US Bureau of Labor Statistics Reviews

Updated August 5, 2015
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3.5
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Erica L. Groshen
3 Ratings

Pros
  • great work-life balance - 40hrs/week (in 11 reviews)

  • Nice people and relaxed work environment (in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • Career advancement generally stops at a certain point for most (in 2 reviews)

  • You can get more money through bonuses in the private sector after GS-14 (in 2 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

37 Employee Reviews

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  1. Economist

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Economist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Economist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great staff and good upward mobility!

    Cons

    The pay is a bit low compared to the private sector.


  2. Economist Internship

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Student Trainee Economist in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Student Trainee Economist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at US Bureau of Labor Statistics as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Work with working economists who publish reports consistently; ability to get published Gain experience with data analysis for major indices Great benefits, metro transport subsidies, on-site gym

    Cons

    Boring, the average age is about 50; no real diversity The building looks empty because of alternate work schedules and telework availability Don't be too ambitious because the culture is set and no one wants to change the status quo

    Advice to Management

    Hire younger people and promote diversity


  3. BLS

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Economist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Economist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Bureau of Labor Statistics full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Good job security. Great benefits. There are some very smart and talented people at BLS that you may get the chance to work with. Overall, I think most people are very dedicated to their jobs and putting out high quality statistics.

    Cons

    It can be very difficult to move up. Some managers reward loyalty over hard-work and innovation. There is definitely some dead weight around which can be frustrating. Also, dealing with government red-tape for everything can be discouraging. A lot of the jobs have very tedious elements to them and often you may feel like your skills are being wasted.

    Advice to Management

    Be more transparent. Find more ways to show praise and gratitude for hard-working employees. Also, be more appreciative of all the grunt work that so many employees have to do.


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  5. Lazy employees, great benefits, reasonable pay

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Economist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Economist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Bureau of Labor Statistics full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Benefits. Tons of benefits. You can move up reasonably fast for 3-4 years Job security is a lock. Some skills are valuable --- SAS, Excel, SQL

    Cons

    Just like above, job security is a lock. This means incompetent employees stay around. Fast movement to start, but then you top out after 4-5 years Management listens to no one. Leadership is lacking Employee retention is a huge problem. The hard workers see the lazy workers earning more money, and leave for other jobs.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to employees. Elicit feedback. Don't allow employees to skate. A low work culture is actually a bad thing for motivated employees. They don't seem to realize that.


  6. Helpful (1)

    Safe

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Economist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Economist in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Bureau of Labor Statistics full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Very safe place to work, great benefits, generous match for TSP and a Pension.

    Cons

    Low churn, very difficult to ascend in the ranks and find ones niche within the organization. Could do a lot to improve efficiency, it seems like everyone has a lot of free time...


  7. Helpful (2)

    Good learning experience

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at US Bureau of Labor Statistics full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Provide good job experience, decent training, paid graduate courses and opportunities interacting with congressional needs and other government statistical agencies.

    Cons

    If you work in a department with few press releases, a lot of downtime. Work can get stale and repetitive. Promotional opportunities limited, not too many upper level GS positions available. Senior executives can be out of touch at times.Bonuses have continually decreased to the point they should not even distribute.

    Advice to Management

    Management needs tobe more engaged with rank and file. Too many surveys distributed and not enough face to face discussion regarding morale. Understand rules are strict and budget is limited, but employees who go above and beyond should be compensated.


  8. Decent Government Job

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - IT Specialist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - IT Specialist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Lots of smart people, decent pay and benefits, telework is becoming more accepted, lots of positions for IT specialists, great commuting location across from Union Station (VRE, Metro, MARC). Credit time, flexible work hours, relaxed work environment

    Cons

    LAN office is slow to respond, has high turnover. IT environment is not good for contractors, but okay for government employees.

    Advice to Management

    Keep turnover lower by offering more opportunities for promotions to GS-13 and GS-14. Continue to promote telework and improve the telework technology to reduce employee frustration with the technology


  9. Helpful (2)

    Great work/life balance

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Economist in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Economist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at US Bureau of Labor Statistics full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Extremely flexible daily schedule No dress code (some norms apply) Federal employee benefits (eg, health, leave, etc) Work can be somewhat interesting if you're into data analysis Initial career ladder pay raises are close to 20% for the first few years of employment as an economist Almost impossible to get fired

    Cons

    Almost impossible to get fired (in some offices, 30% of the workers do 70% of the work and there are no repercussions. Also, once someone gets a position, they never lose that position regardless of performance; this makes for some interesting challenges when dealing with management.) Higher paying positions (GS-14) require becoming a supervisor or having a PhD (BLS loses a lot of talented workers by forcing them to leave to a higher paying job or forcing them to become a supervisor where their technical talents are no longer utilized)

    Advice to Management

    Be extremely careful about who you hire. Every dud that you hire puts more work on the people that are actually doing the work. After a while, or once said worker gets to GS-12, they will leave because they're either overworked or sick of being taken advantage of. When they leave, their considerable amount of work is only absorbed by the few others who actually work and they then become overworked as well. This leads to more turnover, especially because it takes months for HR to put together a list of people to interview and hire every time someone leaves. Consider creating more technical GS-13 and GS-14 positions to retain talent and program knowledge. As it is right now, the best GS-12s in each office often have to leave their program or the agency to get promoted. This is crazy because as soon as they actually get a good handle on how their program works they're forced to take a promotion into a program or agency that they have no idea about. It's also demoralizing for the GS-9 or GS-11 in the other program or agency that now has to teach their new senior analyst or supervisor how to do the job that pays 20% more than theirs.


  10. Helpful (1)

    Good place to start your career

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Economist in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Economist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at US Bureau of Labor Statistics full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    great work-life balance - 40hrs/week automatic promotion for the first few years workplace flexibility - work from home 1 or 2 time a week overall low stress job great place to learn (self teach) technical skills

    Cons

    learning curve plateaus very quickly work is repetitive managers are not necessarily more knowledgeable (they just get promoted based on how long they've been there)

    Advice to Management

    Managers at the BLS (gs-14,gs-15) are hired primarily based on tenure or other non-knowledge based factors. There is a saying in the government that you'll get promoted as long as you don't die and this is very true at the managerial level. Managers don't necessarily know more economics/statistics, they simply didn't die and rode the wave to the manager level. Its extremely frustrating to work for someone who is less knowledgeable than you on the subject matter. My advice. Take the job, get the automatic promotions to gs-12 and make it a means to an end by learning as much technical skills as possible (SAS,R,SQL,Excel,Access) which is going to be your ticket out of there. That's what I did and now I am working for a very prestigious private company making more than a gs-15 salary and I am 29. Good luck


  11. It's A Paycheck

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at US Bureau of Labor Statistics full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I go in, do what I have to do, and leave. I get paid.

    Cons

    Internal politics, and lots of it. The work is definitely not what I was told it would be.

    Advice to Management

    I don't speak bureaucrat, so they wouldn't understand. I do like our Commissioner (Erica Groshen) because she's trying to make some changes within BLS but we're a part of Dept. of Labor, and they like to remind us of that fact by creating obstacles and being contrary.



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