Restricted Data

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 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)
    • 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

Waiting Lists

BLS accepts only as many research projects for onsite access as resources (space, facilities, staff time, etc.) can accommodate. The BLS may postpone access to the confidential data files from prices and living conditions programs (CE, CPI, and PPI) and the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program due to the high demand for these data files. Researchers are encouraged to still apply. As current projects are completed, researchers will be admitted in the order in which their projects 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


Last Modified Date: March 17, 2017