DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006
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Washington, DC, February 9, 2005.
KATHLEEN P. UTGOFF,
Commissioner, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, DC.
DEAR COMMISSIONER UTGOFF: We are writing to express our concern about the Bureau's plans to discontinue the gender series in the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program, We strongly urge you to continue to collect these data.
Comprehensive and accurate gender employment information is vital to end the longstanding economic discrimination against women in our society. Women today earn 76 cents for every dollar earned by men. They work disproportionately in lower-paying occupations, and have far lower lifetime earnings than men. Congress, researchers, and policymakers across the country need the CBS data to understand gender inequality in the workforce, and guide us in our efforts to eliminate it.
The recent recession marked the start of the only period of sustained job loss for women in the last forty years. At a time when women's employment may be changing in fundamental ways, we should be expanding--not limiting--our ability to understand the evolving role of women in the nation's labor-force.
The CES data are the best available data on employment trends, and are indispensable to po1icymakers and researchers on the issue, The Current Population Survey is not an adequate substitute, Economists widely agree that the Bureau's Payroll Survey provides a far more accurate view of general employment trends than the Population Survey. As you yourself testified to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee in 2003, ``the payroll survey provides more reliable information on the current trend in wage and salary employment'' than the household survey, because the payroll survey has a larger sample and is linked to the total employment count based on records of the unemployment insurance tax.
You have indicated that eliminating the gender series is necessary so that the Bureau can reduce the burden of the survey on employers. But that benefit is miniscule compared to the significant loss caused by the elimination of the data series. The gender series is only a small portion of a survey that, by your own estimate, takes only seven minutes to fill out. Companies with 100 or more employees already have to submit EEO-1 forms detailing the gender breakdown of their workforce. In smaller companies, it is little burden to see the number of male and female employees.
In light of the special importance of the gender series, we urge you to continue to collect and provide these needed data.
EDWARD M. KENNEDY,
RICHARD J. DURBIN,
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD,
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON,
JOHN F. KERRY,
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE,
BARBARA A. MIKULSKI,
PAUL S. SARBANES,
PATRICK J. LEAHY,
JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN,
JON S. CORZINE,
DANIEL K. AKAKA,