Better Labor Data Means Better Strategic Job Creation for American Workers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced on its website a proposed 2012 Budget offered by the Obama administration related to tracking employment information in hopes of supplying vital information for better strategic job growth and improved economic health in America. As a policy maker or business owner this vital and timely labor data could provide beneficial information to create strategic employment planning and implementation going forward.

Streamlining systems with an eye to technology and modernization the budgetary proposal highlights include initiatives to enhance the capability of the BLS to produce data on contingent work and alternative work arrangements, work schedules and other topics relating to workplace flexibility, along with other issues. In odd years, the BLS will conduct the Contingent Work Supplement to capture data on contingent work and alternative work arrangements. In even years, the BLS will conduct other supplements relevant to the BLS mission, including topics that will provide more data on workplace flexibility and work-family balance.

It is proposed to enhance the capability of the BLS to produce timely and relevant data on the U.S. labor market. This will ensure that information is available on the employment and socioeconomic conditions of youth, including differences by sex, race, and ethnicity, and subsequent labor market experiences as they progress through later stages of their lives. The cost of this proposal will be partially offset by elongating the two existing NLS surveys.

In addition the proposal intends to elongate the National Longitudinal Surveys Fielding Schedules (NLS) in order to collect timely employment data with better quality and usability standards. The latest information shown currently is from 2009 which in today’s world is not usable information. Making this investment now in order to be able to make informed reality-based decisions for the future is essential to the future of the US labor force.

This new push for technological updating of this vital information includes carrying forward the following program changes from the 2011 President’s Budget :

• Modernize the Consumer Expenditure survey

• Reduce the Variance of the Consumer Price Index (CPI)

• Research Improvements to the Frame of Retail Outlets in the CPI

• Develop a Supplementary Statistical Poverty Measure Eliminate the International Labor Comparisons Program

The Bureau of Labor statistics website states that in order to reduce costs and improve efficiency other older programs may fall by the wayside in order to make way for new more effective measures.