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Assigning Permanent Random Number to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Longitudinal (Universe) Data Base

Shail J. Butani, Kenneth W. Robertson, and Kirk Mueller


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) routinely conducts several large-scale establishment surveys in a Federal/State cooperative environment. The major ones are: the Current Employment Statistics (CES) Survey, commonly known as the monthly payroll survey; the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey; and the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Survey. At present, the CES and OES Surveys are going through major redesigns. A major feature of the redesigns calls for centralized processing of the sample allocation and selection in order to achieve efficiency and to spread the response burden more evenly among the businesses; the OSH Survey already has centralized processing. Additionally, BLS is in the process of designing a longitudinal database (LDB) for its Business Establishment List (BEL). These opportunities presented an ideal time to begin the use of permanent random numbers (PRN) at BLS.