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API Spotlight Article

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has a wealth of information and statistics within its databases that frequent visitors to the website want to interact and engage with BLS data to better communicate their applications. In an effort to make this communication easier and more accessible to the public, BLS has made its Public Data Application Programming Interface (API) available to the public. The BLS Public Data API is a tool that programmers, developers, and third party organizations can use to access BLS' voluminous database of labor-releted statistics. Users can and manipulate raw economic data from BLS programs and then develop a wide range of web and mobile applications using the most popular programming languages.

The Public Data API allows the BLS to engage users outside of the labor economic discipline, thus extending its reach. It allows application developers the ability to manipulate BLS data for their own purposes. Releasing BLS' Data API to the public will therefore allow BLS to reach a whole new generation of Internet users, rather than focusing on economists and statisticians. With the Public Data API, programmers can invoke data into mobile application and web sites, and they can deliver data from a wide range of BLS programs, including major surveys, economic releases, and publications, for use by those who wish to delve deeper. Programmers can then customize applications based on a targeted audience using BLS statistics. It is the BLS' hope that releasing the Public Data API for public use will encourage innovation and creativity among developers and programmers within the technological field.

The BLS has created a Developer's site with more in-depth instructions and documentation for using the Public Data API. The Developer's site includes examples of the signatures a developer would use to access BLS data through an external application. Sample code is also provided for the some of the most popular programming languages. Currently, users may access up to ten years of data from up to 25 historical time series at a time, and data is available from all BLS programs. For more information, please visit the the Public Data API Features page. BLS encourages and appreciates all feedback, as it will help further develop the Public Data API for future developers.


Last Modified Date: August 22, 2013