All posts by Brendan Buff

Statistical Agency Budget Request Update

There have been several interesting developments in budget requests from federal statistical agencies for FY 2017. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Employment and Training Administration have proposed new or revived programs related to employment, job training, apprenticeships and data tools.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has requested $1,577,000 to add an annual supplement to the Current Population Survey. This includes a proposal for the Contingent Worker Supplement (CWS), which would shed light on the extent of temporary employment within different industries over time. Further, they are requesting $3 million for the launch of a new survey of employer-provided training. This survey would return after twenty years the Surveys of Employer-Provided Training (SEPT).

The Employment and Training Administration within the Department of Labor has also introduced new data programs of interest. They have requested $2 billion for the Career Navigators and WIOA Workforce Data Science and Innovation Fund. This program would “[collect] and [make] accessible information about which training programs are leading to strong employment and earnings outcomes and career guidance.” ETA has also requested $10.5 billion for job training programs including the Apprenticeship Training Fund, American Talent Compact, and Opening Doors for Youth. Finally, the Department of Labor has requested an appropriation of $40 million for Workforce Data Quality Initiative, a $30 million increase from FY 2016 to FY 2017.

2016 Annual Business Meeting

The 2016 Annual Business Meeting & State of the Association will be held on February 16, 2016 at 4:00 PM EST. This is a great opportunity for APDU members to learn about accomplishments from 2015 and planned activities for 2016. Further, members will have an opportunity to interact with Board Members. Please see the agenda for further details. We look forward to your attendance!

You are welcome to join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone. You can also dial in using your phone:

United States +1 (224) 501-3312

Access Code: 282-585-245


Job Board January 2016

Happy New Year! Welcome to the monthly APDU Job Board. Members are invited to submit job postings at their organization; the Board will also include a collection of public data-related positions (research, projections, etc.) from a variety of Federal, nonprofit, and private sources. You can submit your job postings to

APDU Advocacy Makes a Difference

Happy New Year! As we look to 2016, we wanted to let you know that APDU has been hard at work advocating for the public data programs that you rely on. In the run-up to the passage of the Omnibus, APDU fought for the protection of funding for the Census Bureau, particularly in light of threats to its funding and ACS’ mandatory status. Our outreach to leaders on the Hill, in collaboration with key partners and with your own efforts in your regions, had an impact. Before leaving town for the holidays, Congress passed the spending bill for fiscal year 2016. The omnibus spending bill provided much needed increases for several federal statistical agencies and discards the hotly contested House provision to make the American Community Survey voluntary.

Most notably, the Census Bureau received an increase of $282 million in funding from FY 2015 levels, a 26% increase needed in preparation for the 2020 Census.  Funding for the Bureau of Labor Statistics grew by $16.8 million, a 2.8% increase, over 2015 levels. The National Center for Education Statistics received a notable increase of $29 million, a 12.5%, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis budget increased by $9 million dollars, a 9.1% rise in funding. Other agencies, such as the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and Economic Research Service, all had flat funding. The mostly positive budget news for federal statistical data in the 2016 spending bill is a reminder of the importance of the work APDU and its partners do in advocating for these programs so important for our government, society, and economy as well as for you.

Our advocacy efforts are not limited to advocating for federal funding for public data. The APDU Update’s “Calls for Comment” section keeps members informed about regulatory changes to public data programs. Further, APDU partnered with other organizations including the Census Project and Friends of Labor Statistics to mobilize member support for both the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics through letters to Congress and comments on regulatory changes. We are proud to be part of this broader advocacy community. We would like to thank you for your continued support in helping us to do this vital work.

Job Board December 2015

Welcome to the new APDU Job Board! Members are invited to submit job postings at their organization; the Board will also include a collection of public data-related positions (research, projections, etc.) from a variety of Federal, nonprofit, and private sources. You can submit your job postings to


Why Join APDU?

Since 1977, the Association of Public Data Users has been advocating for public data and educating our dedicated membership about its value. We have a weekly newsletter, the popular Public Data University, continually growing Annual Conference, and diverse network of members. APDU is also introducing a monthly Job Board as a member benefit.

APDU helps researchers, businesses, and governments use publicly available data. Businesses rely on data from the Census Bureau and other agencies for information about demographics, local income, and more to identify locations for expansions. Governments use the same data to distribute federal funding. Researchers use health data from the National Center for Health Statistics, data on education outcomes from the National Center for Education Statistics, or crime data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics to produce important reports.  Public data plays a critical role in the daily work of academics, the private sector and public sector.  This data is a public good that requires an intermediary, APDU, to advocate for its continued funding and to make it accessible to all.

The following member benefits help APDU members learn about and take advantage of public data:

  • The weekly newsletter gives members updates on news related to the public data programs they rely on, interesting new data publications, and regulatory changes to programs found in the Federal Register.
  • The Public Data University is the premier source for webinars on both major and obscure federal data agencies, programs, and special public data topics.
  • The Annual Conference is a member favorite, with informative presentations from federal agencies and data experts from a variety of fields, networking opportunities, and vendors from the federal government, private sector, and nonprofits.
  • The Member Area on provides access to archived training, resources, tools, and publications.

We at APDU are excited about our newest website feature, the APDU Job Board. Members are welcome to submit job postings at their organizations; the post will include member submissions and a curated selection of job postings that both members and non-members can access. Every week, the blog will feature a new selection of jobs from members and the public data universe.

Public data is the lifeblood of researchers, businesses, and governments. APDU will help you identify new data sources, how to access them, and most importantly, how to use public data to produce great work for your organization. Sign up to become a member today!

APDU offers four levels of membership:

Premium Organizational membership – $995

  • Full access to all member benefits and content
  • Up to 25 staff with access to member benefits
  • Unlimited free Public Data University webinars and resources
  • 10 annual conference registrations at Premium member rate
  • Training at member rate
  • Eligible for APDU Board of Directors and committees

Basic Organizational membership – $375 / $700

  • Full access to all member benefits and content
  • Up to 3 staff with access to member benefits (4-6 contacts, $700)
  • Unlimited free Public Data University webinars and resources
  • Conference and training registration at member rate
  • Eligible to serve on APDU Board of Directors and committees

Individual membership – $200

  • Full access to all member benefits and content
  • One person (additional contacts activate the Basic Organization rate)
  • Unlimited free Public Data University webinars and resources
  • Conference and training registration at member rate
  • Eligible to serve on APDU Board of Directors and committees

Affiliate membership – $75

  • APDU Weekly, APDU Quarterly, access to member area content
  • One person (additional contacts activate the Basic Organization rate)
  • One free access to live webinar; conference and training registration at full rate
  • Eligible to serve on APDU committees
  • Students (w/ active student ID) eligible for special member and conference registration rates

For more information about becoming an APDU member, contact

Download the application form (PDF)

Send your completed form and dues to:

Association of Public Data Users
P. O. Box 100155
Arlington, VA 22210


Advocate for Important Data Programs

Congress and the Administration have reached a budget deal for FY2016 (and FY2017) that will increase the overall spending limit for non-defense discretionary programs by $25 billion for the fiscal year that started October 1st. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees must now revise the 12 annual funding bills, and Congress must enact them, before the temporary spending bill (Continuing Resolution) expires on December 11th.

This is an opportunity for APDU members to advocate to the House and Senate subcommittees in charge of funding for the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Bureau of Economic Analysis. The new budget framework provides additional resources for the appropriate committees in charge of these vital data programs (Commerce, State, Justice or equivalent in the House/Senate and Housing Education Labor Pensions or equivalent in the House/Senate). APDU’s friends at the Census Project are currently circulating a letter advocating for full ACS funding. Now would be a good time for your Senator or Congressman to hear about the importance of Census, BLS, and BEA funding.

Census Project Briefing on 2020 Census Operational Plan

Census Bureau Director John Thompson will brief Census Project stakeholders on the 2020 Census Preliminary Operational Plan, via a toll-free call on Wednesday, October 21, from 1-2 p.m. Eastern Time. Please RSVP to as soon as possible if you would like to participate. The Census Project will send call-in information to those who have registered. This is an important opportunity to hear firsthand about significant new operations and methods for the 2020 Census and to pose questions and concerns to the Director.

BLS Letter of Support

Friends of Labor Statistics asks that Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) users directly contact your Senators and Representatives to help prevent BLS from having to cut its statistical programs.

The link below provides a template for organizations and individuals to use and revise to specific concerns and circumstances.

BLS Appropriations Template


Congress Learns More About the Importance of the American Community Survey

Funding for the Census Bureau and ACS has been a hot topic on Capitol Hill lately.  Congress is considering making responses to the survey voluntary (currently they are mandatory by law), eliminating questions from the survey that are considered too nosy, and even eliminating the survey entirely.

On May 27, the Census Project, a network of organizations advocating for Census programs, held a briefing for Congressional leaders and their staff on the American Community Survey in the Capitol Visitors Center. The panel providing insights on the importance of the ACS included representatives from business organizations, survey researchers, civil rights advocacy, and local government. Twenty-one organizations (including APDU) co-sponsored the event.

ACS is notable because it has typically drawn bipartisan support, and the private sector simply cannot replicate the power of the ACS.  Larry Jones of the U.S. Conference of Mayors noted the importance that ACS lays in helping to allocate $415 billion of federal funding, not to mention the state and local funding dependent on ACS counts. Chris Gerlach of the International Council of Shopping Centers highlighted ACS’s role in guiding U.S. real estate investment strategies.  Without it, businesses of all sizes would not have the data to guide business investments, commercial lending, and new site locations. Terry Ao Minnis of Asian Americans Advancing Justice noted the role of ACS in helping to assess progress in civil rights and in ensuring that the U.S. can enforce key legislative provisions such as the Voting Rights Act or the Fair Housing Act. At the same time, Howard Fienberg of the Marketing Research Association explained why the federal government must take on the task of conducting the survey.  He noted that it is simply not possible for the private sector to obtain as broad a statistical sample and that even the best voluntary survey would leave about 40 percent of US counties without reliable data because so many fewer people would respond.

The briefing illustrated the strong and diverse constituency supporting the ACS. More importantly, it demonstrated the vital role that this simple data program has in all aspects of American life and why Congress should ensure that it remains a high quality resource for the American people.