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BEA Constantly Innovates to Produce New Statistics Measuring the U.S. Economy

BEA Constantly Innovates to Produce New Statistics Measuring the U.S. Economy

The Bureau of Economic Analysis is producing new economic statistics over the course of this year that offer businesses and households additional tools to make informed decisions and illustrate BEA’s innovative approach to better measure the dynamic U.S. economy.

Arts and Culture Statistics: These new annual statistics, released on Jan. 12, show the impact of arts and culture on the U.S. economy. The new data provides detailed information on spending on arts and culture as well as employment in those industries.

Health Care Statistics: BEA released data on Jan. 22 that -- for the first time -- provides information about the changes in prices to treat different diseases -- illustrating trends in prices from 2000 through 2010. BEA also released new statistics on spending to treat different medical conditions for those same years. Data for 2011 and 2012 will be released in the spring.

State Economic Activity: BEA on Sept. 2 will start releasing on a regular basis new quarterly statistics detailing economic activity in each state. The data offers a more up-to-date picture of how the states economies are faring and provides a more detailed view of economic activity across the entire United States.

• Consumer Spending by State:  BEA will begin producing these new annual statistics on a regular basis starting Dec. 1.  The data shows how much consumers spend in each state and provides details on the kinds of goods and services they buy.

New International Investment Statistics: These statistics, which BEA plans to release later this year, provides information on “greenfield” investment – investment that occurs when a foreign firm establishes a new U.S. business or expands an existing one by building a new plant or facility.

While each of these new statistics target different pieces of the U.S. economy, they all demonstrate BEA’s innovative approach to economic measurement. The first four examples leverage existing sets of source data in new ways to provide additional insight into the workings of the U.S. economy. The last item represents a new data collection effort that will pave the way for a new set of statistics on foreign investment.

Other innovations at BEA will allow more regional economic statistics to be released.

The new data provides businesses with more tools to make decisions about hiring and investment and can aid individuals looking to relocate for a job or to find a new job.   

These new estimates are just a few of the ways that BEA is innovating to better measure the 21st Century economy. Providing businesses and individuals with new data tools like these is a priority of the Commerce Department’s “Open for Business Agenda.”

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