BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, LABOR, AND STATISTICS
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Agency History #528
In 1890, the Territorial Legislature passed an act which created a Bureau of Statistics. Its purpose was to gather information regarding property, public works, industry, population, transportation, and employment (Laws of Utah, Ch. XLIII, 1890). This bureau was abolished at statehood but eventually replaced by the Bureau of Statistics in 1901. The Bureau of Statistics reported details relating to agriculture, mining, manufactures, and other industries to the Governor (Laws of Utah, Ch. 55, 1901). In 1911, the Bureau was reorganized under the name of Bureau of Immigration, Labor, and Statistics (Laws of Utah, Ch 113, 1911). In 1917, the legislature created the Industrial Commission which abolished the Bureau and assumed the commissioner's duties (Laws of Utah, Ch 100, 1917).
Although the duties of the commissioner expanded over the years, the commissioner's main function was to report statistics regarding the resources and citizens of the state annually to the Governor. This included information regarding agriculture, water resources, minerals, public services and property, education, churches and charity, transportation, industry, employment, and any other information regarding the development of the state. It was also his responsibility to become knowledgeable about the various developing areas of the state and encourage industrial and agriculture development where he deemed necessary. The commissioner also had the power to investigate and report violations of employment practice and industry and make recommendations for improvement.
The Territorial Statistician's main duty was to gather and report each county's statistics and maintain statewide statistics regarding transportation (roads and railroads), industry, and employment. County assessors reported county statistics to the Territorial Statistician regarding livestock, property ownership, and produce.
In 1901, the commissioner had the power to issue subpoenas, administer oaths, and take testimony from witnesses relating to the statistical details of the agriculture, mining, and industry of the state.
In 1911, the commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration, Labor, and Statistics had the expanded duty to collect, compile, and present in annual reports to the Governor all reliable data and information the various resources of the state. The commissioner maintained data on agriculture, horticulture, irrigation, mines, commercial industries, public schools, public lands, churches, charitable institutions, vacation resorts, vital statistics of the state, transportation, media, and generally, "any information which if disseminated abroad would tend to the development of the State by inducing population and capital to come within its borders" (Laws of Utah, Ch. 113, 1911). To this end, the commissioner was to endeavor to secure low rates of transportation favorable to immigration by urging the cooperation of railroads and other corporations interested in the settlement of Utah; become knowledgeable regarding suitable locations for agricultural and horticultural colonies; answer correspondence; and organize local exhibits to advertise Utah's resources.
In addition to promoting the state through statistics, the commissioner had the duty to investigate and report all violations of law regarding the employment of children, minors, and women; and report violations of the laws created to protect all employees of factories, mines, mills, and other institutions. He also had the duty to make recommendations regarding these violations in the endeavor to improve labor conditions.
In 1890, the Territorial Librarian also became the Territorial Statistician and headed the Bureau of Statistics. This statistician reported annually to the Secretary of the Territory. In 1901, the Governor chose a commissioner to head the recreated Bureau for a four year term who reported annually to the Governor. In 1907, the legislature passed an act which placed the Bureau under the control of the State Auditor who then became the ex-officio commissioner of the Bureau (Laws of Utah, Ch 131, 1907). In 1911, with the creation of the Bureau of Immigration, Labor, and Statistics, the Governor again appointed a commissioner as head of the Bureau. The commissioner's term was two years and he had the power to appoint a deputy commissioner.
The Territorial Statistician gave forms to the various county clerks who in turn gave them to the county assessors. Each assessor was responsible to interview each property owner at the time of taxation regarding their personal property. The county clerk in turn assessed the use of county monies and facilities and reported to the Secretary of the Territory.
In 1901, in addition to the county assessors, the bureau collected information from several state, county, city, town, precinct and school district officers; from officers of prisons, penal, and reformatory institutions; and from each owner, operator, or manager of industrial, mining or agricultural businesses.
|Fred W. Price,||1906-1907|
|Jesse D. Jewkes,||1908-1911|
|H. T. Haines,||1912-1917|
COMPILED BY: Michelle Call, May 2001
Legislature, Laws of Utah, (Series 83155).
Secretary of State, Public Documents, (Series 240).