BLS Information

Technical Advisory Committee Charter (PDF)

U.S. Department of Labor
Charter of the
Bureau of Labor Statistics Technical Advisory Committee

1. Committee’s Official Designation. Bureau of Labor Statistics Technical Advisory Committee.

2. Authority. The Secretary of Labor, with the concurrence of the General Services Administration, hereby establishes within the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the Bureau of Labor Statistics Technical Advisory Committee, in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), as amended, 5 U.S.C. App. 2.

3. Objectives and Scope of Activities. The Committee presents advice and makes recommendations to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on technical aspects of data collection and the formulation of economic measures. The National Research Council volume on Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency prescribes that agencies obtain outside review through various channels, including standing advisory committees, to ensure “quality and professional standards of practice.” On some technical issues there are differing views, and receiving feedback at public meetings provides BLS with the opportunity to consider all viewpoints.

The Bureau often faces highly technical issues while developing and maintaining the accuracy and relevancy of its data on employment and unemployment, prices, productivity, and compensation and working conditions.  These issues range from how to develop new measures to how to make sure that existing measures account for the ever changing economy.  The BLS presents issues and then draws on the specialized expertise of Committee members representing specialized fields within the academic disciplines of economics, statistics and survey design. Committee members are also invited to bring to the attention of BLS issues that have been identified in the academic literature or in their own research.

4. Description of Duties. The Committee functions solely as an advisory body to the BLS, on technical topics selected by the BLS. Important aspects of the Committee's responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  1. Provide comments on papers and presentations developed by BLS research and program staff. The comments will advise BLS as to whether the academic community will regard the work as being technically sound and reflecting best practices in the relevant fields.
  2. Conduct research on issues identified by BLS on which an objective technical opinion or recommendation from outside of BLS would be valuable.
  3. Recommend BLS conduct internal research projects to address technical problems with BLS statistics that have been identified in the academic literature.
  4. Participate in discussions of areas where the types or coverage of economic statistics could be expanded or improved and areas where statistics are no longer relevant.
  5. Establish working relationships with professional associations with an interest in BLS statistics, such as the American Statistical Association and the American Economic Association.

5. Agency or Official to Whom the Committee Reports. The Committee will report to the Commissioner of Labor Statistics.

6. Support. The Committee will be administratively housed at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor. BLS will provide necessary funding support for the committee.

7. Estimated Annual Operating Costs and Staff Years. The estimated annual cost of operating the Committee is approximately $140,000. This cost includes one-half of the compensation and benefits costs of one economist and one-fourth of the compensation and benefits of one secretary, as well as travel expenses for members, equipment, supplies, contractual, and indirect costs for committee meetings. Members are not compensated, but their travel expenses for committee meetings are paid by the BLS.

8. Designated Federal Officer. The Associate Commissioner for the Office of Productivity and Technology will serve as the Designated Federal Officer (DFO). The DFO will coordinate with the BLS Commissioner and the Chair of the Committee to approve or call all Committee meetings, prepare and approve all meeting agendas, attend all committee and subcommittee meetings, and adjourn any meeting when determined to be in the public interest.

9. Estimated Number and Frequency of Meetings. The Committee normally meets twice annually.

10. Duration. The Committee has continuing responsibilities.

11. Termination. The Advisory Committee will terminate two years from the date of filing of this charter.

12. Membership and Designation. The Committee consists of approximately 16 members who serve as Special Government Employees. Members are appointed by the BLS and are approved by the Secretary of Labor. Committee members are economists, statisticians, and behavioral scientists. They are prominent experts in their fields and recognized for their professional achievements and objectivity. The economists will have research experience with technical issues related to BLS data and will be familiar with employment and unemployment statistics, price index numbers, compensation measures, productivity measures, occupational and health statistics, or other topics relevant to BLS data series. The statisticians will be familiar with sample design, data analysis, computationally intensive statistical methods, non-sampling errors or other areas which are relevant to BLS work. The behavioral scientists will be familiar with questionnaire design, usability or other areas of survey development. The members of the panel will collectively provide a balance of expertise in all of these areas.

Members shall serve three-year terms. Initial appointments were staggered, with one-third of members being appointed for one-year terms, one-third for two-year terms, and one-third for three-year terms. Thus, no more than one-third of the Committee’s members will be appointed in subsequent years. Members may be reappointed to any number of additional terms.

The BLS appoints the chairperson annually. Chairpersons are permitted to be reappointed.

Except as otherwise required by law, Committee membership will be consistent with the applicable FACA regulations, as follows: a) membership on the Committee will be fairly balanced; b) members will come from a cross-section of those directly affected, interested, and qualified as appropriate to the nature and functions of the Committee; c) the composition of the Committee will therefore depend upon several factors, including i) the Committee’s mission; ii) the geographic, ethnic, social, economic, or scientific impact of the Committee’s recommendations; iii) the types of specific perspectives required; iv) the need to obtain divergent points of view on the issues before the Committee, such as, those of consumers, technical experts, the public at-large, academia, business, or other sectors; and v) the relevance of state, local or tribal governments to the development of the Committee’s recommendations.

To the extent permitted by FACA and other laws, Committee membership should also be consistent with achieving the greatest impact, scope, and credibility among diverse stakeholders. The diversity in such membership includes, but is not limited to, race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity

13. Subcommittees. BLS may establish subcommittees from among the Committee members as may be necessary. All subcommittees shall report to the Committee and will not provide advice directly to the agency.

14. Recordkeeping. Records of the Committee, formally and informally established subcommittees, working groups or other subgroups, shall be handled in accordance with General Records Schedule 26, Item 2 or other approved agency records disposition schedule. These records shall be available for public inspection and copying, subject to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552.

15. Filing Date. The charter is filed on the date indicated below.

Filing Date: OCT 15 2014

Secretary of Labor: Thomas E. Perez

Last Modified Date: October 21, 2014

Recommend this page using: