide will only be used for statistical purposes.
Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses 1220-0045 The Bureau of Labor Statistics, its employees, agents, and partner statistical agencies, will use the information you provide for statistical purposes only and will hold the information in confidence to the full extent permitted by law. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (Title 5 of Public Law 107-347) and other applicable Federal laws, your responses will not be disclosed in identifiable form without your informed consent.
Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW)—Labor Market Information (LMI) Cooperative Agreement 1220-0079 Upon receipt by the BLS of the QCEW files, the BLS will use the QCEW data for exclusively statistical purposes and will hold this information in confidence to the full extent permitted by law.
National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) 1220-0109 We want to reassure you that your confidentiality is protected by law. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (CIPSEA), the Privacy Act, and other applicable Federal laws, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, its employees and agents, will, to the full extent permitted by law, use the information you provide for statistical purposes only, will hold your responses in confidence, and will not disclose them in identifiable form without your informed consent. CIPSEA strictly limits who may have access to protected data, sets strict fines and penalties for knowing and willful disclosures of confidential information to unauthorized persons, and explicitly exempts protected statistical information from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. All the employees who work on the survey at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and its contractors must sign a document pledging to protect the confidentiality of your data. Some of your answers will be made available to researchers at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other government agencies, universities, and private research organizations through publicly available data files. These publicly available files contain no personal identifiers, such as names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and places of work, and exclude any information about the States, counties, metropolitan areas, and other, more detailed geographic locations in which survey participants live, making it much more difficult to figure out the identities of participants. Some researchers are granted special access to data files that include geographic information, but only after those researchers go through a thorough application process at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those authorized researchers must sign a written agreement making them official agents of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and requiring them to protect the confidentiality of survey participants. Those researchers are never provided with the personal identities of participants. The National Archives and Records Administration and the General Services Administration may receive copies of survey data and materials because those agencies are responsible for storing the Nation's historical documents.
Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) 1220-0133 The Bureau of Labor Statistics, its employees, agents, and partner statistical agencies, will use the information you provide for statistical purposes only and will hold the information in confidence to the full extent permitted by law. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (Title 5 of Public Law 107-347) and other applicable Federal laws, your responses will not be disclosed in identifiable form without your informed consent.
Cognitive and Psychological Research 1220-0141 For Cog Labs collected in the laboratory at the BLS:
In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (5 U.S.C. 552a), you are hereby notified that this study is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), under authority of 29 U.S.C. 2. Your voluntary participation is important to the success of this study and will enable the BLS to better understand the behavioral and psychological processes of individuals, as they reflect on the accuracy of BLS information collections. The BLS, its employees, agents, and partner statistical agencies, will use the information you provide for statistical purposes only and will hold the information in confidence to the full extent permitted by law. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (Title 5 of Public Law 107-347) and other applicable Federal laws, your responses will not be disclosed in identifiable form without your informed consent.
For Cog Labs collected outside of the BLS laboratory:
Current approved pledge for that survey (if it has an approved OMB number) or the above Privacy Act Statement.
National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97) 1220-0157 We want to reassure you that your confidentiality is protected by law. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002, the Privacy Act, and other applicable Federal laws, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, its employees and agents, will, to the full extent permitted by law, use the information you provide for statistical purposes only, will hold your responses in confidence, and will not disclose them in identifiable form without your informed consent. All the employees who work on the survey at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and its contractors must sign a document agreeing to protect the confidentiality of your data. In fact, only a few people have access to information about your identity because they need that information to carry out their job duties. Some of your answers will be made available to researchers at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other government agencies, universities, and private research organizations through publicly available data files. These publicly available files contain no personal identifiers, such as names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and places of work, and exclude any information about the States, counties, metropolitan areas, and other, more detailed geographic locations in which survey participants live, making it much more difficult to figure out the identities of participants. Some researchers are granted special access to data files that include geographic information, but only after those researchers go through a thorough application process at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those authorized researchers must sign a written agreement making them official agents of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and requiring them to protect the confidentiality of survey participants. Those researchers are never provided with the personal identities of participants. The National Archives and Records Administration and the General Services Administration may receive copies of survey data and materials because those agencies are responsible for storing the Nation's historical documents.
Consumer Price Index Housing Survey 1220-0163 The Bureau of Labor Statistics, its employees, agents, and partner statistical agencies, will use the information you provide for statistical purposes only and will hold the information in confidence to the full extent permitted by law. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (Title 5 of Public Law 107-347) and other applicable Federal laws, your responses will not be disclosed in identifiable form without your informed consent.
National Compensation Survey 1220-0164 Private industry forms:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, its employees, agents, and partner statistical agencies, will use the information you provide for statistical purposes only and will hold the information in confidence to the full extent permitted by law. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (Title 5 of Public Law 107-347) and other applicable Federal laws, your responses will not be disclosed in identifiable form without your informed consent.
Government forms:
The BLS publishes statistical tabulations from this survey that may reveal the information reported by individual state and local governments. Upon your request, however, the BLS will hold the information provided on this survey form in confidence.
Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) 1220-0170 The Bureau of Labor Statistics, its employees, agents, and partner statistical agencies, will use the information you provide for statistical purposes only and will hold the information in confidence to the full extent permitted by law. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (Title 5 of Public Law 107-347) and other applicable Federal laws, your responses will not be disclosed in identifiable form without your informed consent.
Occupational Requirements Survey (production) 1220-0189 Private industry forms:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, its employees, agents, and partner statistical agencies, will use the information you provide for statistical purposes only and will hold the information in confidence to the full extent permitted by law. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (Title 5 of Public Law 107-347) and other applicable Federal laws, your responses will not be disclosed in identifiable form without your informed consent.
Government forms:
The BLS publishes statistical tabulations from this survey that may reveal the information reported by individual state and local governments. Upon your request, however, the BLS will hold the information provided on this survey form in confidence.

1The majority of these 73 offsite agreements are represented by MOUs with State Partners, with whom BLS also has a Cooperative Agreement. Agents designated under these MOUs, are not included in the offsite MOU agent count, as they have already been accounted for under the Cooperative Agreement category.

2In December of 2016, the following language was added to the above pledges (not including 1220-0109 and 1220-0157) as required by the passage and implementation of provisions of the Federal Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2015 (H.R. 2029, Division N, Title II, Subtitle B, Sec. 223), which permits and requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to provide Federal civilian agencies’ information technology systems with cybersecurity protection for their Internet traffic.

Per the Federal Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2015, Federal information systems are protected from malicious activities through cybersecurity screening of transmitted data.

Last Modified Date: July 3, 2017