March was an incredibly productive month at the Mid-Atlantic office in the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As an intern, I am expected to gain an overall knowledge of BLS programs. Therefore, I met with all the branch chiefs and economists that were experts in their particular program. These include programs such as: the collaboration between the federal government and the state government, called the Fed/State program, the Price program; which releases the consumer price index and producer price index, the employment program; which includes current employment statistics, and many more. The BLS site gives details and data on all the programs. After hours and days of learning I now see how all those programs fit together and I got a clearer view of the organization.
The BLS publishes many releases to the public, and the Economic Analysis and Information office, where I am located, is in charge of providing the public with information about the programs. We receive calls every morning from the media and public. The economists in the EA&I office gladly accept calls and walk people through the website to find the information they are looking for. There are times when we receive faxes and emails with questions as well. I have responded to a few inquiries from people looking for data, through fax and emails.
I have also done a lot of fact-checking — making sure all the data provided in each release is correct and that there are no mistakes. One release will go through as many as four people in the office before it is sent out to yet another office to be checked. BLS is extremely thorough when it comes to fact-checking. What I have also learned is that BLS is also a neutral organization, meaning that everything that is published is unbiased. We lay out the facts and it’s up to the public to decide how they want to perceive it as.
At the end of March, my coworker, Erin, and I went to an effective business writing course offered by the Bureau of Labor. It was a great refresher and interesting experience. This week I will be going to an effective presentation techniques training course where I will learn presentation skills. These are both skills that are going to be 100 percent transferable to anywhere I go. Not only that, but they’ll also be useful when I present the Employment Projections to the TPC students later in the month.