Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]


(Record Group 257)
1885-1995

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 257.1 Administrative History
  • 257.2 Records of Predecessor Organizations 1885-1919
  • 257.3 Records of the Bureau of Labor Statistics 1895-1981
    • 257.3.1 257.3.1 Records of the Business Research Advisory Council
    • 257.3.2 257.3.2 Records of the Labor Research Advisory Council
    • 257.3.3 257.3.3 Records of the Deputy Commissioner for Statistical Operations and Processing
  • 257.4 257.4 Records of the Office of Compensation and Working Conditions 1891-1990
    • 257.4.1 257.4.1 Records of the Division of Labor Management Relations
    • 257.4.2 257.4.2 Records of the Division of Occupational Pay and Employee Benefit Levels
  • 257.5 257.5 Records of the Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics 1915-69
  • 257.6 257.6 Records of the Office of Field Operations 1960-73
  • 257.7 257.7 Records of the Office of Prices and Living Conditions 1917-79
    • 257.7.1 257.7.1 Records relating to the Cost of Living and Consumer Price Index programs
  • 257.8 257.8 Records of the Office of Productivity and Technology 1947-95
    • 257.8/1 257.8.1 Records of the Division of Industry Productivity and Technology
  • 257.9 257.9 Records of the Office of Statistics and Standards 1935-60
  • 257.10 257.10 Textual Records (General) 1933-68
  • 257.11 Machine-Readable Records (General)

257.1 Administrative History

Established: In the Department of Labor by the Department of Labor Act (37 Stat. 737), March 4, 1913.

Predecessor Agencies:

  • Bureau of Labor, Department of the Interior (1884-88)
  • Department of Labor (1888-1903)
  • Bureau of Labor, Department of Commerce and Labor (1903-13)

Functions: Conducts research and publishes reports on all aspects of labor economics. Compiles statistics on nonagricultural prices and publishes periodic price indexes.

Finding Aids: Forrest R. Holdcamper, comp., "Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Bureau of Labor Statistics," NC 62 (May 1964).

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Bureau of Labor Statistics in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

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257.2 Records of Predecessor Organizations
1885-1919

History: Bureau of Labor established in the Department of the Interior by the Bureau of Labor Act (23 Stat. 60), June 27, 1884, to collect information about employment and labor. Became an independent (sub-Cabinet) department by the Department of Labor Act (25 Stat. 182), June 13, 1888. Incorporated, as the Bureau of Labor, into the Department of Commerce and Labor by the Department of Commerce Act (32 Stat. 827), February 14, 1903. Transferred to Department of Labor, 1913. SEE 257.1.

Textual Records: Letters sent, 1901-6. Telegrams, 1897-1904. Administrative orders, letters, and issuances, 1885-1906. Correspondence concerning the bureau's participation in the Pan American Exposition, Buffalo, NY, 1899-1904; and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, MO, 1901-4. Memorandums and statistical compilations concerning labor, economics, and demography, 1896-1905. Transcripts of proceedings of the Anthracite Coal Strike Commission, 1902-3. Department and bureau forms, 1885-1913. Appropriation, voucher, and general expenditure ledgers, 1885-1913. Requisitions, 1885-1906. Record of expenditures for printing and binding, 1889-1912. Records relating to personnel, chiefly job applications, 1885-1919.

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257.3 Records of the COMMISSIONER OF Labor Statistics
1895-1984

Textual Records: Selected general correspondence of the bureau, 1908-39. General correspondence, 1939-49. General and subject correspondence, 1934-78. General correspondence of the Office of the Commissioner, 1950-71. Correspondence with other federal agencies, 1933-34. Correspondence and other records relating to National Recovery Administration programs, 1933-34. General correspondence of the Commissioner of Labor Statistics, 1923-43. Correspondence of the Commissioner with the Secretary of Labor, 1925-29; the bureau staff, 1933-35; and other units of the Department of Labor, 1935. Subject files relating to BLS and non- BLS components of the Department of Labor, 1947-78. Office files of Commissioner Ethelbert Stewart, 1904-31. Speeches and articles by Commissioners Geoffrey H. Moore and Arthur M. Ross, 1966-72. Subject files of Commissioner Julius Shiskin, 1968-77. Records of the Commissioner of Labor Statistics, 1939-77. Correspondence files of Aryness Joy Wickens, Deputy and Acting Commissioner of Labor Statistics, 1939-55. General office files of Commissioner Janet Norwood, 1980-84. Program and policy files, 1950-75. Committee and advisory committee files, 1941-69. Monthly progress reports from division chiefs, assistant, and associate commissioners, 1951-65. Budget formulation and report files, 1941-66. Records concerning a survey of federal statistical activities, 1932. Records relating to a study of collective bargaining in the steel industry, 1959-61. Record sets of BLS publications, 1895-1971. Historical studies covering BLS activities in World Wars I and II, 1918-65. Appropriations ledgers, 1913-28. Financial statements, 1913-34.

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257.3.1 Records of the Business Research Advisory Council

Textual Records: Reports relating to the development of the Input-Output Model, consumer trends, employment, foreign trade, historical trends in productivity, and analytical models, 1939-68.

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257.3.2 Records of the Labor Research Advisory Council

Textual Records: Administrative and program files, 1946-61.

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257.3.3 Records of the Deputy Commissioner for Statistical Operations and Processing

Textual Records: Records of the Deputy Commissioner including correspondence, memoranda, and reports, 1970-72.

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257.4 Records of the Office of Compensation and Working Conditions
1891-1990

Textual Records: Records relating to collective bargaining agreements, 1891-1945. Collective bargaining agreements filed by employers, trade associations, and trade unions, 1912-1945. Records documenting projects coordinated with the Work Projects Administration, 1938-41. Program direction files for wages and industrial relations, 1943-63. Records of non-recurring and special survey files, 1962-80.

Machine-Readable Records: Employee expenditure for employee compensation, 1968-77 (6 data sets). SEE ALSO 257.11.

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257.4.1 Records of the Division of Labor Management Relations

Machine-Readable Records: Historic file on work stoppages, 1953-81, with supporting documentation (1 data set). SEE ALSO 257.11.

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257.4.2 Records of the Division of Occupational Pay and Employee Benefit Levels

Machine-Readable Records: Area wage survey and service contract act survey wage data, 1981-90 (3 data sets). SEE ALSO 257.11.

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257.5 Records of the Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics
1915-69

Textual Records: Record set of Current Employment Statistics (CES) schedules, 1915-51. CES benchmark documentation files, 1947-62. Summary tabulations and unpublished report based upon the Urban Employment Survey (UES), 1969; report titled "Attitude Towards Work: UES Six City Survey."

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257.6 Records of the Office of Field Operations
1960-73

Textual Records: Progress reports of field operations, 1960-73.

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257.7 Records of the Office of Prices and Living Conditions
1917-79

Textual Records:Program files of the Office of the Associate Commissioner, 1946-79.

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257.7.1 Records relating to the Cost of Living and Consumer Price Index Programs

Textual Records: Cost of living schedules for urban families, 1918-19. Records relating to a survey of the cost of living for single women in Washington, D.C., 1917. Daily record of expenses for urban families, 1918-19. Records of a survey of fabric prices in retail establishments, 1922. Survey of expenditures by federal employees in Washington, D.C., 1932-33.

Consumer Expenditure Survey schedules, 1934-36. Study of Consumer Purchases schedules, 1935-36. Schedules and supporting documents for a study of money disbursements by wage earners, 1935-36. Schedules of food consumption by families during one week, 1935- 36. Statistical summary, derived from the study of money disbursements, of expenditures by wage earners for recreation, 1935-36. Records relating to a survey of consumer prices in St. Paul, MN, 1944-45. Records of the Consumer Expenditure Survey Program and predecessor programs, 1933-71. Records relating to the 1964 revision of the Consumer Price Index, 1959-64.

Related Records: Public use version of cost of living schedules for urban families (1918-19), 1986 (6 data sets); public use sample of the Study of Consumer Purchases schedules (1935-36), 1999 (8 data sets), in National Archives collection of donated historical materials (ICPSR).

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257.8 Records of the Office of Productivity and Technology
1947-95

Machine-Readable Records: Labor productivity measures for 160 selected industries, 1947-89 (5 data sets); unpublished labor productivity measures for 500 manufacturing industries, 1958-86 (2 data sets); labor productivity and cost database disk files, 2nd Quarter, 1993 (2 data sets). SEE ALSO 257.11.

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257.8.1 Records of the Division of Industry Productivity and Technology

Textual Records: Annual federal civilian productivity survey subject files, 1971-95.

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257.9 Records of the Office of Statistics and Standards
1935-60

Textual Records: Records of the Associate Commissioner including correspondence, memoranda, project proposals, and reports, 1950-53. Records relating to the development of the Input-Output Model and inter-industry studies, 1935-60. Historical files relating to the development of the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code, 1951-58.

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257.10 Textual Records (General)
1933-68

Textual Records: Records relating to labor disputes, 1942-47. Records relating to U.S. membership in and liaison with the International Labor Organization, 1933-37. Drafts of the Labor Information Bulletin, "Making Use of Statistics," n.d. Records of the President's Task Force on Occupational Training in Industry, 1967-68.

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257.11 Machine-Readable Records (General)

SEE UNDER 257.4, 257.4.1, 257.4.2, AND 257.8.


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


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