Computerized Investing > May 21, 2011

United States Department of Commerce: Economics and Statistics Administration

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The Economics and Statistics Administration, a part of the United States Department of Commerce, is responsible for several key roles, including providing timely economic analysis, disseminating national economic indicators and overseeing the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Its website includes a wealth of economic data straight from the source and can be a valuable asset to individual investors. Years ago, before the rise of the Internet, this kind of economic data was difficult to come by, and by the time it was available in print and to the public, it was often old and irrelevant. Now the data is at your fingertips, and this article will walk you through the process of finding it.

On the website’s homepage, top economic data news is provided. A quick glance shows that the statistics offered include residential construction, trade, retail sales, and personal income and outlay figures. The right-hand side of the page presents top news from the blog, announcements, and newsroom sections of the website, as well as the latest news from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The Newsroom area of the website provides official statements and releases by the Economics and Statistics Administration. Most of these articles are included in PDF format as well. The Blog section of the website is maintained by Mark Doms, the chief economist of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Doms’ blog not only provides links to relevant economic data in the Newsroom, but it also offers his own input. The blog is updated regularly and provides valuable opinions from a well-respected member of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

As the name suggests, all the economic indicators that the Economics and Statistics Administration tracks are available in the Economic Indicators section. The 12 monthly and quarterly Principal Federal Economic Indicators that are presented on the webpage are the Advance Monthly Retail Sales; Advance Report on Durable Goods; Construction Spending; Current Account Balance; Gross Domestic Product; Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories, and Orders; Manufacturing and Trade Inventories and Sales; New Home Sales; New Residential Construction; Personal Income and Spending; U.S. Trade Balance; and Wholesale Trade reports. You can also enter your email to receive updates for these indicators from the Department of Commerce. Furthermore, an Economic Release Calendar outlines the major releases of economic indicators throughout the year.

Reports, the final section of the website, lists non-periodic reports written by the Economics and Statistics Administration. The reports include an executive summary and are provided in PDF format.


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