Immediately after the revolution of 1848, he was attached to the royal commission in Saxony appointed to determine the relations between trade and labor. In 1850, he was directed by the government to assist in the organization of the German Industrial Exhibition of Leipzig (the first of its kind). His efforts were so successful that, in 1854, he was induced to enter the government service, as chief of the newly instituted statistical department. He retired, however, from the office in 1858. He founded at Dresden the first Mortgage Insurance Society (Hypotheken-Versicherungsgesellschaft), and as a result of the success of his work, was summoned in 1860 to Berlin as director of the statistical department, in succession to Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Dieterici. In his new office, he made himself a name of worldwide reputation. Raised to the rank of Geheimer Regierungsrat, he retired in 1882 and lived henceforward in Serkowitz, today part of Radebeul near Dresden, where he died in 1896. Engel was a voluminous writer on the subjects with which his name is connected, but his statistical papers are mostly published in the periodicals which he himself established, namely, Preuss. Statistik (in 1861); Zeitschrift des Statistischen Bureaus, and Zeitschrift des Statistischen Bureaus des Königreichs Sachsen.
Heinrich Strecker & Rolf Wiegert (1997) Engel, (Christian Lorenz) Ernst pp. 280-3 in Leading Personalities in Statistical Sciences from the Seventeenth Century to the Present, (ed. N. L. Johnson and S. Kotz) 1997. New York: Wiley. Originally published in Encyclopedia of Statistical Science.