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Technical Advisory Committee Charter

Bureau of Labor Statistics
 Charter of the
Bureau of Labor Statistics Technical Advisory Committee Charter (PDF)

1. Official Designation. Bureau of Labor Statistics Technical Advisory Committee (BLSTAC or Committee).

2. Authority. The Secretary of Labor (Secretary), with the concurrence of the General Services Administration, hereby renews within the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the Bureau of Labor Statistics Technical Advisory Committee, in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), as amended, 5 U.S.C. App. 2.

3. Objectives and Scope of Activities. The BLSTAC presents advice and makes recommendations to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on technical aspects of data collection and the formulation of economic measures. The National Research Council volume on Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency prescribes that agencies obtain outside review through various channels, including standing advisory committees, to ensure “quality and professional standards of practice.” On some technical issues there are differing views, and receiving feedback at public meetings provides BLS with the opportunity to consider all viewpoints.

The BLS often faces highly technical issues while developing and maintaining the accuracy and relevancy of its data on employment and unemployment, prices, productivity, and compensation and working conditions. These issues range from how to develop new measures to how to make sure that existing measures account for the ever-changing economy. The BLS presents issues and then draws on the specialized expertise of Committee members representing specialized fields within the academic disciplines of economics, statistics and data science, and survey design. BLSTAC members are also invited to bring to the attention of BLS issues that have been identified in the academic literature or in their own research.

4. Description of Duties. The BLSTAC functions solely as an advisory body to the BLS, on technical topics selected by the BLS. Important aspects of the Committee's responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  1. Providing comments on papers and presentations developed by BLS research and program staff. The comments will address the technical soundness of the research and whether it reflects best practices in the relevant fields.
  2. Identifying research projects that can address technical problems with BLS statistics.
  3. Participating in discussions of areas where the types or coverage of economic statistics could be expanded or improved and areas where statistics are no longer relevant.

5. Agency or Official to Whom the Committee Reports. The Committee will report to the Commissioner of Labor Statistics.

6. Support. The Committee will be administratively housed at the BLS, U.S. Department of Labor. BLS will provide necessary funding support for the committee.

7. Estimated Annual Operating Costs and Staff Years. The estimated annual cost of operating the Committee is approximately $140,000. This cost includes one-half of the compensation and benefits costs of one economist and one-fourth of the compensation and benefits of one secretary, as well as travel expenses for members, equipment, supplies, contractual, and indirect costs for Committee meetings.

8. Designated Federal Officer. The Senior Research Economist in the Office of Productivity and Technology will serve as the Designated Federal Officer (DFO). The DFO will coordinate with the BLS Commissioner and the Committee Chair to approve or call all Committee meetings, prepare and approve all meeting agendas, attend all Committee and subcommittee meetings, and adjourn any meeting when determined to be in the public interest.

9. Estimated Number and Frequency of Meetings. The Committee normally meets twice annually.

10. Duration. The Committee has continuing responsibilities.

11. Termination.  The Committee will terminate two years from the date of filing of this charter, unless, prior to that time, the charter is renewed in accordance with Section 14. of FACA.

12. Membership and Designation

  1. Representation.  BLSTAC members are experts in economics, statistics, data science, and survey design.  They are prominent experts in their fields and recognized for their professional achievements and objectivity.  The economic experts will have research experience with technical issues related to BLS data and will be familiar with employment and unemployment statistics, price index numbers, compensation measures, productivity measures, occupational and health statistics, or other topics relevant to BLS data series.  The statistical experts will have experience with sample design, data analysis, computationally intensive statistical methods, non-sampling errors or other areas which are relevant to BLS work.  The data science experts will have experience compiling, modeling, analyzing, and interpreting large sets of structured and unstructured data.  The survey design experts will have experience with questionnaire design, usability, or other areas of survey development.  Collectively, the members will provide a balance of expertise in all of these areas.  The Committee consists of approximately 16 members who serve as Special Government Employees.
  2. Member Terms.  BLSTAC Members are appointed by the BLS and are approved by the Secretary.  Typically, members serve three-year terms.  To ensure continuity, however, terms are staggered as necessary to maintain an appointment cycle in which approximately one-third of the Committee’s members are appointed in subsequent years.  To achieve this purpose, members may be appointed for one-year terms, two-year terms, or three-year terms as necessary to maintain or re-establish staggered appointments.  Members may be reappointed to any number of additional terms.  The BLS appoints the chairperson annually.  Chairpersons are permitted to be reappointed.

  3. Membership Requirements

    i. Except as otherwise required by law, Committee membership will be consistent with the applicable FACA regulations, as follows:  (1) membership on the Committee will be fairly balanced; (2) members will come from a cross-section of those directly affected, interested, and qualified as appropriate to the nature and functions of the Committee; (3) the composition of the Committee will therefore depend upon several factors, including (a) the Committee’s mission; (b) the geographic, ethnic, social, economic, or scientific impact of the Committee’s recommendations; (c) the types of specific perspectives required; (d) the need to obtain divergent points of view on the issues before the Committee, such as, those of consumers, technical experts, the public at-large, academia, business, or other sectors; and (e) the relevance of state, local, or tribal governments to the development of the Committee’s recommendations.

    ii. To the extent permitted by FACA and other applicable laws, Committee membership should also be consistent with achieving the greatest impact, scope and credibility among diverse stakeholders.  The diversity in such membership includes, but is not limited to, race, gender, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

  4. Travel Expenses.  Members are not compensated, but their travel expenses for Committee meetings are paid by the BLS.

13. Subcommittees. BLS may establish subcommittees from among the Committee members as may be necessary. All subcommittees shall report to the Committee and will not provide advice directly to the agency.

14. Recordkeeping. Records of the Committee, formally and informally established subcommittees, working groups or other subgroups, shall be handled in accordance with General Records Schedule 6.2, Federal Advisory Committee Records, or other approved agency records disposition schedule. These records shall be available for public inspection and copying, subject to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552.

15. Filing Date. The charter is filed on the date indicated below.

Filing Date:    October 4, 2022     Secretary of Labor:    Martin J. Walsh   


Last Modified Date: October 4, 2022