[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 45 (Wednesday, March 10, 2021)]
[Pages 13754-13756]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-04938]



Employment and Training Administration

Request for Information Concerning a Report on Labor Market 
Information on the Native American Work Force

AGENCY: Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of 

ACTION: Request for information.


SUMMARY: The Department of Labor (the ``Department'') requests 
information on issues related to the development of a report concerning 
``Labor Market Information on the Indian Workforce,'' pursuant to the 
requirement in the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services 
Consolidation Act of 2017. The law tasks the Secretary of Labor to ``in 
a consistent and reliable manner, develop, maintain and publish, not 
less than biennially'' information related to 574 federally recognized 
tribes who are eligible for services under the Bureau of Indian Affairs 
(in the Department of the Interior). The Department invites tribal 
leaders, representatives, data specialists, and tribal members, as well 
as researchers and other interested parties to submit information 
related to the discussion and questions identified in the Supplementary 
Information section below. Responses to this Request for Information 
(RFI) will help the Department to identify approaches for generating 
accurate, timely and useful labor market information, and will 
complement the Department's consultations, as required under the law, 
with the Department of the Interior, tribes, and the Census Bureau.

DATES: Submit written responses on or before April 9, 2021. Responses 
are requested by 11:59 p.m. on the date above.

ADDRESSES: Information provided in response to this request can be 
submitted electronically to: [email protected] or in hard copy, by mail or 
delivery service, to: Wayne Gordon, Director, Division of Research and 
Evaluation, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of 
Labor, Room N-5641, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20210.

Additional Information and Instructions

    (1) All submissions should reference the agency name (Employment 
and Training Administration (ETA) and concern ``Information Concerning 
a Report on Labor Market Information on the Native American Work 
    (2) Submissions should include a name, phone number, and email 
address for a single point of contact, in addition to the 
organizations, tribes, or other governmental agencies with which 
respondents are associated.
    (3) Responses will not be posted publicly but will be summarized in 
a report prepared by the Department of Labor. It should be noted that 
any information submitted to the Department may be releasable pursuant 
to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act or other applicable 
law. For that reason, the Department requests that no business 
proprietary information, copyrighted information, or personally 
identifiable information be submitted in response to this RFI.
    (4) Please refer to the section on Supplementary Information below 
for background information and questions that respondents may want to 
address in their submissions. Should they choose to reply to some or 
all of those questions, respondents are requested to identify the 
section number(s) relevant to the appropriate sections of their 
    (5) Please note that research and evaluation studies, statistical 
information, training materials, policy statements or reports, or other 
relevant information may also be included or

[[Page 13755]]

referenced in responses. Please include hyperlinks if available.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wayne Gordon, Room N-5641, 200 
Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20210; by email: [email protected]; 
or by telephone: (202) 693-3179 (this is not a toll-free number). TTY/
TDD callers may dial toll-free 1 (877) 889-5627 to obtain information.


I. Background

    A report on labor market information on the Native American 
workforce was first required under the Indian Employment, Training and 
Related Services Demonstration Act of 1992 (Pub. L. 102-477, enacted 
October 23, 1992). Under that law, the Secretary of the Interior was 
responsible for producing a report biennially regarding the same data 
required in the Labor Department report, under the 2017 law, i.e., ``at 
the national level, by State, Bureau of Indian Affairs Service area, 
and tribal level for: (1) The total service population; (2) the service 
population under age 16 and over 64; (3) the population available for 
work, including those not considered to be actively seeking work; (4) 
the employed population, including those employed with annual earnings 
below the poverty line; and (5) the numbers employed in private sector 
positions and in public sector positions.''
    The Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) produced 
13 reports (entitled The American Indian Population and Labor Force 
Report) with the last report issued in 2013. Prior to that report, the 
population estimates in the reports were based primarily on data 
provided by the tribes themselves. However, in response to concerns 
about the accuracy and consistency of tribally provided data, BIA's 
2013 report made a number of changes. These included use of data from a 
combination of sources, such as the decennial Census, multi-year data 
from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS), and data 
provided from a survey that BIA conducted with tribes. The report also 
used new methods for estimating service populations based on county-
level data that attempted to approximate the geographic boundaries of 
tribes and nearby areas. Importantly, in regard to the Native American 
workforce, the report did not present estimates that met the exact 
requirements of the law, due to the lack of underlying data upon which 
to base such estimates. For that reason, the report used only Census 
data and presented percentage (rather than population) estimates on 
employment and unemployment regarding tribal areas (rather than for the 
service populations), and only state and national level estimates on 
some of the other measures identified in the law. Overall, then, the 
2013 report raised many concerns and issues that remain to be resolved 
in regard to developing future reports presenting labor market 
information on the Native American workforce.

II. Request for Public Comment

    The Department seeks information to help assure that future reports 
will present data that is accurate, consistent, and useful, and offers 
below additional information and series of questions that respondents 
may want to use to guide responses to this RFI. Response to this RFI is 
voluntary. Most of the questions, it should be noted, are geared to 
tribes themselves, since they are the primary intended beneficiaries of 
the report.
    (1) Uses of the Report: The Department is interested in how to 
assure that the population and labor force data presented in the report 
are as useful as possible, and for that reason, requests information 
related to the following:
    a. How did your tribe use information from past reports, such as 
for grant applications, service planning, economic development, or 
other purposes?
    b. What data has your tribe used for those purposes since the last 
report was produced in 2013?
    c. What do you think are likely to be the most important uses for 
the data in future reports for your tribe?
    (2) Scope and Frequency of Reports: The law requires that the 
information in the report must include but is ``not limited to'' data 
on the total and prime age service populations and employment, both 
generally, by annual poverty-level earnings, and by private and public 
sector employment. These required data elements do not, however, cover 
a range of population and labor market data that are typically 
available to other jurisdictions at the county and municipal level in 
the U.S. Examples of the data available to other jurisdictions include 
those related to age, gender, educational level, occupation, and 
industry, derived from both household and establishment surveys, among 
other sources. Also, in recent years, the Census Bureau has made 
changes in its sampling and geographic mapping capabilities, and 
created more accessible population statistics for individual tribes 
through its website, My Tribal Area at https://www.census.gov/tribal/. 
Further the law also requires the report to be produced every two 
years, which would require updating all the data presented in it, based 
on new data collection with samples of sufficient size and 
representativeness to assure accurate results. In light of options for 
adding other labor force and labor market data elements, improvements 
in the population data that may be available on your tribe, and 
challenges in collecting the underlying data, information is requested 
on the following:
    a. What other labor market or workforce data, beyond the required 
elements, would it be helpful to have in the reports?
    b. How frequently should reports be issued, and for what purposes?
    c. Should biennial reports cover all the data elements each time 
and if not, what other options should be considered?
    (3) Data Sources and Quality: As noted above, prior reports drew 
from different data sources, such as the decennial census, the American 
Community Survey, tribal enrollment data, and surveys of tribes. 
Although the past reports endeavored to provide the most accurate 
estimates possible, they have engendered a variety of concerns such as: 
An undercount overall and at the tribal level; incomplete information 
on the depths of ``joblessness'' among those are not actively seeking 
work due to lack of available jobs; use of small samples and data 
collection methods that result in incomplete or inaccurate data; a 
``spatial mismatch'' between tribal areas and county-level data, and 
lack of recognition of part-year residency of tribal members; and 
difficulties in determining who should be counted in the service 
populations in tribal areas. To address some of these problems, several 
tribes and tribal advocacy organizations have conducted research on 
alternative methods for collecting or adjusting available data on 
individual tribes' populations and various service needs. In light of 
these issues, information is sought on the following:
    a. What in your view are the best existing sources of data, for 
assuring accuracy and consistency, such as that from the ACS, tribal 
enrollment and membership records, or some combination of existing 
    b. Are there other data sources or data collection methods of which 
you are aware, that may be of interest to your tribe in developing more 
accurate population or labor force estimates?
    (4) Data Collection Capacity: Improving data quality and accuracy 
may depend on development of tribes' ability to collect their own data, 

[[Page 13756]]

relatively little is known about the current capacity of tribes to do 
so, nor how challenges in collecting and reporting data may vary among 
tribes that have widely different population sizes and locations. For 
that reason, the Department seeks information on the tribes' current 
capacity for data collection, analysis and reporting. The following 
questions may be useful in providing information about this:
    a. Does your tribe collect any population or labor force data? If 
so, what type of data does your tribe currently collect?
    b. What are the methods used to collect that data, and how might 
those relate to the size and location of your tribe?
    c. How often are those data collected, updated, and reported?
    d. How many staff (full and part time), including volunteers, are 
dedicated to such an effort, and if so, does your tribe partner with 
external organizations for such activities?
    e. If your tribe were to undertake additional data collection and 
reporting, what types or training and technical assistance might be 
most useful to your tribe? Would additional computer or internet 
resources be needed in order to engage more data collection?
    (5) Privacy and Data Security: Protecting the privacy of 
individuals and their families has been of increasing importance to 
tribes, and was an important topic in the consultations conducted with 
tribes by the Census Bureau in 2019. In light of this, information is 
requested on the following:
    a. What are the most important issues related to privacy and data 
security regarding the future reports with labor market information on 
the Native American work force?
    b. What are the key issues of concern regarding privacy, including 
access to and security of, tribally-collected data?
    (6) Technical Issues: There are a number of technical issues that 
will need to be resolved in order to develop a report on labor market 
information on the Native American work force that includes the data as 
required in the law, and possibly other data. Information is sought on 
relevant issues and possible options to resolve these technical issues, 
including but not limited to the following:
    a. What are the key issues concerning consistency across tribes for 
population and labor force counts, especially the number counted as the 
``service population''?
    b. What are the key issues in regard to the definition and 
boundaries of tribal ``service areas'' and how might those be resolved?
    c. Should there be a single data source used, or multiple possible 
data sources permitted in the report?
    d. Should data standards be developed and if so, by whom? and
    e. What other technical issues need to be addressed in regard to 
national survey data or tribally generated data?

III. Conclusion

    The Department invites all tribes and other interested parties to 
submit information relevant to development of the report, including but 
not limited to the questions posed in this RFI. The information 
provided by respondents will help in identifying and clarifying a range 
of approaches for meeting the requirements of the law, and for 
generating accurate, reliable and timely population, labor force, and 
labor market information that will be useful to tribal governments, as 
well as to Federal and state agencies that provide support to them and 
their members.

Suzan G. LeVine,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training, 
[FR Doc. 2021-04938 Filed 3-9-21; 8:45 am]