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Consumer Expenditure Surveys

2020 Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CE) Microdata Users’ Workshop

Information for 2020 CE Microdata Users' Workshop Participants

Before you leave home:

  1. Equipment: Please remember to bring a laptop computer with a standard statistical software package (SAS, STATA, SPSS, or other) loaded on it, if you were already planning to do so. While not required, the instructors will be providing “hands on” training using the data, and you can then save the results for future reference.

  2. Wireless Information: Wireless access will be provided throughout the duration of the workshop. We will provide you with the wireless name and password.

  3. Clothing: The weather in DC can be very hot and humid during July. However, except for commuting and possibly lunch breaks, you will be indoors for the workshop. While the building is climate controlled, some past attendees have reported feeling cold in the conference rooms. Therefore, you might want to bring a sweater or light jacket just in case.

  4. Travel Arrangements: The workshop will be held in the Janet Norwood Conference Center at the Bureau of Labor Statistics Headquarters, located in the Postal Square Building (2 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20212), directly across the street from Union Station.

a. Airports.

  • Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) is the closest airport to the workshop. From there, the workshop location is accessible by subway (Metro,, Union Station stop) or taxi (driving distance: about 5 miles).
  • Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) is the next most accessible airport. The workshop location is accessible by commuter train (weekdays only, Union Station stop), shuttle, or rental car (driving distance: over 30 miles). For information about arranging transportation from BWI, check the airport website (
  • Dulles International (IAD) is the other regional airport. It is not directly accessible by rail. However, shuttle and related services, including buses to the subway (Metro), are available at the airport. NOTE: If traveling from the airport by private automobile or taxi, tolls may apply. (Driving distance: about 30 miles.) For information about arranging transportation from IAD, check the airport website (

b. Train or Bus.

  • If you are traveling to Washington by train, Amtrak will also take you directly to Union Station. See “Building Entrance—Location and Security Requirements” for instructions.
  • For many bus companies, Union Station is the drop off/pick up stop in Washington, DC. If this applies to you, check the map of Union Station ( to ascertain the most appropriate route to the Postal Square Building. One suggestion is to enter Union Station, and follow the instructions in “Building Entrance—Location and Security Requirements” below. (See “If taking Amtrak or Commuter Train….”)

c. Private Automobile.

  • Street parking in the area is extremely limited, and subject to meters and absolute time limits. However, if you choose to drive, Union Station has paid parking facilities (

Attending the Workshop:

5. Building Entrance--Location and Security Requirements: Please note that there are several entrances to the Postal Square Building (2 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Washington, DC), each of which is monitored by security guards. For ease of access, we recommend the following:

a. USE ONLY THE MAIN ENTRANCE TO THE BUILDING. This entrance is on First Street, directly across the street from Union Station, and is in the middle of the block. “Bureau of Labor Statistics” is written over the entrance. The “Visitor Entrance” is on the right.

  • If taking subway (Metro) to the workshop, note that there are TWO EXITS from the Union Station stop. Take the First Street exit, which also provides entrance to the Amtrak Terminal. Signs viewed from the Metro platform all mention “First Street,” “Amtrak,” and “Commuter Trains.” (For a station map, see Immediately upon passing through the exit fare gate (i.e., turnstile), turn left and you will see an escalator in front of you. This goes to the Amtrak Terminal. Walk toward, but DO NOT TAKE THIS ESCALATOR. Instead, turn left in front of it, walk toward the wall, and you will see the First Street exit on your left. The main entrance is directly across the street.

    IF YOU TAKE THE OTHER EXIT (Massachusetts Avenue, Postal Museum, buses and shops), do the following: When you reach the top of the escalator, turn right. Go to the crosswalk at the traffic light (ahead and slightly to the left from the top of the escalator). However, DO NOT CROSS THE STREET. Instead, turn right, and walk downhill to the middle of the block. You will see the First Street exit from the Metro on your right. On your left is the crosswalk (no traffic light). Follow this crosswalk to the building entrance.

    NOTE: IF YOU ARE UNSURE WHICH EXIT IS THE CORRECT ONE, ask the Metro officer in the kiosk near the exit fare gates BEFORE YOU EXIT THE SYSTEM.

  • If taking Amtrak or Commuter Train (MARC/VRE) to the workshop: After exiting your train, turn right on the platform inside Union Station. Walk to the end of the corridor, and you will see an “Au Bon Pain” (ABP) restaurant on your left. (If you see McDonald’s ahead of you, turn around.) Pass ABP, and turn right. This will take you to the escalator associated with the First Street exit from the Metro system (described above), just after the restaurant “Pret A Manger.” Using this exit, the main entrance to the building is directly across the street. Note: For a map of the relevant section of Union Station, see; select “G” on left side of map.

b. SECURITY REQUIREMENTS. NOTE: If you last attended a workshop in 2017 or earlier, please note that security requirements have substantially changed. Regardless, please carefully follow the instructions below. Also, PLAN TO ARRIVE EARLY as there may be long lines at security:


Report to the “Visitor Entrance” (farthest right set of doors at main entrance). After explaining you are a workshop participant, provide your name and a government-issued photo ID (REAL ID compliant driver’s license or ID card, passport, or Federal employee, military, or Veteran ID card) to the security officer, who will direct you to further screening.

As part of this screening process you MUST REMOVE:

  • Any jacket, coat, or other similar attire. The security officer will provide instruction if you have questions about particular attire (suit coat, sports jacket, etc.).
  • Belts, especially with metal (buckles, decoration, etc.).
  • Items from your pockets, including from pants, shirt, blouse, etc. (wallet, coins, keys, pens or pencils, gum or mints, etc.).
  • Your laptop from its case.

You MAY be asked to remove other items, such as your watch, jewelry, or shoes. You may wish to do this from the start to avoid additional screening.

All of the items above must pass through the screening equipment. You will also be asked to pass through screening equipment.

If the screening equipment does not clear you, the security officer will proceed with additional screening, including scanning with a hand-held “wand.”

Again, PLAN TO ARRIVE EARLY as there may be long lines at security. You will also encounter delays if you or someone ahead of you requires additional screening.

Once you have completed the process, you may proceed to the workshop. The workshop will be held downstairs in the Janet Norwood Conference Center.

6.Food and Beverages: There is a cafeteria onsite at the Postal Square Building. While there are also restaurants nearby, for scheduling reasons, we recommend that you visit the cafeteria if you plan to purchase lunch or other food or beverages during the workshop: It takes more time to travel to and from restaurants outside the building; they are usually crowded during lunch hours; and you will need to complete the security procedures upon your return to the building. In any case, the cafeteria is open 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily. The closest restaurants outside the building are at Union Station (; click “VIEW ALL” and select “Restaurants & Eateries.”).

Regardless of where you purchase, please note that there is NO FOOD ALLOWED in the training rooms within the conference center. There are, however, pantries and other areas just outside the training rooms where food is permitted. Beverages with lids (including plastic bottles with seals) are permitted, in both the pantries and the training rooms.

Additional Information:

  • The workshop website is continually updated as new data or documents arrive. The preliminary program for the 2020 workshop is expected to be available on or about June 1.

  • If you are a first-time workshop attendee, a report on the 2018 workshop, published in the May 2019 edition of the Monthly Labor Review (, will give you an idea of what to expect. The report on the 2019 workshop is forthcoming; in the meantime, the program for the 2019 workshop is available here:

  • Of special interest to new CE data users, each day of the 2019 workshop included at least one presentation by a first-time or novice user of the CE microdata. As noted above, the report on this workshop is forthcoming.

  • Regardless of your level of experience with the microdata, appointments to meet with an expert are available. You can register before the workshop, or onsite, as long as slots are open.

Last Modified Date: January 21, 2020