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Five government data sources on the labor, employment and economy beat

July 26, 2016

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U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic

If  you’re reporting on labor, employment or the economy, you’ll need numbers to tell your stories. Thankfully, government data is regularly updated online and can lead to numerous money angles. Here are five government data sources that give you quick access to the information you need:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website has the latest national numbers for key economic indicators. If you want to peak at how well the economy is doing, you can find things like the current Consumer Price Index, unemployment rate and average hourly earnings. The bureau reports this information by month and you can view the data historically to see trends over time.  The website also identifies specific topics in different reviews and highlights of facts and statistics.

U.S. Department of Commerce

Like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Department of Commerce also keeps a list of key economic indicators updated with data on its website. At the Department of Commerce, you’ll find the latest numbers from data sources connected to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, like personal income and manufacturing inventories. Even if some government sites have similar databases and indicators, still monitor as many as you can regularly. Some bureaus may pull data that others don’t have.

U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau has specific data on the labor force. On its website, you can find your way to information on things like work experience and earnings and employment history. The Census Bureau also gives access to the American Community Survey, an ongoing survey that finds yearly information on jobs, occupations, whether people own or rent their homes and educational attainment too. This survey provides a great resource to find very localized information on the job force.

Economic and Statistics Administration

Like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Economic and Statistics Administration has regularly updated numbers for key economic indicators on its front page. You can find current and historical numbers on things like construction spending, new residential sales and retail trade. The ESA also has useful reports that delve deeper into certain topics, like “What is Made In America?”

U.S. Department of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has a number of informative articles on different issues in the labor force across the country. As far as data, its portal containing enforcement data provides a useful tool for business reporters. On the department’s website, you can  find a map of different violations and inspections from agencies like OSHA, MSHA and EBSA. The DOL also has sections of its website dedicated to the employment of veterans and women. You can find articles, reports and databases on issues involving both demographics that offer new money angles.


  • Rian Bosse

    Rian Bosse is a PhD student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. He earned his undergraduate degree in English from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2012 and worked for a small daily newspaper, the Daily Journal, in his hometown o...

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