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Timeline text:

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Below you will find major milestones in BLS history grouped by decade. Click on the links within the timeline for more information.


  • 1884 Bureau of Labor created in the Department of Interior.
  • 1886 Published First Annual Report of the Commissioner of Labor: Industrial Depressions.
  • 1888 Began first consumer expenditure (CE) survey.


  • 1891 Investigated the effects of tariff legislation on wages and prices.
  • 1898 Published Hand and Machine Labor, providing information on the effect of machinery costs of production, productivity, wages, and employment in selected industries.



  • 1912 Introduced series on industrial accidents.
  • 1913 Began consumer price indexes (CPI).
  • 1913 Moved to the Department of Labor.
  • 1915 Initiated first monthly studies of employment and payrolls, later called the Current Employment Statistics program.
  • 1915 Published first Monthly Review (later called Monthly Labor Review).
  • 1916 Initiated first labor market information (LMI) cooperative agreements with states.


  • 1941 Began industry productivity studies program.
  • 1942 Established first regional offices.
  • 1945 Began providing training for international economists and statisticians.
  • 1947 Established Business Research Advisory Council (BRAC) and the Labor Research Advisory Council (LRAC).
  • 1947 Produced first quarterly and annual measures of output per hour.
  • 1947 Released first report on work stoppages.
  • 1948 Began publishing collective bargaining settlements.
  • 1949 Published first Occupational Outlook Handbook.


  • 1959 Gained responsibility for financing and analyzing the household survey (later called Current Population Survey, CPS) and publishing the results.
  • 1959 Published first labor productivity indexes for the total private and private nonfarm business sectors.


  • 1960 Began conducting an annual nationwide survey, which became the basis for establishing comparability between Federal and private-sector pay under legislation passed in 1962 and 1971.
  • 1962 Produced first major international comparative study (on unemployment).
  • 1966 Produced first projections of the labor force, industry output and employment, and occupational employment and job openings.
  • 1966 Reorganized BLS as a matrix organization based on the recommendation of management consultants.


  • 1971 Began International Prices Program (IPP) by establishing export price indexes.
  • 1971 Began collecting data (in cooperation with 15 states and the Employment and Training Administration, ETA) on occupational employment through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program.
  • 1972 Began reporting the employment situation at monthly hearings of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee.
  • 1973 Established import price indexes, as part of IPP.
  • 1973 Began Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII), mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
  • 1976 Inaugurated the Employment Cost Index.
  • 1978 Initiated direct online computer access to more than 150,000 time series (LABSTAT).
  • 1979 Introduced the first comprehensive study of the incidence and provisions on employee benefits, later called the Employee Benefits Survey (EBS).



  • 1990 Began use of electronic data collection with the computer assisted telephone interview (CATI) in CES.
  • 1991 Introduced revisions to the Occupational Safety and Health Statistics program, including the first nationwide Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) and new SOII data on worker characteristics and the circumstances of workplace injuries and illnesses.
  • 1992 Consolidated BLS office space into the Postal Square Building, the present-day location of all BLS national offices.
  • 1995 Initiated BLS presence on the World Wide Web (FTP and Gopher access available in 1994) at
  • 1996 Began collecting occupational wage data, in addition to occupational employment data for every state in OES.


  • 2000 Established the Federal Economic Statistics Advisory Committee (FESAC).
  • 2002 Released the first national monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data providing the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations.
  • 2002 Congress passes and the President signs the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA).
  • 2003 Introduced Business Employment Dynamic (BED) data from the QCEW, showing the job gains from opening and expanding establishments and job losses from closing and contracting establishments.
  • 2004 Published the American Time Use Survey annual estimates providing information on the way Americans spend their time.
  • 2005 Celebrated 10 years of
  • 2007 Established Data Users Advisory Committee to replace BRAC and LRAC.
  • 2008 Stopped printing and mailing news releases to subscribers, relying on email and the web for distribution instead.
  • 2009 Celebrated 125 years of history, 1884–2009.
  • 2009 Published, for the first time, labor force estimates for persons with disabilities in CPS.
  • 2009 Published, for the first time, SOII data on workforce injuries and illnesses incurred by state and local government workers.


  • 2010 Released official all employee hours and earnings data (Current Employment Statistics).
  • 2011 Introduced alternative means of providing data to meet the requirements of the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act.
  • 2011 Began data collection for Green Technologies and Practices (GTP) survey.
  • 2012 Released first Green Goods and Services (GGS) and GTP survey estimates.

Last Modified Date: September 30, 2013