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Economic and Statistics Administration – Providing the Foundation for Solid Public Policy

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The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) is one of the primary economic arms of the American government.  Our mission is to serve the American public by measuring and analyzing the nation’s rapidly changing economic and social arrangements. We do that by informing policy makers about opportunities to improve the well-being of Americans, such as initiatives that put Americans back to work.

ESA helps with the understanding of the key forces at work in the economy by providing objective data that enable sound policymaking.  Our mission is to create the conditions for economic growth and opportunity, by providing information that supports innovation, entrepreneurship, competitiveness, and an informed society. 

Leveraging a treasure trove of economic and demographic data, we provide expert economic analysis -- in-depth reports, shorter fact sheets, and briefings. Policymakers, the public, American businesses – the many and varied customers of the Commerce Department rely upon these tools, as do state and local governments and our sister agencies here at DoC. Our economic indicators drive news around the world. 

In addition to regular economic statistical updates, we produce reports on important topics of the day.  Recent reports have included a three-part series on jobs of the future: science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and the quality and promise those fields have for America as a global leader in technology and innovation.  We have reported on the status of the middle class in America, women-owned businesses, broadband access in the U.S., and the “green” economy. 

ESA maintains a sound Federal statistical system: our oversight of the U.S. Census Bureau not only means helping the Bureau fulfill its constitutional mandate to produce a decennial Census, but helping to ensure that effort is fiscally responsible, timely and as accurate as possible. Indeed, the 2010 Decennial Census came in a remarkable $1.6 billion under budget with ESA’s leadership and Census’ excellent work. And the bar is high for this massive undertaking and made even more challenging by the complexities of our large and heterogeneous populace. 

ESA also oversees the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).  Among other economic indicators, BEA produces gross domestic product (GDP). In a public policy environment where economic growth and job creation are paramount, indicators such as GDP become even more vital to understanding whether we are on the right path. 

Indeed, ESA releases one dozen monthly and quarterly national economic indicators that have been collected by those statistical agencies. 

We are leading efforts to improve access to – and the quality of -- our data, developing new ways to disseminate information using the most advanced technologies, and to support the information and analytic needs of customers.

Effectively Managing Two Premier Statistical Agencies

In its oversight role, ESA works closely with the leadership at BEA and the U.S. Census.

Other recent key activities include:

  • Leading efforts to improve user accessibility to data from ESA, BEA, and Census;
  • Improving federal statistics through actions such as improving the measurement of poverty or coordinating conversations across data agencies on how to best adjust data for seasonal trends;
  • Helping the Census Bureau restructure its organization and processes to improve its products; and
  • Planning the 2020 decennial census and initiating early research and program activities

ESA supports intra-DoC and intra-governmental initiatives such as the Pension Benefit Guarantee Board, open government and customer service.  We welcome opportunities to leverage our staff and resources to support of others across the government.  We also engage in inter-governmental initiatives, such as working with the Chinese government on trade measurement/data issues.

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