FreeLunch.com is a comprehensive website featuring continually updated U.S. financial and economic data. This free resource is a part of Moody’s Economy.com, which is a leading provider of data and analysis of the world’s economies and financial markets, used by businesses, governments and investors.
FreeLunch.com provides a wealth of data on numerous economic indicators. Users can find historical as well as up-to-date information on economic, demographic and financial data. Categories include consumer markets, flow of funds, gross domestic product, labor markets, international trade, interest rates and more. When logging into the site (free registration required), you can either look for data through the search query or browse the different categories. There is an additional section called, “Hot Today,” which shows the top recent searches and downloads on the site.
After choosing a category—for example, Labor Markets—a list of relevant data to view will be presented, such as total employment, unemployment and number of layoffs. When clicking View for a subcategory, a new window will provide the data. If you have pop-up windows blocked on your browser, the desired data won’t show, so make sure to enable pop-ups for this site. In the new window, the data will be provided in a chart and table format. As an added bonus, FreeLunch.com allows its users to download data into an Excel spreadsheet by clicking Export to Excel. Users can also add data from different categories into their “basket” by clicking Add to Basket. You have the choice of exporting data into Excel from individual categories or downloading all the items in your basket into one Excel spreadsheet. For example, you can add data from government spending as well as government budget into one spreadsheet, which will make comparing and analyzing the two easier.
FreeLunch.com is beneficial because it compiles a variety of financial and economic data from various reliable sources, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Department of Treasury, and provides it all on one site for free. The charting format is especially interesting because it illustrates the state of the economy (in its subcategories) visually. For example, viewing the unemployment rate’s graph shows the dramatic fluctuations in unemployment over the past decade; its table shows the specific months that the 2008 financial crisis heavily affected the U.S. unemployment rate. Viewing the federal budget shows spikes in the budget and spending, which usually can be correlated to specific events such as the U.S. involvement in wars.
FreeLunch.com is plain, but it reflects its purpose perfectly: facts without embellishment. Whether your goal is to compile data for analysis or simply view facts without a strong political spin, FreeLunch.com is a great resource for accessing current data.
Price: Free with registration