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BLS Restricted Data Access

Restricted Data

BLS restricted data characteristics

  • All BLS restricted data available to researchers are based on released data. Prerelease or embargoed data are not available for researcher access.
  • The types of identifiers available will depend on the BLS restricted dataset(s) required for the project. Please contact if you have questions before submitting your application.
  • Certain datasets have particular access, availability, or quality limitations. Please see any notes listed beneath the dataset title on the restricted data category pages linked below.

BLS restricted data categories

Note: If you only require data from the public use files, you do not need to apply for access.

Employment and Unemployment

Compensation and Working Conditions

Prices and Living Conditions

  • Consumer Price Index (CPI)
    • Availability: CPI restricted data are available back to 1989.
  • International Price Program (IPP)
  • Producer Price Indexes (PPI)
  • Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE)
    • Accepted CE researchers must obtain Special Sworn Status (SSS) through the Census Bureau even though access is only available onsite at the BLS. Researchers will receive instructions for the process if their project is approved. BLS must receive confirmation from the U.S. Census Bureau that a researcher’s SSS has been approved before the researcher is permitted to access CE restricted data. The U.S. Census Bureau clearance takes approximately four weeks from when it is initiated.

Special Data Considerations


BLS can support only as many research projects at one time as resources (space, facilities, staff time, etc.) can accommodate. Depending on the demand for restricted data access, BLS may institute a waitlist placing new projects on hold until resources become available.

  1. There is a waitlist for projects requiring restricted Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) data access, with a current estimated wait time of a year.
  2. There is a waitlist for projects requiring restricted Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) data.

SIC to NAICs Conversion

In 2002, the BLS transitioned from using the Standard Industrial Classification System (SIC) to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Introduced in 1997, NAICS was the product of a collaborative effort between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. A classification system shared across the three countries allows direct comparison of economic data across borders in North America. NAICS codes are not related to SIC codes; rather NAICS is a completely redesigned way of coding industries. NAICS uses a six-digit hierarchical coding system to classify all economic activity into twenty industry sectors. This six-digit hierarchical structure allows greater coding flexibility than the four-digit structure of the SIC. BLS restricted historical data files for time periods before and including 2002 may be incomplete or unavailable. If you would like more information about available historical data for a particular dataset, please see the Contact BLS page. For more information about the NAICS conversion, NAICS codes, and the impact on BLS data, see

Helpful Guides

  1. Linking Firms with Establishments in BLS Microdata
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics Handbook of Methods
Last Modified Date: December 15, 2022