The Labor Department has hired a Salt Lake City firm (for $36,102) to see if the department's 19,000 employes are happier than they were three years ago when the same firm made a similar attitude survey.

Under terms of the sole-source contract, the Institute for Behavorial Research in Creativity will poll each of the department's workers, asking how they feel on such subjects as:

* The Civil Service Reform Act.

* How supervisors and top officials are doing their jobs.

* Merit pay.

* The fairness of performance appraisals.

The Labor Department will distribute questionnaires to each employe. Workers will fill them out if they wish and then send them to Utah for analysis.

The survey will compare employes' attitudes toward their jobs by race, sex and job category.

Perceptions of employes this year toward their jobs and their bosses will be compared to the way it was in 1980, during the Carter administration, and against job attitudes of workers in other federal agencies.

Once the analysis is completed, the institute will give an oral briefing on the results to key management personnel and supply the department with backup data, department officials say.

Just what the department will do with the information once it gets it is unclear. Maybe it will have to hire an outside consultant to study the studies!