BLS Information

Changes to the Text Sections of News Releases Issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Starting in summer 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will introduce changes to the textual portion of some of its news releases. The objective is to publish releases with a tighter analytical focus, improving their utility to our data users. There will be no change in the data or technical documentation contained in the releases, only in the textual discussion about the data. The textual changes for some of the releases will be fairly modest, while for others the analytical content may be more noticeably different.

This initiative results from a review BLS has been conducting since last summer. The review elicited feedback from interested parties in a number of ways: focus groups with journalists; an evaluation by BLS cognitive psychologists who assist the Bureau in assessing the clarity of its public offerings; comments received from the BLS Data Users Advisory Committee; and internal evaluations conducted by the Bureau's program and publications offices.

As a result of this review process, BLS decided to produce news releases that focus with greater clarity on the most important analytical points and succinctly provide recent and historical context relevant to each analytical story. BLS is also using this opportunity to standardize the format of the text sections of the news releases.

The detailed data tables and technical notes at the back of current news releases will remain unchanged in content and presentation.

The seven releases initially slated to incorporate these changes are those that contain data designated as Principal Federal Economic Indicators (PFEIs). Publication dates and links to examples of these news releases are shown in the implementation schedule table.

The implementation schedule is as follows:

News ReleasePublication DateSample
The Employment Cost IndexJuly 31Implemented: Current Employment Cost Index news release
The Employment SituationAug. 7Implemented: Current Employment Situation news release
Productivity and CostsSept. 2Implemented: Current Productivity and Costs news release
U.S. Import and Export Price IndexesSept. 11Implemented: Current U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes
The Producer Price IndexSept. 15Implemented: Current Producer Price Index news release
The Consumer Price IndexSept. 16Implemented: Current Consumer Price Index news release
Real EarningsSept. 16Implemented: Current Real Earnings news release

In the future BLS intends to expand the review process to include its other (non-PFEI) news releases and, as a result, may implement similar changes to those releases. Timelines for that phase of the news release review activity have not yet been established.

These changes are intended to improve and refresh one of the Bureau's primary communications vehicles, whose readers include journalists, analysts, researchers and data users of all types. Comments or questions on this activity may be directed to the BLS Press Office: (202) 691-5902 or pressoffice@bls.gov.

Last Modified Date: September 16, 2009

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