BLS restricted data characteristics
- All BLS restricted data available to researchers are based on released data. Pre-release 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 RDA_Admin@bls.gov if you have questions prior to submitting your application.
- Certain datasets have particular access, availability, and/or quality limitations. Please see any notes listed below 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)
**Please note: A waiting list for new projects requiring CPI restricted data access is in effect. See "Queues/Waiting Lists" below.
- Availability: CPI restricted data are available back to 1989.
- International Price Program (IPP)
- Producer Price Indexes (PPI) **Please note: A waiting list for new projects requiring PPI restricted data access is in effect. See "Queues/Waiting Lists" below.
- 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 accepts only as many research projects for onsite access as resources (space, facilities, staff time, etc.) can accommodate. Depending on the demand for restricted data access and/or resource availability, BLS may institute a queue (activation of new projects occurs as current projects are completed) or a waiting list (activation of new projects on hold until further notice) for approved access to certain datasets.
**As of October 2017, a waiting list has been instituted for approved projects requiring access to CPI and PPI restricted data until further notice. If you have submitted a proposal currently pending review or plan to submit a proposal that requires CPI and/or PPI data access, your proposal will be reviewed and evaluated by the MARB. If approved, your project will be placed on a waiting list pending available BLS resources to accommodate the work. Should resources become available, projects on the waiting lists will be activated in the order in which they were approved.
*A queue is in effect for projects requiring restricted Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) data access with a current estimated wait time of two years. As current projects are completed, approved projects in the QCEW queue will be activated in the order in which they were approved.
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 https://www.bls.gov/bls/naics.htm
Last Modified Date: October 27, 2017