Today’s post comes to us from Brandon Bielich, managing editor of The Workforce Institute at UKG.
The UKG Workforce Institute is pleased to welcome our newest advisory board member: Dr. William Beach, labor economist and former Commissioner of Labor Statistics at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
If you follow the U.S. labor market closely — especially its roller-coaster ride over the past few years, as documented by the monthly UKG Workforce Activity Report and the BLS’s first-Friday jobs report — you’re likely well aware of Dr. Beach’s recent work.
For our subscribers here at the UKG Workforce Institute, you’ll most likely remember Dr. Beach from his memorable appearance on our fan-favorite video series, “Leadership in the Labor Shortage,” also known as “No Suits, No Slides!” In a special three-part, nearly hour-long conversation, Dr. Beach describes what it was like leading the BLS during the COVID-19 pandemic and how the exceptional time impacted the workforce and the larger labor market.
Dr. Beach served under two U.S. presidential administrations as the bureau’s 15th Commissioner of Labor Statistics, appointed to a four-year term at the BLS in 2019. While at the BLS, among many priorities, Dr. Beach focused on improving the ways the bureau tracks employee productivity, as well as enhancing BLS price programs, such as the Producer Price Index (PPI) and the Consumer Price Index (CPI), both key indicators in measuring economic performance across the country.
In his candid chat with Dave Gilbertson and fellow advisory board member John Frehse for the “No Suits, No Slides!” series, Dr. Beach talked about the real-life influence of data like the BLS provides, such as helping the government determine gross domestic product (GDP):
“Without the statistical organs of the federal government and state governments, you really wouldn’t know what’s happening in the world. … You wouldn’t know what GDP is [for example]. GDP doesn’t exist in nature,” Dr. Beach said. “There’s no such thing as ‘total number of jobs’ in nature. You have to go to a statistics organization and challenge them to come up with ways of measuring (reasonably so) social and economic phenomena. And then they measure them, repeat the measurement, and scrutinize it, and it becomes part of the productive economic infrastructure of the country.”
Dr. Beach completed his term with the BLS in 2023. He is currently the Coffin Fellow at the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation and the Senior Fellow in Economics at the Economic Policy Innovation Center.
Prior to joining the BLS, Dr. Beach was Vice President for Policy Research at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, from 2016 to 2019. He also served as the Chief Economist for the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, Republican Staff, from 2013 through early 2016. Among his other professional positions, Beach was the Lazof Family Fellow in Economics at Heritage and Founder and Director of the Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis (CDA).
He is a graduate of Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, and also holds a graduate degree in history and economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a doctorate degree in economics from Buckingham University in Great Britain, where he is a Visiting Fellow in Economics.
As a member of the UKG Workforce Institute advisory board, Dr. Beach will tackle such topics as what’s happening in the U.S. labor market, the next generation of work, automation, employee engagement, and population trends.
On behalf of the entire UKG Workforce Institute, we’re thrilled to have Dr. Beach join our advisory board. We look forward to his unique perspectives, valuable insights, and the expertise he’ll bring to the institute in helping business leaders navigate the complex labor market and other factors affecting the American workforce across industries.
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