Research Economist

About the Agency

The Department of Labor (DOL) seeks to attract and retain a high performing and diverse workforce in which employees’ differences are respected and valued to better meet the varying needs of the diverse customers we serve. DOL fosters a diverse and inclusive work environment that promotes collaboration, flexibility and fairness so that all individuals are able to participate and contribute to their full potential.

This position is located in the DOL, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Office of Compensation and Working Conditions (OCWC), Compensation Research and Program Developement Group (CRPDG).

The BLS is the principal Federal statistical agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. Its mission is to collect, analyze, and disseminate essential economic information to support the public and private decision-making that forms the basis of our democratic, free-enterprise system. Like all Federal statistical agencies, the BLS executes its statistical mission with independence, serving its users by providing products and services that are accurate, objective, relevant, timely, and accessible.

The CRPDG carries out research that addresses methodological, conceptual, and technical issues of concern to OCWC and other BLS programs. CRPDG serves OCWC by providing functional expertise in the areas of economic theory and practice, and its mission is to stay abreast of new trends in labor economics and general survey methodology. CRPDG’s expertise makes it ideally suited to identifying new products that OCWC might offer and searching out new ways that OCWC’s existing products can be enhanced.

  • This position has a full performance level of GS-14. Promotion Potential: There is no obligation to provide future promotions to you if you are selected. Future promotions are dependent on your ability to perform the duties at a higher level, the continuing need for an employee assigned to the higher level, and supervisory approval.
  • This position is inside the bargaining unit.
  • A writing sample may be requested at the time of the interview.
  • This announcment may be used to fill additional like positions.
  • This position will not be filled until the Department’s Placement Assistance Programs have been fully utilized.
  • Applications for this announcement will be accepted online only by clicking the “Apply Online” button.

Duties

As a Research Economist in the CRPDG, the incumbent is responsible for initiating and directing activities for improving the quality and enhancing the analytical usefulness of current output of OCWC, long term program development, and initiating and conducting economic research relevant to the mission of BLS. The CRPDG is delegated responsibility for: (1) initiating and conducting program development activities by developing or refining relevant economic concepts, techniques, or measures studying possibilities for the integration of programs, assessing the need for the collection of new data elements, developing the design of micro data sets suitable for econometric analysis, and initiating and conducting analyses of the behavior and characteristics of data series; (2) initiating and conducting research involving methodological and conceptual issues of concern to OCWC programs or which cut across subject matter areas; (3) providing consultation and guidance to OCWC staff to ensure the application of sound economic principles and the use of effective econometric and quantitative methods; (4) serving as OCWC technical expert on research and program development activities and representing OCWC to other agencies, research institutions, and the general public on these activities; and (5) coordinating with economic research staff or other BLS offices on cross-cutting activities.

In carrying out these responsibilities staff members of CRPDG are expected to advise and direct other BLS economists who may possess extensive research and development experience. The staff of CRPDG must possess the highest level of technical expertise and the ability to make judgments about research and program development methodology and research and statistical program results. The staff must be able to offer advice from both an academic background and a research background. As such, the qualifications, stature, and contributions of the incumbent have a direct and major impact on the level of difficulty and responsibility of the work performed and requires a research capability normally demonstrated by a Ph.D.

Duties include but are not limited to:

  • Conducts program development activities applying economic, econometric, and statistical principles and concepts, to improve the quality, technical currency, and analytical usefulness of OCWC programs. Activities may involve studying possibilities for integration of programs or assessing the need for the collection of new data elements.
  • Identifying the need for program development activities and initiating program development projects is accomplished in conjunction with the Senior Research Level Economist and other more senior CRPDG staff.
  • Develops OCWC data bases for application to analytical needs. Identifies problems in the existing content of labor data surveys or the existing measurement of economic variables important to labor market analysis, and, by drawing implications from economic theory, develops more appropriate measurement concepts or additional measures for labor market variables (an important part of the latter includes the development of the presently-existing body of economic theory into new areas where it is at present inchoate).
  • Assesses possibilities for improving existing survey data for analytical purposes, such as by developing longitudinal microdata files or matching information across surveys. Initiates and conducts analyses of the behavior and characteristics of data series.
  • Provides advice and guidance to staff to ensure application of sound economic principles and the use of effective econometric and quantitative methods, including advice on econometric methods and research methodology pertinent to problems in labor market analysis. The incumbent will utilize techniques that may include fixed effect models, hazard and other transition probability models, linear and nonlinear estimations, models accounting for sample selection bias, instrumental variables models, and models appropriate for limited dependent variables such as probit, logit, and tobit. Where appropriate, devises new techniques where none exist that are adequate for particular research problems.
  • Represents the OCWC as a technical expert on research and program development activities to other organizations within BLS, other agencies, research institutions, and the general public.
  • Conducts research involving theoretical and empirical issues of concern to OCWC programs. Such research often involves investigation and experimentation into unexplored and unprecedented areas. Frequently, solutions are possible only through the application to the problem of the newest and most advanced theoretical and econometric techniques which have not previously been brought to bear on the problem. Therefore, the position requires advanced and sophisticated training, with heavy emphasis on theory and quantitative methods, plus unusual aptitude for refined and original research.

Relocation Authorized

  • No

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