BLS Data Finder

BLS Data Finder

Data Finder is a new search and navigation tool for BLS time series data available on the BLS website. Rather than searching individual data sets, Data Finder allows users to conveniently search multiple data sets all at once. Users can extract specific data by searching by keyword or by filtering through multiple topics, measures, and attributes. Feedback is greatly appreciated and will aid in further development of Data Finder.
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Rating: 4.0/5 (176 votes cast)
BLS Data Finder, 4.0 out of 5 based on 176 ratings

22 Comments

  • BLS January 31st, 2014 9:28 am

    Enter the updated Series ID (LAUCT250700000000003) on the Series Report retrieval page to find the latest unemployment rate for Boston. The Beta version of the BLS Data Finder will be updated with new LAUS Series ID codes soon.

  • Jimmy D January 30th, 2014 10:29 am

    It looks the Data Finder is referencing the old Series ID codes that were active prior to 1/23/14, and returning errors as a result.

    For example, if try to find the unemployment rate for Boston, the link references LAUPS25005003 and not LAUCT250700000000003.

    This is a very helpful app, by the way.

  • BLS August 9th, 2013 10:20 am

    Thank you for taking the time to provide valuable feedback to our Beta Data Finder tool.

    A variation on save the ‘clicks’ is one of the planned features for the tool. Once a data user selects time series for data retrieval, they’ll be able to save this set as shortcut URL or as a ‘basket’ of time series for future data retrieval.

  • Tracy Shaleen August 7th, 2013 4:20 pm

    (Posted by reigonal office on behalf of the state)
    I like the new tool but have one suggestion to save “clicks” in getting to the desired data: Please consider labeling the unemployment rate selection differently than the unemployment selection. They are labeled the same right now, which requires the data user to expand “Catalog Data” to distinguish between the two (please see attached) and retrieve just one or the other data set.

    (State could not load their comments) I can get to and read the existing comments, but when I clicked on “Leave a comment,” I received the messages “This page can’t be displayed” (in Explorer) and “Oops! Google Chrome could not find beta” (in Chrome). The last comment was posted July 20, so I wonder if this option has been disabled for a while now.

  • Bill July 20th, 2013 2:32 am

    Why do BLS search engines fear divulging tables for unemployment in the 50 states for any given year, like 2012? This is an ongoing brick wall.

    Search [ unemployment 50 states table 2012 ] and get anything but. It probably would be your most popular product in your searches if anyone ever got there on purpose.

    This isn’t a problem with your beta. This has been going on for a decade or more. I’ve owned computers for 18 years, so, 18 years.

    It cannot be rocket science. Google gets it right more often, and that is not google.bls.gov.

    Does someone’s nephew run the search engine department?

  • Roy June 26th, 2013 10:22 pm

    It would be great if there were more options to cross reference. For example, I want to be able to generate a table with all sectors, but this is not available or not intuitive.

  • John C. June 18th, 2013 8:14 am

    Also, you should have a direct link from the Beta pages to this (or some other) forum, to make it easy to give/get feedback.

  • John C. June 18th, 2013 8:10 am

    The Excel file download puts the file name in single quotes. Having a “‘” at the end of the filename extension makes the file unrecognizable to Excel until you delete it.

  • Mark Z May 23rd, 2013 1:46 pm

    The menu selections could be designed better. Currently it requires too many “clicks” to get to a category you may be interested in. For example, if you are seeking information on “welders” and you select “Occupation” from the menu, it allows you to scroll through some of the occupation titles that begin with “A”. Once you reach the end of the list, you select “more” and a message box appears with a list of occupations. However to get to “Welding” requires to click “Next” more times than I am willing to expend on that effort (over 50 clicks). Using the search feature is not that great an option either. If you type in “welder” you get no results. If you type in “weld”, you get no results. There does not seem to be a wildcard feature. You would need to know to type in “welding” exactly.

  • Angie April 8th, 2013 12:13 pm

    I believe that the menus on the left are not very intuitive. When selecting commerce, I expected prices, which don’t appear to be in the beta test yet. Industries are shown alphabetically, so the order may not make sense. If the user selected the sector first, then it might be less overwhelming. Given the limited resources BLS is facing, this tool is more likely to cost more than the value of it’s results. I believe the first choice should be program, which is an option on the main database page. Many programs that produce industry detail, do so at different levels and may have to combine industries in order to support a series. These limitations would make it very difficult for a data user to find exactly the same information for one specific industry, especially at the more detailed levels.

  • Brian March 22nd, 2013 6:47 pm

    An equivalent to the series report would be nice.

  • BLS March 11th, 2013 8:37 am

    Thank you for taking the time to provide valuable feedback to our Beta Data Finder tool.

    We chose “Commerce” for a Topics category to include a broad set of relationships among industry, ownership, establishment size, product, service, and other characteristics of an establishment or firm. This topic would allow a data user to expand into commodities, products, and services produced by establishments. These establishments could be private or government. Further, these establishments belong to an industry. In turn, this industry belongs to an industry sector. And so forth.

    The Beta Data Finder tool is a work in progress, and this label may not be the one we ultimately choose. We welcome alternate suggestion to this label that would clearly cover the scope of the categories we have slotted under “Commerce.” We also welcome suggestions for other labels used.

  • Dixie Sommers March 4th, 2013 11:09 am

    What does “Commerce” mean in the Topics category? Using this returns a list of tables for industry data. If “industry” is what will be provided, the filter should use “Industry” as the term.

    “Occupation Work Class” does not seem to be the right term. If what this filter does is identify wage and salary, self-employed, and unpaid family workers, the correct term is “Class of Worker.” If the filter is intended to distinguish between governement and private employment, the correct term is “Ownership.” Neither of these terms is about occupation.

  • Kara February 14th, 2013 9:18 am

    A good start, but could definitely use some work to make this user friendly. Here are just a few comments so far:
    1. If you choose to “browse” by topic (on the left), that is pretty much useless because the headings are very non-specific and you really don’t know what you are getting. For example, if you click on “Commerce,” the first 3 choices listed are identical: “Employment: Total Nonfarm-Total Nonfarm. However, when you click on these, what you get is 1) Monthly total nonfarm employment; 2) Total nonfarm women employment; 3) Total nonfarm quarterly average employment. These should be reflected in the heading for each (so you know what you are getting before you click), otherwise browsing is rather pointless. Another example: If you choose to browse under employment, the very first page displays 15 choices, all “Employment: Total Private-Total Private. Again, you have no idea what you are actually going to get before you click on each of these. I understand that you can click on Catalog Data to the right to get more info, but I don’t think this is the best method of display.
    2. Also, the data series returned is for one year. It would be useful to have the option to get more historical data right from here, and the option to get 12-month net or percent changes, for example.
    3. For CES program data, the data finder displays the survey as “CE” (which I read as Consumer Expenditures), not the correct “CES.”
    4. If you actually do know what you want (for example, Total nonfarm, women employment), the search tool works relatively well.
    5. It is not clear if the choices in the lists on the left work as a filter function or not.

  • Beth January 28th, 2013 1:28 pm

    Hi, This tool looks great and I am hoping it can be of use to me. I am looking for data that allows me to compare wages and benefits by union-status across a few years, but when I place “union” in your search engine I am getting names of cities and not the “Union”/”nonunion” category. Have any recommendations?

  • Alex January 9th, 2013 3:04 pm

    The BLS beta website may want to look into presenting data in a two-column (date, data) format instead of the current multiple column format.

    Users can already link to the data on the BLS website using Excel and other statistical programs, however, when the data is imported by linking to the website, Excel and most statistical programs are unable to graph and manipulate the data because it is formatted incorrectly.

    By presenting data in a two column format users could easily link to the data on the BLS website, graph the data, update charts, update tables, etc. in a matter of moments in their own statistical programs or Excel. Dissemination of BLS information would become almost instantaneous and reduce the burden on all users.

    With better dissemination of BLS products users would quickly have the data needed to make informed economic and business decisions.

    Also, if BLS does indeed present data in a two-column format, then BLS would place itself in a perfect position to create an excel add-in that could rival that of the St. Louis Federal Reserve (FRED).

    The St. Louis Federal Reserve (FRED) site is an outstanding site and BLS would be better off by using the site as an example. As others have commented, BLS seems to be implementing the FRED style and look. However, and most importantly, FRED data is presented in a two column (date, data) format.

    I would welcome any opportunity to speak with the developers of the website to better explain my suggestions. I feel that making this slight change could revolutionize how BLS disseminates data to users while at the same time reducing the workload of the user.

  • BLS January 3rd, 2013 8:51 am

    Data from the BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey have not yet been added to the new BLS Data Finder tool on Beta. We expect to add consumer expenditure data to the new tool later this year. Consumer expenditure data on mattresses are not available from the BLS website, but you can request such data by e-mailing CEXInfo@bls.gov.

  • jerri December 30th, 2012 5:30 pm

    searching for consumer spending estimates or history by category. specifically mattress. No results found in four attempts. submitted a request to be contacted.

  • Elle November 20th, 2012 12:54 pm

    Searching for “petro” recieved zero results, I had to type in petroleum fully. Please implement a capability to search incomplete terms, or, conversely, implement symbols to indicate further characters and have a tip pop up.

  • omar November 2nd, 2012 11:11 am

    coool stuff

  • seth October 25th, 2012 9:47 am

    this is awesome

  • Robert Oak October 15th, 2012 9:08 pm

    Looks like you’re going the way of FRED, which is kind of a pain to find the associated series connected to a statistical release, and one thing I know is a problem, if one knows the series ID but puts that up in FRED as a search, one won’t get that ID necessarily to pop up in the search results. I also suspect some of the meta tags aren’t correctly attached to the right series.

    On the Beta…

    Ok, I could pull up every series putting in “labor participation rate” and I could pull up a series by it’s ID, very fast.

    But when I tried to do a secondary sub search, i.e. I had found “labor participation rate” and then wanted to do a subsearch on “ages 20-24″ nothing popped up, even when I put in 20, or age and I did x out the previous subsearch run that was displayed in the new tab.

    So, it looks like you need the subsearches implemented and also need many more meta tags.

    The few meta present, I could click on them and get that subgroup under “labor participation rate”, i.e. I clicked on “not seasonally adjusted’ and all the NSA labor participation rate did pop up, very fast.

    ie. looking good as a work in processing and will be wunderbar to get rid of that JAVA!

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