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Southwest and Mountain-Plains Virtual Data User Conference - April 29, 2021

The severe economic impact of COVID-19 has created deep interest in both the original impact and the levels of economic recovery experienced thus far. The Southwest\Mountain-Plains Virtual Data Users’ Conference will bring together national BLS experts to discuss the effect of COVID-19 on employment, wages, prices, and production, providing some regional aspects when available. Join the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on April 29th from 9:30-12:30 CDT.

BLS Commissioner William Beach will discuss how the Agency has continued to collect data and produce gold standard numbers during the pandemic. Associate Commissioners Julie Hatch Maxfield and Jeffrey Hill will present data on employment, unemployment, and prices. Assistant Commissioner Hilery Simpson and economist Joana Allamani will cover the topics of wages, benefits, and work requirements during the pandemic. A short Q&A session will follow each presentation.

Event Information

  • When: Thursday, April 29, 2021
  • Where: Virtual via WebEx.
  • Time: 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. CENTRAL DAYLIGHT TIME, please login at 9:15 a.m.
  • Cost: FREE
  • Registration is required via Eventbrite no later than Tuesday, April 27, 2021, 5:00 p.m.
NOTE: After registration in Eventbrite, a separate invitation to the WebEx will follow.


9:15: Login for attendees

9:30: Welcome and Opening Remarks; BLS Southwest Regional Commissioner Michael Hirniak.

9:35–10:00: Challenges and Solutions to Data Collection in a Pandemic Environment

BLS Commissioner William Beach will discuss the challenges and unique difficulties of producing the Bureau’s Principal Economic Indicators during and after the pandemic.

10:00–10:45: COVID-19 Impacts on the U.S. Labor Market Featuring Regional Trends

Julie Hatch Maxfield, Associate Commissioner for Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics will discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it had a profound and immediate impact on the U.S. labor market. Over a year later, learn how quickly different industrial sectors are recovering the 22.4 million jobs lost in March and April 2020. Learn how the labor market’s sudden contraction and expansion has also impacted different demographic groups in a variety of ways.

10:45–11:00: BREAK

11:00–11:45: Wages, Benefits, Work Requirements, and the Pandemic

Hilery Simpson, Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Compensation Levels and Trends, and Joana Allamani, Economist, Office of Compensation Levels and Trends, will present information on BLS compensation and occupational requirements data that can be used to understand the impact of COVID-19. Data discussed will include the Employment Cost Index, which measures the change in the price of labor, Employee Benefits, and recently released Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics. Also presented are the results from two special BLS surveys that asked employers about changes to their leave plans that resulted from the pandemic.

11:45–12:30: Recent Price Changes: Is Inflation Heating Up?

Jeffrey Hill, Associate Commissioner for Office of Prices and Living Conditions will discuss how prices changed significantly at the start of the pandemic and have since reverted to pre-pandemic levels. With the Federal Reserve intent on keeping interest rates low, BLS data show what businesses and consumers are experiencing with regard to inflation.

12:30: Closing Remarks; BLS Southwest Regional Commissioner Michael Hirniak.


Contact Information

Feel free to forward this message to staff or colleagues who may be interested. Remember, registration via Eventbrite is required. If you have any questions, contact the Mountain-Plains Information Office at (816) 285-7000 (menu option 0) or send an email.