Robert L. Stein, 54, assistant commissioner for current employment analysis at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, died of cancer Saturday at Suburban Hospital. He lived in Potomac.

An economist and statisican, Mr. Stien joined the bureau in 1959. In the Social Security Administration and then returned to the Bureau of Labor Statisics.

Recognized as a leading analyst of employment and unemployment trends, he appeared frequently before the Congressional Joint Economic Committee to testify on matters in that area.

In 1978-79, Mr. Stein represented the U.S. government at confrences on employment and unemployment statistics held in Paris and sponsored by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Developmemt.

He was the author of numerous articles published in the monthly Labor Review Employment and Earnings and other journals. He was a member of the American Statistical Association.

Mr. Stein was born in New York City. He was a graduate of the City College of New York and took further studies at Columbia University.

He served in Europe with the U.S. Army in World War II and received the Purple Heart. He worked for the Bureau of the Census here from 1950 to 1959.

He is survived by his wife, Judith, of Potomac; three children, Debra of Chevy Chase, Kenneth, of Wheaton, and Cynthia, of Potomac, and his father, Martin, of Brooklyn.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Maryland Society for Autistic Children, Residential Project, in care of Kenneth Weidel, 11809 Caplinger Rd., Silver Spring, 20904.