Bureau of Labor Stops Collecting Women’s Payroll Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has gone ahead with its highly contested plan to discontinue the collection and publication of data on women workers as of August 5, 2005. BLS discontinued its Women Workers Series as part of what it calls “planned improvements” to its Current Employment Statistics survey, citing a so-called “reporting burden” on employer survey respondents as one of its reasons for ending the series.

Women’s rights organizations, labor unions, and several members of Congress, including Representatives Rosa L. DeLauro (D-NY), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues Shelly Moore Capitol (R-WV) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY), among others, voiced strong opposition, arguing that the BLS data provides crucial information about women’s employment patterns and job loss in the US. Following its announced intention to discontinue the series last November, women’s and labor rights activists deluged the bureau with letters and phone calls. Of over 5,000 comments received, over 90 percent urged the bureau to keep the series, reports Daily Labor.

The Women Worker Series provided detailed data, by gender, on employment, hours, and wages of over 300,000 non-farm workers on a monthly basis. While the BLS has agreed to continue its household survey, experts say that information collected through this smaller survey is less accurate and can actually underestimate women’s participation in the workforce, according to Women’s E-news.


US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics; The Bureau of National Affairs Daily Labor 10/9/05; Feminist Daily News Wire 1/12/05; Institute for WomenÕs Policy Research 12/7/04; WomenÕs E-News 4/28/05

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