Welcome to the Commissioner's Corner. The BLS is the principal Federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. The Bureau operates more than two dozen surveys and programs that measure employment and unemployment, compensation, worker safety, productivity, price trends, consumer spending patterns, and Americans' use of time.
The BLS website provides a wealth of information on these surveys and programs; you should visit it often to keep informed about new BLS data and products. The Commissioner's Corner provides information on the many other areas in which BLS is involved and highlights our testimony before Congressional committees, public speeches by BLS leadership, awards and recognitions, and outstanding new products on the BLS website.
John M. Galvin
Bureau of Labor Statistics
This week the BLS published a new edition of Beyond the Numbers examining the impact of this past summer's drought on corn export prices. The report compares the 2012 drought with droughts in 1988 and 1995. The report notes that the effects of the 2012 drought differ because of the shift since the mid-1990s in how corn is used, with a declining share used for domestic feed grain and residual purposes and a growing share used for ethanol production.
November 2, 2012
Here is a link to Acting Commissioner Galvin's statement on the October employment situation news release.
This week the BLS published a new edition of Beyond the Numbers examining employment and wages in community and social service occupations. The report looks at workers whose jobs involve such activities as counseling individuals with substance abuse and behavioral problems, providing social assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of families, or offering spiritual and moral guidance to members of a faith.
October 26, 2012
This week the BLS published a new edition of our annual report examining women's earnings, featuring data for 2011. The report examines data from the Current Population Survey, a monthly nationwide survey of about 60,000 households that provides information on employment, unemployment, earnings, and other measures of the U.S. labor market.
BLS Associate Commissioner Bill Wiatrowski appeared recently during the "America by the Numbers" segment on the C-SPAN program Washington Journal. Mr. Wiatrowski discussed BLS data on pay and benefits. Watch the video, below.
BLS Associate Commissioner Tom Nardone appeared recently during the "America by the Numbers" segment on the C-SPAN program Washington Journal. Mr. Nardone discussed BLS data on employment and unemployment. Watch the video, below.
BLS Associate Commissioner Bill Wiatrowski appeared recently during the "America by the Numbers" segment on the C-SPAN program Washington Journal. Mr. Wiatrowski discussed BLS data on injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in the workplace. Watch the video, below.
This week the BLS published the 2012 edition of Charting International Labor Comparisons, a collection of charts that compares key economic measures across countries. The charts in this collection feature data for 2010 and historical trends on gross domestic product, labor force, hourly compensation costs and productivity in manufacturing, and consumer prices. Depending on the measure, the charts include up to 36 countries, and many of the charts are interactive.
Also this week the BLS published a news release on consumer expenditures in 2011. The release presents information on how consumers allocate their spending. The feature The Editor's Desk includes charts showing trends in consumer expenditures in recent years and how the allocation of spending varies among consumers of different income levels.
This week the BLS published a news release on fatal occupational injuries in 2011. The release presents information on the number of fatal work injuries overall and in each industry, occupational group, and state. The release also provides information on the characteristics of workers who were killed on the job and the types of incidents that led to their deaths.
Today the BLS published a new Spotlight on Statistics on National Hispanic Heritage Month. The Spotlight features charts and brief analysis from a number of BLS programs on the Hispanic or Latino labor force—including employment, unemployment, educational attainment, geographic location, country of birth, earnings, consumer expenditures, time use, and workplace injuries.
September 7, 2012
Here is a link to Acting Commissioner Galvin's statement on the August employment situation news release.
With today's release of U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes for July 2012, the BLS has expanded the number of import price indexes available by the country or region of origin. Since 1992 the BLS has published indexes for the country or region—also called the locality—from which the imports originated, but the only industry detail was the broad groupings for manufactured and nonmanufactured goods. The new indexes cover select industry sectors across the 15 currently published localities, including 31 new price indexes covering imports from China and 20 indexes for imports from the European Union. In total, 249 indexes have been added across the various localities. More information about these new indexes and their potential uses is available in a new edition of Beyond the Numbers published this week called "Bureau of Labor Statistics introduces new locality of origin import price indexes by industry sector."
August 3, 2012
Here is a link to Acting Commissioner Galvin's statement on the July employment situation news release.
Also, this week the BLS published the July issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The July issue features two articles on the measurement of real output and productivity in commercial banking. Another article examines recent trends in the characteristics of people who receive unemployment insurance benefits. A fourth article examines BLS data on occupational hearing loss. Each issue of the Monthly Labor Review also includes book reviews, summaries of economic research published by other organizations, and more.
Some new material was recently added to the BLS website on the History of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Included is a very interesting timeline of major milestones by decade in the birth of new BLS programs and the introduction of important advances in our methods. You also can read brief biographies of the 13 Commissioners who have led the Bureau since it was established in 1884.
July 6, 2012
Here is a link to Acting Commissioner Galvin's statement on the June employment situation news release.
Today the BLS published its first news release on Green Technologies and Practices. The data are from a survey that asked approximately 35,000 business establishments about their use of green technologies and practices and the occupations of workers who spend more than half of their time involved in green technologies and practices. The BLS has measured green jobs using two approaches, an output-based approach and a process-based approach. On March 22, the BLS published its first news release on Green Goods and Services, which examined data using the output-based approach. Today's news release examined data using the process-based approach. These reports are two components of the measurement and analysis of green jobs in the U.S. economy.
Also starting this week, the BLS is now on Twitter. You can follow us @BLS_gov.
June 22, 2012
This week the BLS published a new Spotlight on Statistics on fashion. The Spotlight features charts and brief analysis from a number of BLS programs on the design, manufacture, and sale of clothing, shoes, and accessories.
Also this week, the BLS published a news release on how Americans spent their time in 2011. This release includes data collected for the first time in 2011 on eldercare. Eldercare providers are those who provided unpaid care to someone over the age of 65 who needed help because of a condition related to aging. Information on time spent in eldercare and other activities is collected in the American Time Use Survey.
This week the BLS published a news release on Labor Force Characteristics of the Foreign Born in 2011. Information on country of birth is collected in the Current Population Survey (CPS), a nationwide survey of about 60,000 households that provides information on employment, unemployment, earnings, and other measures of the U.S. labor market. The foreign born are persons who reside in the United States but who were born outside the country or one of its outlying areas to parents who were not U.S. citizens. The foreign born include legally admitted immigrants, refugees, temporary residents such as students and temporary workers, and undocumented immigrants. The CPS does not separately identify the numbers of persons in these categories.
May 18, 2012
BLS Assistant Commissioner Phil Doyle appeared recently during the "America by the Numbers" segment on the C-SPAN program Washington Journal. Mr. Doyle discussed trends in pay and benefits based on data from the National Compensation Survey. Watch the video, below.
The BLS this week premiered a new publication called Beyond the Numbers. This publication will serve as a source of timely, interesting analysis of BLS data and trends. Beyond the Numbers brings together the analyses previously found in Issues in Labor Statistics, Focus on Prices and Spending, Program Perspectives, Regional Reports, and OES Highlights. The first article in Beyond the Numbers, "International air passenger fares shrug off the recession," discusses how the price of international airfare changed during and after the recent global recession. The second article, "How new fees are affecting the Producer Price Index for air travel," examines how the introduction of baggage and cancellation fees affects the price of domestic airfare.
We hope you enjoy Beyond the Numbers.
May 4, 2012
Here is a link to Acting Commissioner Galvin's statement on the April employment situation news release.
Also this week, the BLS published a news release on Employment Characteristics of Families in 2011. Information on family relationships is collected in the Current Population Survey (CPS), a nationwide survey of about 60,000 households that provides information on employment, unemployment, earnings, and other measures of the U.S. labor market. The feature The Editor's Desk includes an interactive chart showing the employment status of parents in different types of families.
April 20, 2012
Earlier this week, the BLS published a news release on College Enrollment and Work Activity of 2011 High School Graduates. Information on school enrollment and work activity is collected monthly in the Current Population Survey (CPS), a nationwide survey of about 60,000 households that provides information on employment, unemployment, earnings, and other measures of the U.S. labor market. Each October, a supplement to the CPS gathers more detailed information about school enrollment, such as full- and part-time enrollment status. The feature The Editor's Desk includes an interactive chart showing labor force participation rates of high school and college students and young adults not enrolled in school.
April 6, 2012
Here is a link to Acting Commissioner Galvin's statement on the March employment situation news release.
The BLS has released the 2012–2013 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH). The OOH is the nation's most widely used source of career information. Counselors, students, parents, teachers, jobseekers, career changers, education and training officials, and researchers use the OOH to obtain comprehensive and up-to-date information on hundreds of occupations. The OOH has been redesigned this year to include several new features to make it more visually appealing and easier for users to find what they are looking for.
The BLS has measured green jobs using two approaches, an output-based approach and a process-based approach. Output-based jobs are associated with producing goods or providing services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources. Process-based jobs are those in which workers' duties make their employer’s production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources. The news release on Green Goods and Services examines the output approach only. Later this year the BLS will report on the process approach based on data from the Green Technologies and Practices survey. These surveys are two components of the measurement and analysis of green jobs in the U.S. economy.
March 22, 2012
Earlier this week, the BLS published the annual news release on the employment situation of U.S. military veterans in 2011. These data on veterans were collected through the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a monthly survey of about 60,000 households that obtains information on employment, unemployment, earnings, and other measures of the U.S. labor market. In August 2011, a supplement to the CPS collected additional information about veterans on topics such as service-connected disability. Information from the supplement is also presented in the news release. The supplement was co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and by the U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service.
March 9, 2012
Here is a link to Acting Commissioner Galvin's statement on the February employment situation news release.
Recently BLS began using interactive graphics in some of our web publications. Interactive graphics enable readers to choose the data they want to see displayed and are especially useful for exploring topics that take in large numbers of data series, such as employment trends for all 50 states. With a traditional static chart, it would be nearly impossible for a reader to distinguish the trend line of one state from any other. An interactive chart enables users to select one or a few states at a time and change the states that are displayed. Other features that are sometimes present in interactive graphics include highlighting a specific aspect of the graphic or displaying pertinent information when "mousing over" the area. We plan to include interactive features when appropriate in more of our charts and maps in the future. Some recent examples of BLS web publications that include interactive charts are the Spotlight on Statistics on the Recession of 2007–2009 and The Editor's Desk feature of February 27, 2012.
February 23, 2012
Earlier this week, the BLS published the annual news release on Volunteering in the United States. The volunteer rate rose by 0.5 percentage point to 26.8 percent for the year ending in September 2011. About 64.3 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2010 and September 2011. The increase in the volunteer rate in 2011 followed a decline of equal size in 2010. These data on volunteering were collected through a supplement to the September 2011 Current Population Survey (CPS). The supplement was sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The CPS is a monthly survey of about 60,000 households that obtains information on employment, unemployment, earnings, and other measures of the U.S. labor market. Volunteers are defined as persons who did unpaid work (except for expenses) through or for an organization. The feature The Editor's Desk includes charts showing the volunteer rates in recent years and the characteristics of volunteers in the most recent survey.
February 16, 2012
BLS Associate Commissioner Mike Horrigan appeared recently during the "America by the Numbers" segment on the C-SPAN program Washington Journal. Dr. Horrigan discussed how the Consumer Price Index is calculated and how the data are used by government, businesses, and individuals to make decisions. Watch the video, below.
Earlier this week, the BLS published the annual news release on work stoppages resulting from major strikes or lockouts. There were 19 major work stoppages in 2011, idling 113,000 workers for 1.02 million lost workdays, a large increase compared to 2010, which had 11 major work stoppages idling 45,000 workers for 302,000 lost workdays. The largest work stoppage in 2011 was between Verizon Communications and the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, with 45,000 workers and 450,000 lost workdays. A high profile work stoppage between the National Football League (NFL) and NFL Players Association idled 1,900 players for a total of 178,600 lost workdays. The feature The Editor’s Desk includes a chart of work stoppages and lost workdays in recent years.
February 3, 2012
Here is a link to Acting Commissioner Galvin's statement on the January employment situation news release, which he delivered before the Congressional Joint Economic Committee.
Since July 2009 the Bureau of Labor Statistics has measured customer satisfaction with the BLS website using the American Customer Satisfaction Index. BLS will use this information to identify areas for improvements. A summary of the results for July 2009 through June 2011 reveals that Site Performance and Content scored highly, while Navigation and Search are areas most in need of improvement. Thank you to everyone who has completed a survey when you have visited the BLS website.
February 1, 2012
Today BLS published its 2010–20 projections of employment by occupation and industry, as well as for the labor force and overall economy. These projections show that occupations and industries related to health care, personal care and social assistance, and construction are expected to have the fastest job growth between 2010 and 2020. Total employment is projected to grow by 14.3 percent over the decade, resulting in 20.5 million new jobs. Despite rapid projected growth, construction is not expected to regain all of the jobs lost during the 2007–09 recession. The new projections are at www.bls.gov/emp.
These projections are the first to incorporate a new BLS system that depicts education, training, and related work experience typically needed for occupations. The results show, for example, that in occupations in which a master's degree is typically needed for entry, employment is expected to grow by 21.7 percent—faster than the growth rate for any other education category. In occupations in which apprenticeship is the typical on-the-job training, employment is expected to grow by 22.5 percent, faster than for any other on-the-job training category.
The BLS projections are widely used by high school students and their teachers and parents, college students, career changers, and career development and guidance specialists. Federal agencies, researchers, and academics also use the projections to understand trends in the economy and labor market. State workforce agencies use the BLS projections to prepare State and area projections that are used by policymakers and education and training officials to make decisions about education and training policy, funding, and program offerings.
The winter 2011–12 issue of the Occupational Outlook Quarterly, also published today, provides a graphic presentation of the projections. It is available at www.bls.gov/ooq.
The projections are also the foundation of the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook, the nation's most widely used career information resource. The 2012–13 edition of the Handbook, to be published online in late March, will be the first using a "made-for-the-web" design and improved search tools. Watch for the announcement about the new Handbook at www.bls.gov/ooh.
Keith Hall was Commissioner from January 2008 to January 2012.
January 6, 2012
Here is a link to Keith Hall's statement on the December employment situation news release.