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last updated: 6/13/2013

Data Pathfinders: Employment Statistics

Basic Print Sources | Electronic Resources Online


Basic Print Sources

I have listed the print sources available at IUB Wells Library here, but the best place to look for labor and employment statistics is online. Good online resources are listed after the print resources. The U.S. government seems to do a much better job at keeping up with such statistics, whether in print or online.


Note: Some locations of print materials may have changed. Consult IUCAT for current locations.


U.S. Labor and Employment Statistics in Print

  • Handbook of U.S. Labor Statistics. Jacobs, Eva E., ed. 2000.
    [ET2 Reference Desk: HD 8051.A63].
    This may be the best print resource available on the topic. Includes not just present statistics and projections, but also 50-year summaries (e.g., 1948-1998). Includes a nice index. The tables are very easy to use.

  • Employment and Earnings. U.S. Department of Labor 1954-present.
    [ET2 Stacks: L 2.41/2:].
    We have editions from 1954 to the present. Published monthly and bound together in threes (e.g., July-August-September). Very up-to-date data. Each issue begins with a review of what happened labor wise (statistically). Each issue contains the exact same sets of tables, but, of course, they are updated each month. Focuses on age, sex, industry, and race. Some tables look at total average pay rate per job/sector; others look at total number of employees per sector per major/semi-major city per state. Many tables will give you statistics all the way back to the 1950s or 1960s for comparative purposes. A somewhat intimidating but thorough resource for students.

  • Occupational Outlook Handbook.
    [ET2 Reference Desk: L 2.3/4:2000-01].
    For each occupation, the following topics are covered: Nature of the work; working conditions; employment; training, other qualifications, and advancement; job outlook; earnings; related occupations; sources of additional information. This is a terrific resource; very well put together.

  • Career Guide to Industries.
    [ET2 Reference Desk: L 2.3/4-3:2000-01].
    The companion piece to Occupational Outlook Handbook, but from an industry perspective.

  • Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment--News. Bureau of Labor Statistics 1998.
    [ET2 Stacks: L 2.111/5:].
    Published since 1979, these bulletins are divided by state, region, and city, and are also divided into four sectors: 1) trade, 2) finance, insurance, and real estate, 3) services, and 4) government. A nice source for very raw statistics, this source is a lot like Employment and Earnings in content and format.

  • Employment Outlook, 1998-2008: Occupational Change from an Industry Perspective. U.S. Department of Labor 2000.
    [ET2 Stacks: L 2.3:2522].
    BLS has been making such projections for four decades for career counseling and policy making. Nice tables and graphs for projected change per sector. Seems to be a nice resource, but one shouldn't get too carried away with the projections. Predictions/projections say more about the time during which these predictions are made than they do about any time in the future.

  • Monthly Labor Review. BLS. 1915-present.
    [ET2 Stacks: L 2.6:].
    We have every issue since 1915. Excellent articles, topics change. Sets of tables provided in the latter half of each publication do not, however, change (their format and topics, that is). Actually explains each table and the terminology being used, which is somewhat rare for government statistical publications.

  • CPI Detailed Report. Previously known as Consumer Price Index. BLS 1996-present.
    [ET2 Stacks: L 2.38/3:].
    Published monthly by Breau of Labor Statistics. Each issue contains a featured research article followed by over 100 pages of tables about the CPI. The same tables are updated each month. Most of the tables are concerned with percent changes from the same month of the previous year, while some go back ten years. A nice resource if one knows what to do with such statistics, as the writers/compilers assume a basic level of specialized knowledge. Looks at different regions of the country.

  • PPI Detailed Report. Previously known as Wholesale Prices and Price Indexes and Producer Price Indexes. 1971-present.
    [ET2 Stacks: L 2.61:].
    The obvious companion piece to the CPI Detailed Report. One group of tables is concerned with the net output of selected industries (and there are many industries selected here) and looks at changes in the PPI over a two-month and a one-year period. The other major group of tables is concerned with PPI and percent changes for commodity groupings and individual items. Again, like the CPI Detailed Report, this resource assumes that the reader already knows how to interpret such data.

  • Occupational Outlook Quarterly. 1957-present.
    [ET2 Stacks: L 2.70/4:].
    Regular features include: more than fifty charts of the newest labor force, industry, and occupational projections in the Winter issue of odd-numbered volumes; "Job Outlook in Brief" for 250 occupations in the Spring issue of even-numbered volumes; and outlook in occupations requiring college in the Summer issue of the even-numbered volumes. Indexes to the volumes are put out every few years; the latest seems to be the "Index to the OOQ, 1995-99" included in the back of the Winter 1999-2000 volume.

  • Where to Find BLS Statistics on Women. U.S. Department of Labor 1998.
    [ET2 Stacks: L 2.71:920/998].
    Published in 1998. Seems to be interested only in data released since 1990.

  • Understanding the Consumer Price Index: Answers to Some Questions. 1996.
    [ET2 Stacks: L 2.2:C 76/19/996].
    Obviously this little pamphlet will help someone who doesn't yet know how to read and use CPI statistics.

  • Working in the 21st Century. U.S. Department of Labor 2001.
    [ET2 Stacks: L 2.2:W 89/16].
    If you're looking for hard statistics, go somewhere else. But if you're looking for big, flashy tables on general trends and projected trends in the national workforce, this is definitely worth a look.

  • National Compensation Survey.
    [ET2 Stacks: L 2.121/].
    Most of these surveys were published around 1999. Seemingly all fairly large metropolitan areas (as well as some not-so-large areas, like Bloomington!) are included. The tables contained within provide information on earnings of workers in a variety of occupations and at different work levels. Data presented focus on wage and salaries, incentive pay, cost-of-living adjustments, and hazard pay.

  • Report on the American Workforce.
    [ET2 Reference Desk: L 1.90/2:1999].
    The 1999 edition--the fourth such Report--covers three themes: 1) Workplace responses to an increasingly competitive global environment; 2) the central role of improved skills for all participants in the labor market; and 3) the balance of work and family. Each section includes text and statistics to support it. The appendix in the back organizes statistical tables along thematic lines, which is somewhat unusual and quite helpful.

  • Employment, Hours, and Earnings: United States, 1990-95.
    [ET2 Reference Desk: L 2.3:2465].
    Looks at the statistics by industry and by month for each of the years (1990-95). And, for each industry, statistics are provided for the following: Total number of employees, total number of women employees, total number of nonsupervisory workers, nonsupervisory worker average weekly hours, average hourly earnings, and average weekly earnings. Very straightforward.

International Labor and Employment Statistics in Print

  • Bulletin of Labour Statistics. Quarterly.
    [ET2 Reference Desk: HD 4826.I 53].
    Employment, unemployment, hours worked, and CPI are all chosen topics here. Most countries seem to be participating. Not all countries keep track of labor statistics in the same way--i.e., one country will compile the statistics monthly, while another country will compile the statistics 2-3 times a year.

  • OECD Employment Outlook: June 2001.
    [ET2 Reference Desk: HD 5707.E 47 2001].
    Some of the articles and tables here are somewhat esoteric, but if you're looking for international comparative labor data, well, you should at least give this resource a look.

Electronic Resources Online

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
    Before bothering with the print resources or anything else, come here. This is easily the best-organizes and most comprehensive source of labor statistics. The BLS is a department within the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • U.S. Department of Labor
    Not focused on statistics like the BLS, but the DOL site is still useful. Click on the "Statistics, Research, and Publications" link first.

  • International Labour Organization Bureau of Statistics
    Not a very fancy-looking site but it works. Allows you to access information for seemingly every country on the planet from 1991-2000; it also allows you to choose from a large selection of tables.
  • Fedstats: Labor Statistics
    A link from the Fedstats homepage, this link allows gateways to not only the BLS site but the Employment Standards Administration, Employment and Training Administration, and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy sites.
  • Labornet
    Labor information from a left-wing/radical perspective. Lots of links.


last updated: 6/13/2013