BLS and Sequester
David R. Kotok
June 27, 2013




On March 1, 2013, President Obama ordered into effect the across-the-board spending cuts (commonly referred to as sequestration) required by the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act, as amended. Under the order, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) must cut its current budget by more than $30 million, 5 percent of the current 2013 appropriation, by September 30, 2013. In order to help achieve these savings and protect core programs, the BLS will eliminate two programs, including Mass Layoff Statistics, and all “measuring green jobs” products. This news release is the final publication of monthly mass layoff survey data.
– Source: press release of Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 21, 2013


The above is an official admission of yet another impact of the sequester: we are going to see a diminishing degree of reliability in our statistics. We thank Talley Leger for his note on this.

In addition, there is an attack being mounted against funding the statistical agencies. Eleven Republican congressmen have cosponsored a bill to eliminate the counting of nearly everything but the required census.

Now imagine a world where there are no independent or impartial statistical agencies. And imagine a world where there is no clear method of collecting data, transparently presented, so that policy can be debated based on reliable information.

Imagine a world where we do not know the unemployment rate. Or where we do not follow data that all of us currently rely upon in our everyday lives. As it is, data may have errors and may need corrections and revisions, but it serves a purpose, and that purpose impacts the lives of 350 million people who live and work and play and grow while they reside in our nation.

Here is a single example of a critical function that is carried on in our government every day. Whether we measure employment or practice landing on aircraft carriers, our nation is being set back by this ongoing budget sequester.

Just because we do not see every impact that sequester deals us in our daily lives, doesn’t mean we are not being hurt.

Happy pre-July 4th weekend

David R. Kotok, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer

Category: Data Analysis, Think Tank

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

9 Responses to “BLS and Sequester”

  1. Rich in NJ says:

    Know nothing politicians who actually want to know nothing.

    • willid3 says:

      and pretty much do nothing.cause doing any thing can get them into trouble. and if they can just get the government small enough that it doesnt impact any thing then they can’t be blamed or have those voters bug them about how bad things are. its part of that see no evil, hear no evil deal

  2. constantnormal says:

    … one of the best (possibly the only) effective tactics of the Repooblicans … when Reality and the Facts are against you, deny Reality and suppress the Facts … things like this shift the Repooblicans from merely being wrong (just like the Democraps), to being truly evil …

    • constantnormal says:

      Oh, and to those who would point out that Obama is also responsible for this — Perhaps so, but I regard him as a Repooblican in disguise, continuing the policies and programs of his predecessor.

  3. Moe says:

    The American people are no longer relevant in their own political process – they just don’t realize it yet.

  4. bigsteve says:

    I think the sequester is a good idea . Just think our idiot congress needs to fine tune it. We also need to fix our loop hole tax system. We need to cut spending and increase taxation until we have the necessary revenue to run the government that we need. This is in some ways a value judgement. So congress needs to find a compromise that all can live with. I am tired of the my way or the highway attitude. This is akin to me being that way with my wife. Would not work out well. So it is time for politicians to grow up.

  5. perpetual_neophyte says:

    David – I tried some quick googling, but no dice. Can you specify the legislation put forward “to eliminate the counting of nearly everything but the required census.” I found some articles on limiting the enforcement and scope of the Censuse, but not much else. I’d like to fire off some emails to legislators.

  6. bear_in_mind says:

    Hello Ladies and Germs,

    I believe Mr. Kotok’s reference is both specific to the citation he provided, as well as to the broader attack on governmental data collection (non-NSA, mind you). Y’all may recall way back in Fall 2011 that there was a subdued discussion of shuttering the Census Bureau’s “Statistical Abstract”, yes?

    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?!

    Well, I know Barry mentioned it, and I know some influential folks in academic research circles I’ve been fortunate to meet over the years also were deeply concerned about seeing this CORE statistical resource reaching back to 1878 being shuttered because cutting cost is sacrosanct:

    The U.S. Census Bureau is terminating the collection of data for the Statistical Compendia program effective October 1, 2011. The Statistical Compendium program is comprised of the Statistical Abstract of the United States and its supplemental products – - the State and Metropolitan Area Data Book and the County and City Data Book. In preparation for the Fiscal Year 2012 (FY 2012) budget, the Census Bureau did a comprehensive review of a number of programs and had to make difficult proposals to terminate and reduce a number of existing programs in order to acquire funds for higher priority programs. The decision to propose the elimination of this program was not made lightly. To access the most current data, please refer to the organizations cited in the source notes for each table of the Statistical Abstract.


    The good news is that George Washington University, in coordination with ProQuest and Bernan Press, have managed to collaborare to revive the Statistical Abstract:

    In 2013, ProQuest and Bernan Press teamed up to resume the publication. Users can find both versions in our database list.

    The current edition is available on ProQuest at:

    …and older editions are available on the Census Bureau website at:


    Now, even the most libertarian, Draconian budget slashers have to acknowledge that it’s not realistic to expect education and non-profit entities to step into the breach when government agencies continue getting whacked with 10 to 15 pct budget reductions.

    A thought for The Flat-Earth Society (aka “Tea Partiers”): maybe a little less rancor and polemics in lieu of some THOUGHT might be beneficial for the future of the country, not to mention your children and their children?