Join Curt Frye for an in-depth discussion in this video U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, part of Up and Running with Public Data Sets.
I know that saying the name Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't bring joy to many people but this federal government bureau has one of the most useful and versatile data collections I've found. You can get information on the salaries paid in various fields, examine employment trends, and look through the Occupational Outlook Handbook which looks at the future prospects for a variety of professions. That and there's a lot of other data available as well. The URL for this resource is www.bls.gov is www.bls.gov and you can see that there are various tabs that you can click on the navigation bar.
You can go by subject, you can display Data Tools, look at Publications, Economic Releases, find data. That's meant for students, with games and quizzes and other information as well. One item that I haven't seen on other U.S. government websites is in the middle of the page and that is this interactive geographic information tool. If you want to look at information for a particular region, you can just hover over its vertical bar, in this case, the West, and if I click it, I get information related to the western part of the U.S.
On this map, you can see the states that are considered part of the West and also there's a set of news releases with information about the western part of the U.S. If I click the back button on my web browser, I go back to the main page. If I scroll down a bit, I can see the Career Information section and one of the most interesting publications or resources here, is the Occupational Outlook Handbook. So I'll go ahead and click that.
And you can see, when I scroll down, that there's information available for different occupation groups, such as Architecture and Engineering, Arts and Design and so on. Or, you can also select occupations by median pay, the entry-level education that's required, whether there's on-the-job training available, the number of new jobs that are projected, which is very interesting, and also the growth rate. This is a great resource for researching potential employment or any careers that you might want to go into.
I'll go ahead and click the back button. Now, I will scroll back up to the top and click the Data Tools tab. Doing so displays the Databases, Tables & Calculators by Subject page. And it is loaded with information on inflation and prices, productivity, you can get historical news release tables, find maps to interact with, and also work with some calculators that are very interesting. So let me go into a little bit more detail about what's here.
Let's say, for example, that I want information on productivity. I can click the Productivity link and it takes me down to that section of the webpage. And I really have to compliment this page's designers, because the information that they display is extremely useful and also, I find the site very easy to navigate, both visually and from a data-viewing standpoint. So good work to whoever did this, you make it easy to find what we're looking for. If I want to find productivity data, and look at the tables that are available, for example, Major Sector Productivity and Costs, I can go over to the Tables icon and click it to see what data is available.
I'll go down under the Industry Data subheader and I'll click the XLSX file link for Labor Productivity and Costs by Industry. And when I click that, Excel downloads a file that is 33.8 megabytes in size, so that's coming in, in Chrome. I'll wait for the data to settle on my hard drive and it's a large file but I will go ahead and click it to open it, so that you can see the type of data that is available.
So it's opening up in Excel, and it might take a moment because of the file size. Here you can see, you have information about productivity for various industries, for example, mining, and if you scroll down, you get oil and gas extraction, which is a subset of mining, and so on. If you want to get an overview of the information that's available here, you can click the Read Me tab. And that tab contains a worksheet with information about what you'll see inside of the rest of the Workbook. So if there is a Read Me document or perhaps a data catalogue, it's always a good idea to read it so you have some idea of what's going on in the files.
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