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National Restaurant Association - BLS offers free statistics on spending, prices

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BLS offers free statistics on spending, prices

How much do consumers spend at restaurants? What’s happening with wholesale prices of beef? Is food inflation running stronger or weaker than last year?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has answers to these questions and more. BLS is the federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity in the economy, including consumer spending, and wholesale and retail food prices. Its collection and dissemination of essential economic information can help business owners make informed decisions – and its extensive range of data is available for free. 

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) uses a variety of BLS data in its research and analysis of the restaurant industry and economic indicators that influence the operating environment, and encourages restaurant operators’ participation in BLS economic programs to maintain and strengthen data reliability.

A broad overview of industry-based BLS data can be found on its website, including workforce statistics, earnings and hours, and inflation statistics. Many of these data sets are also available for regions, states, and metropolitan areas.

The BLS accepts the information from businesses in a variety of formats - mail, telephone, fax, e-mail, secure website, in person, or some combination of these methods.

As a non-regulatory statistical agency, BLS relies almost exclusively on businesses’ and consumers’ cooperation and notes on its website that confidentiality of data is central to accomplishing its mission.

BLS has regional information offices staffed by economists who are ready to answer any questions regarding BLS data and how to use that information.

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