This Week in Data, Special Edition: Bureau of Labor Statistics


This week at Enigma, we delve into the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a fact-finding agency that tracks lots of interesting economics-related things.

How much money we make: How much were teenage boys making in 1979? Thanks to earnings data in the BLS’s Current Population Survey, we know the answer: $155 a week—$23 more than teenage girls during the same year.

Dangerous jobs: The Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses tracks the frequency of work-related injuries, as well as health conditions that can be caused by workplace conditions, like hearing loss and respiratory problems. In 2014, for every 10,000 full-time workers in the manufacturing industry in Nebraska, there were 308.3 cases of illness.

Deadly jobs: BLS conducts the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, which tracks whenever a deadly incident occurs at work. The CFOI breaks down based on geographic location, source of injury, and type of industry—like mining, construction, and forestry. In 2011, there were 49 fatal occupational industries sustained by workers in performing arts and spectator sports industry.

Downsizing, human capital restructuring, and leveraging of synergy: The Mass Layoff Statistics program collects information from situations where a single business has seen at least 50 unemployment claims within the span of 5 weeks, indicating a mass layoff. Which industries suffered the most layoffs during the recent recession? Real estate was certainly one of them.

Looking abroad: BLS also tracks some information about the economies and labor forces of a select number of other countries, including Australia, China, Germany, and the UK. In 2010, the best-paid workers in the apparel industry were Norwegian. These workers made more than twice than American workers did per hour.