Monday, April 14, 2014

Keeping Up With Labor Market Changes: The Bureau of Labor Statistics

Everyone deserves the opportunity to have an occupation that provides a decent standard of living. Increasingly, earning a middle class income requires that workers have a post-secondary credential and regularly upgrade their skills. The recession accelerated this occupational transformation.  For the nation’s economic well-being, workers and their communities need to adjust to the new realities of the labor market. However, evidence suggests a growing mismatch between worker capabilities and employer needs. Left unchecked, this gap will impair the economic health of the nation and its workforce.

To address this issue, U.S. labor markets require access to current, accurate, detailed statistics. Labor market participants—individuals, educators, and employers—and policymakers at all levels of government need good data to make informed choices about, for example, career paths, training programs, hiring, and public investments. At present, however, labor market participants and policymakers do not have the statistics they need.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is the principal fact-finding agency for the Federal Government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics. It is responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. The BLS is an independent national statistical agency that collects, processes, analyzes, and disseminates essential statistical data to the American public, the U.S. Congress, other Federal agencies, State and local governments, business, and labor. The BLS also serves as a statistical resource to the Department of Labor.

BLS data satisfies a number of criteria, including relevance to current social and economic issues, timeliness in reflecting today’s rapidly changing economic conditions, accuracy and consistently high statistical quality, and impartiality in both subject matter and presentation. For more information on BLS or labor market activities, please visit http://www.bls.gov/ooh/

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