The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), provides employment and wage information by occupation and geographic location. Hourly and annual mean and median wages are available for more than 800 different occupations at the national, regional, state, and MSA level.

According to the latest OES news release, the healthcare industry employed 12 million people in May 2015, which represents nearly 9% of the nation’s total employment. Registered nurses (2.7 million), nursing assistants (1.4 million), and home health aides (820,630) were the largest healthcare occupations.

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Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) is made available by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and offers monthly data on employment and unemployment for approximately 7,500 geographic areas. Unemployment rates are available monthly by county, MSA, and state level.

These estimates are key indicators of local economic conditions, and may be compared over time to examine changes in the labor market.

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The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey  (JOLTS) is a monthly survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. JOLTS collects data on total employment, the number of job openings, the number of hires, and the number of separations including quits and layoffs. JOLTS can be used to measure the growth of a particular industry and to better understand labor-market opportunities.

According to the latest release on April 5th, 2016, job hires in the United States increased to 5.4 million in February 2016, while during this same period separations made little change at 5.1 million.

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The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is monthly data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on the change in prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of goods and services. The CPI is available by region and consumer type. It is most often used to measure inflation, which is an important concern when present-valuing economic damages in the future. Future damages must be discounted by the rate of inflation, because one dollar today is worth more than one dollar tomorrow.

Note: Even though CPIs differ by city, it is not appropriate to use CPI data to compare the cost of living between cities. The CPI does not measure price differentials between cities, but rather only over time. The representative basket of goods and services varies with geographic location.

For information on the Consumer Price Index, please refer to

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The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, provides data on the number of fatal on-the-job injuries by type, occupation, industry, or worker characteristics. This data is sometimes used to statistically value a life. Dangerous jobs tend to offer a wage premium in exchange for additional risk of death on the job. Some economists have attempted to quantify the value of life based on the additional wages that must be paid for a worker to accept an increased chance of a fatal accident.

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The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of approximately 50,000 households conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the U.S. Census Bureau. The CPS collects a vast amount of data and is an excellent resource for information on labor-force characteristics.

The basic monthly CPS provides general demographic information as well as employment status, industry, and occupation. The monthly survey is often used to examine unemployment rates and the duration of unemployment. The BLS publishes tables reporting the unemployment rate and the average and median duration of unemployment by gender and age, race, or marital status. These tables are generally referenced in wrongful termination cases to show the expected length of time it will take the plaintiff to find a new job.

In addition to the basic monthly survey, the CPS includes monthly supplements. These supplements include displaced workers, job tenure, and mobility, and a demographic supplement (often referred to as the March supplement), just to name a few.

The job tenure supplement can be used to estimate the amount of time an individual would have likely remained at a job if the termination had not occurred. The demographic supplement is often used to determine average and median wages for particular education levels. Additionally, regression analysis can be used to estimate lifecycle earnings for individuals based on their age or years of experience, education, and other pertinent demographic factors.

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The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) is a Bureau of Labor Statistics longitudinal study that repeatedly surveys approximately 12,000 individuals every two years.  These individuals, who were selected at the beginning of the survey, are followed over time and surveyed on issues such as the individual’s educational and employment experiences.

Ordered probit regressions and the NLSY can be used to estimate the probability of different levels of educational attainment.  The probability of an individual obtaining a high school or college degree can be calculated based on demographic characteristics, such as race and gender, and household characteristics, such as family structure or parental educational attainment levels.

Regression analysis on NLSY data has also been used to estimate the length of time it takes for an individual’s salary to catch up after an employment termination.  This data can be used to determine the appropriate length of damages in wrongful termination cases.

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The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) is conducted for the US Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CE is important because it is the only Federal survey to provide information on the complete range of consumers’ expenditures and incomes, as well as the characteristics of those consumers.  It studies the expenditures, income, and household characteristics of American consumers.  The CE is often used in wrongful death cases to estimate a personal consumption factor.

The personal consumption factor is the amount of income the decedent would have spent on personal expenditures as opposed to income going to the household or other members of the household.  Personal consumption includes expenditures on food, clothing, alcohol, transportation, etc.  This factor is generally estimated using the expenditure data from CE and regression analysis.

2012 statsitcs about American spending

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This paper (ASSA 2016 link below) looks to study revenue and sales volatility at the firm level and how that relates to employee level of wages.  The main take away is that employee wages tend to be positively related to revunue shocks. That is, employers tend to keep employee wages steady and increasing over time regardless of the specific shocks that the firm may be experiencing at any given time. 

ASSA 2016 paper

Can Microlevel BLS data be used to study how and why employees are paid differently at US employers ?  This paper and the work ultimately looks to provide a method to use the Microlevel, i.e. individual level survey observations, to match dispersion measures like, the standard deviation, in big data BLS employment data. The first step for the researchers is to try and match the aggregate numbers to the micro numbers.