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7. The major continuing surveys designed to
monitor changes in the economic status of households should also include an option for an additional quarter at the end of the regular data collection period. This will permit data collection which cannot be accommodated during the regular survey period and testing of collection methods.
8. The Office of Federal Statistical Policy should
ensure coordination of statistical programs relating to income, wealth and consumption through membership on the interagency policy advisory groups in the three areas and through the Interagency
Committee on Income Distribution.
9. Use of existing administrative and survey files
should be made to improve the accuracy of estimates and to provide a more complete assessment of economic well being than can be provided through a single data set. Survey and administrative files should be designed to facilitate matching which can be accommodated within limitations required to protect confidentiality.
ulation Surveys (CPS). The integrity of the employment and unemployment estimates derived from the CPS should be protected by use of a CPS test panel to determine the effect
of additional questions. 12. The Bureau of Economic Analysis measures
of personal income by size and class should be expanded initially to include income after payment of personal income and social insurance taxes: subsequently they should be broadened further to include disposable personal income, consumer expenditures, and
personal savings. 13. An interagency task force should identify
practical methodologies for measuring the distribution of income in kind. The study should evaluate the alternative methodologies of collecting direct survey data and using indirect estimating procedures for selected
components. 14. The Interagency Committee on Income
Distribution should prepare a report on Federal requirements for data on the distribution of household wealth. The report should provide a basis for the development of wealth statistics pending the establishment of a continuing developmental program within the
Bureau of Economic Analysis. 15. A study should be made of the relationship of
household food consumption and expenditures to determine the extent to which the Current Consumer Expenditure Survey might provide current data on trends in food consumption. Consideration should also be given to development of a survey panel to permit detailed analysis of the expenditure patterns of low income households.
10. Abbreviated data sets should be employed to
improve the description of economic status and to improve the results of file matches. For example, a summary set of data from the Current Consumer Expenditure Survey should be seriously considered for inclusion in the Survey of Income and Program Participation.
11. Selected improvements in the measurement of
income which are successfully tested for the Survey of Income and Program Participation should be incorporated into the Current Pop
Chapter 12. LABOR STATISTICS
Uses and Users
scientific and technical personnel, and in other ways to provide a central clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation, and analysis of data on the availability of, and the current and projected need for, scientific and technical resources in the United States, and to provide a source of information for policy formulation by other agencies of the Federal Government.”
The labor statistics' program of the U.S. Government is designed to provide macroeconomic indicators for use in the evaluation and formulation of public policy, in the implementation of public laws, and in the analysis of the workings of the labor market processes. Industry and area data are provided for use in the development of an overall and comprehensive set of labor market information for use by regional, State, and local government officials as well as by labor and management and the academic communities.
The need for a comprehensive system of labor statistics has been enunciated in the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (29 U.S.C. 882) which provides that "the Secretary shall develop a comprehensive system of labor market information on a national, State, local, or other appropriate basis, which shall be made publicly available in a timely fashion." That statute also provides for "the use of selected sample surveys, to produce more statistically accurate data on unemployment, underemployment and labor demand by State, local and poverty areas." In addition, 29 U.S.C. 882 requires data on unemployment, labor force participation, involuntary part-time employment, and full-time employment at less than poverty wages in the Nation. This expression of need is a restatement of the mandate contained in the 1888 law creating the Bureau of Labor Statistics and in subsequent legislation. For example in 1913, 37 Stat. 737 (29 U.S.C. 2) provided for the collection, collation and reporting of "full and complete statistics of the conditions of labor and the products and distribution of the same...for all...industries throughout the United States and also by States...." Employment, wages, and hours by industry were specifically mentioned in the 1913 statute. In 1940, productivity and labor costs were added to the statutory mandate (29 U.S.C. 2b).
In addition, the National Science Foundation is required by law to “maintain a current register of
'Occupational safety and health programs are excluded from the following discussion of labor statistics. A discussion of those programs can be found in the chapter on environment statistics.
The basic labor statistics of the United States are regularly used by the Joint Economic Committee of the Congress, the House and Senate Labor Committees, House and Senate Public Works Committees, the Congressional Budget Office, as well as a number of other committees established on either a standing or special basis. Within the executive branch the data are used by virtually every Department in preparing economic impact statements, in letting contracts covered by either the Davis-Bacon or the Service Contracts Acts, and in making recommendations respecting future public policy. The data are specifically used by the Council of Economic Advisers, other major economic policy members, and by the Departments of Labor and Commerce, among others, charged with distributing Federal resources on the basis of formulas which include labor force components. Further, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service uses occupational wage rate and hours data, average hourly earnings data, and other information about wages and hours in their mediation efforts. The Council on Wage and Price Stability uses all of the data series, but particularly those relating to occupational and nonoccupational wages and benefits, earnings, hours, and productivity. The Office of Management and Budget uses labor force and unemployment data in making projections about the impact of the Federal budget and of fiscal policy. The Federal Reserve Board uses labor statistics data in their analysis of the impact of alternative monetary policies. The Bureau of Economic Analysis uses labor statistics data as inputs into the economic accounts. Moreover, a comprehensive set of labor statistics is required to evaluate various tax proposals, relating both to individuals and to businesses, to evaluate the appropriateness of the minimum wage and hour standards
established under the Fair Labor Standards Act, to labor economists and statisticians to discuss proanalyze the combined effects of the private pension grams, techniques, and emerging programs. The system and the Social Security and Railroad Bureau also receives advice from the professional Retirement systems, the interaction between federally associations such as the American Statistical sponsored health programs such as medicare and Association, the Industrial Relations Research private programs (most of the coverage under which Association, and the American Economic results from an employment related situation), the Association as well as from such organizations as the adequacy of unemployment benefits and the Federal Statistics Users' Conference, the National interrelationship between unemployment benefits Bureau of Economic Research and the Interstate and supplemental unemployment and other benefits Conference of Employment Security Agencies both provided by or through employers.
by participating in meetings that these organizations
sponsor as well as through other formal and informal In the private sector, the data are used by labor and
contacts. management for collective bargaining, by business in formulating business strategies, and by academics in At present there is no standing advisory committee their analyses of the functioning of the economy and whose sole function is to advise on statistical the interrelationships of the various components in methodology and procedure and on changes in the state the economy. State and local governments use the of the art respecting statistical processing. data in much the same way as does the Federal Notwithstanding the Government's expertise in this Government. In addition, State and local area, and particularly that of the BLS and the Bureau governments use labor statistics in the of the Census, new techniques and methods are implementation of numerous Federal and State pro developed by private sector units (most notably by grams including the unemployment insurance pro the academic community but also by private gram. Private sector and State and local jurisdictions consulting firms and by other business organizause national and local area labor statistics in tions). Moreover, the statistical methods and developing affirmative action plans and these sectors procedures employed by the statistical agencies and the Federal Government use the data in should regularly be subject to a thorough review by evaluating the plans which are developed. Further, outside recognized experts acting in a consultative both the Federal Government and State and local role.? Such a review would at least assure that the governments use occupational wage rate data at the procedures employed are not being employed simply local level in the process of establishing pay plans for because they are in place. In addition, such a comtheir employees. The Federal Government also uses mittee could routinely review the concepts underlying selected national level occupational wage data in the each data series and either suggest appropriate process of setting most Federal pay scales.
changes or add weight to the signals suggesting the
need for a full-scale review of such concepts. Advisory Groups
In large part, the need for such independent review
will be met, though on a one-time basis for major The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor
areas, by the new National Commission on Statistics (BLS) is the principal Federal agency in
Employment and Unemployment Statistics, volved in the collection and analysis of labor statistics
mentioned earlier. This Commission was established as such. Its principal advisory groups are the Labor
under P.L. 94-444 whose mandate is to: Research Advisory Council and the Business Research Advisory Council. Both these councils advise BLS on needs for new series and on
1. Identify the needs of the Nation for labor force methodology. BLS also receives advice from panels
statistics and assess the extent to which current convened to consider a single major aspect of labor
procedures, concepts, and methodology in the statistics. A major effort of this nature, for example,
collection, analysis, and presentation of such was that of the President's Committee to Appraise
statistics constitute a comprehensive, reliable, Employment and Unemployment Statistics which
timely, and consistent system of measuring was established in 1961 on the recommendation of the Secretary of Labor. Presently it is anticipating a report from the National Commission on
?The statistical agencies do have outside groups and organiza
tions review their procedures and methodologies. For example, the Employment and Unemployment Statistics which
BLS cooperated with the National Bureau of Economic Research held its initial meeting in April 1978.
which examined the Wholesale Price Index under a contract from
the Council on Wage and Price Stability (COWPS). Before letting In addition, BLS annually sponsors a meeting of the contract, the COWPS and BLS agreed on the need and State, local, and foreign governments and with other desirability of the NBER review.
employment and unemployment and indicating
trends therein; and 2. Conduct or provide (through contract with
institutions, organizations, and individuals, or appropriate Federal or State agencies, or otherwise) for such studies, hearings, research, or other activities as it deems necessary to enable it to formulate appropriate recom
mendations. The Commission, according to the Act, is to report its findings and recommendations to the President and the Congress within 18 months after the date of appointment of the first five (of the nine) members of the Commission. Thus the report is due in the fall of 1979.
In preparing its report, the Commission shall consider the following: 1. The methodology of collection of employment
and unemployment data at all levels, including
National, regional, State, and local statistics; 2. The methodology of analysis of such data, in
cluding its relevance and application; 3. The methodology of presentation of
employment and unemployment statistics, including the dissemination, current utilization,
and application of such statistics; 4. Alternative methods of such collection,
analysis, and presentation; 5. The need for additional special statistical
surveys (including longitudinal studies) and re
ports on a continuing basis; 6. The need for additional data and analysis on job
vacancies, job turnover, job matching, discouraged workers, part-time workers, youth, minorities, women, and other labor force
participants; 7. Accuracy and uniformity of seasonal
adjustments in all categories of labor force
statistics; 8. Methods of achieving current, accurate, and
uniform employment and unemployment statistics on a State and local basis, including their use as a determinant of the allocation of
Federal assistance; 9. The need for, and methods to obtain, data
relating employment status and earnings, economic hardship, and family support
obligations; 10. The extent to which employment and earnings
data assist in determining the impact of public programs and policies upon persons who are economically disadvantaged, unemployed, or
underemployed; 11. The availability of and need for periodic
information on education and training enrollments and completions in the public and
private sectors; 12. Statistical indicators of the relationship
between education and training and subsequent employment, earnings, and
unemployment experience; 13. The value and usefulness of other statistics
regarding employment and unemployment, such as those obtained through operation of
the unemployment insurance system; 14. The availability of and need for current and
projected occupational information, particularly on a local basis, to assist youths and adults in making training, education, and
career choices; and 15. Such other matters as the Commission deems
appropriate or necessary, including such matters as are suggested by the President or by the Congress that the Commission deems appropriate.
Data Requirements To meet the needs for information about labor, there should be a comprehensive system of labor statistics which includes an integrated information set at the national, regional, State, and local area levels. Such an integrated data set should provide information on the labor force and its composition, the number of workers employed by occupation, industry, and area, and the number of hours worked and hours paid for and wages paid for that work together with the benefits received in addition to wages, and the expenditures made by employers for wages and benefits combined. In addition, a comprehensive system should include information about the annual earnings of workers from all employers and from each industry in which they were employed, the prevalence of collective bargaining, wages, earnings, and benefits as well as on work stoppages and labor turnover. Data about the utilization of labor without information about the output of labor is incomplete. Information about labor output and the unit labor cost of producing the goods and services are necessary to an overall evaluation of the economic well-being of the country. Furthermore, as output can be increased without greater efforts on the