Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

There's no better place than the BLS to explore job and career information

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a terrific source for finding information on just about any career you can think of. The BLS is a federal agency that keeps tabs on the labor market, working conditions and changing wages and prices. Calling itself an “individual statistical agency,” the BLS follows its mission of collecting and analyzing data and providing the resulting economic information to the public.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides ample information that is helpful to the job seeker. Explore the extensive BLS site and you’ll find occupational and career information, employment and unemployment statistics and reports, and wage, earnings and benefits information. We've compiled a roundup of some of the key reports that might be useful in your job or career search.

Occupational Outlook Handbook

The BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook is super helpful when you are exploring careers. It describes what workers do on the job, their working conditions, the training and education needed, earnings (from entry level to advanced career) and expected job prospects for the next 10 years in a wide range of occupations. The Handbook provides a set of filters to help you search its database by desired pay, education required, training offered, and projected job growth by number of jobs and by percentage.

You can also drill down by job industry. For example, say you’re interested in “Community and Social Services.” After clicking that link, you’ll see a table that lists the following job categories, along with a brief description of the work, the education required, and average annual salary:

  • Health Educators and Community Health Workers
  • Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
  • Rehabilitation Counselors
  • Social and Human Service Assistants
  • Social Workers
  • School and Career Counselors
  • Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

Click on any of those categories to find extensive information about job descriptions, work environment, pay, job outlook, regional data and similar careers.

BLS Wages and Earnings Reports

The BLS is a fountain of information on the wages, earnings, and benefits of workers. In these reports, you’ll find information in three general categories: geographic area, occupation and industry. Within those categories, you can drill down by sex, age and even union membership.

Every year, the BLS runs its National Compensation Survey to gather and produce information on the wages, compensation and benefits of job types by national and geographic regions and metropolitan and non-urban areas. You’ll find information on both annual salaries and hourly wages.

You can also search archived surveys to look at past trends.

Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Reports

BLS programs that analyze employment statistics cover jobs and joblessness, providing information on unemployment, employment, layoffs, hours and earnings, displaced workers, state and local employment, occupations and economic indicators. You can research employment status by state, by population (such as sex, ethnicity and age) and even by county.

Bureau of Labor Statistics Unemployment Statistics

Each month the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the latest unemployment statistics, including the unemployment rate, job growth, the unemployment rate for each type of workers and unemployment by industry and sector. 

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