What’s a typical day like for the team that supports BLS?

Behind the scenes of Jobs Friday

by NPR's The Indicator from Planet Money

In a podcast published by National Public Radio (NPR), one of our Data Collection Specialists shared her experience gathering information for the Bureau of Labor Statistics

“Smiling and Dialing”

Titan Technologies employees who serve our contract with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) perform crucial work that helps drive U.S. economic policy and operation. In a 10-minute podcast published by National Public Radio (NPR), one of our employees describes what her job is like.

Erica Hennion, who supports our BLS contract from our Fort Walton Beach, Fla. location, was interviewed for an NPR episode of “The Indicator from Planet Money”, hosted by Darian Woods and Wailin Wong. The intent of the podcast was to shine some light on how data is gathered to generate the monthly jobs report released by the BLS.

“We want to go backstage to the economic statistics green rooms and eavesdrop on the bespectacled heroes entering numbers into databases,” Darian said. “Every month, the establishment survey interviews about 130,000 employers. It covers about a third of all non-farm workers in the country. Some employers complete the survey online, but a lot of it is done the old-fashioned way over the phone.”

Erica is one of about 300 people working the phones to paint that big picture of jobs in America. She aims to contact about 400 businesses each month to find out if their employment figures went up or down, and by how much. She also asks each employer how many of their staff are women; how many are in non-supervisory roles, total payroll costs and the total hours worked. In addition, she jots down notes about why a company’s employees were working more hours this month.

“We call it smiling and dialing,” Erica said. “You call, you collect the data, you thank them, you schedule them forward, and you hang up, and then you just do the next call. And then, all of a sudden, you look up and it’s lunchtime, and you’re like, where did the morning go?”

Erica’s work is so important because the employment-related numbers she collects are used to help make decisions at the local level (for projects such as town planning or business relocation) and at the national level (for the Federal Reserve to track economic indicators and possibly raise or lower interest rates accordingly).

“For those jobs numbers, the chair of the Federal Reserve and his colleagues rely on the numbers spoken to people like Erica in a Florida call center,” Darian says.


Hear Erica tell her story here.


Jobs at Titan Technologies

To learn more about the jobs offered by Titan Technologies at various locations in support of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, click See Jobs below and search for “Customer Service Representative” and “Data Collection Specialist”.


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