Web Sites for Economic Data

    Web Sites For Economic Data Splash image

    The current economic climate can have a significant impact on the investment decision-making process. Consequently, having access to economic data and information can be especially useful to the individual investor.

    Perhaps the most important information for investors to follow comes from the economic policymakers. Recent CFA Institute studies (described on pages 18 and 19) found that Federal Reserve monetary policy has a considerable amount of influence on the long-term return of the markets. To find out more about current monetary policy and the Federal Reserve system in general, check out the Federal Reserve Web sites below.

    Also listed is a collection of Web sites offering a variety of economic news, data, and information.

    Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve

    Federal Reserve
    The Federal Reserve is the central bank of the United States. Its unique structure includes a federal government agency, the Board of Governors, in Washington, D.C., and 12 regional Reserve Banks. Monetary policy is made by the Federal Open Market Committee, which consists of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Reserve Bank presidents.

    The Federal Reserve Web site provides everything you need to know about the system, including recent announcements and other news, information on monetary policy, economic data research, and educational articles describing the Federal Reserve system and how policy is made.

    Federal Reserve System Online
    Links to the 12 regional Reserve Banks in the system. These banks have a considerable amount of economic data and analysis on their own Web sites, as well as their own economic perspectives.

    Other Economic Data

    Bureau of Economic Analysis
    The Bureau of Economic Analysis provides reports and analysis on national statistics such as U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) as well as international, regional and industry statistics.

    Economic Policy Institute
    The Economic Policy Institute offers commentary on socioeconomic issues in the areas of living standards and labor markets, government and the economy, trade and globalization, education, and sustainable economics.

    The EconData Web site provides a wide variety of region-specific economic data. It also provides 1,000 links to socioeconomic data and sources, and ranks the 10 best sites for this information. Information can be searched by either subject or provider.

    The FreeLunch Web site is part of a family of Web sites. Additional information at this site includes free financial, economic, and industry data broken up into 14 categories on over 1.5 million data series. Any user can find such information by browsing in the site’s data dictionary.

    The FedStats Web site is maintained by the Federal Interagency on Statistical Policy and offers free access to information from every bureau of the U.S. government. For a particular topic, you can search the topic links category where information is grouped by its overarching theme. Visitors can also search for data found on the Web sites of individual U.S. agencies. Press releases provide the latest news and announcements from agencies.

    United States Census Bureau
    The U.S. Census Bureau Web site offers all the information collected from the 2000 Census. The complete 1997 Economic Census is available, including sector-specific reports; some reports from the 2002 Economic Census are now on-line, with the remainder scheduled to be issued over the next two years. The Census Web site offers a subject index that categorizes every piece of gathered information. There is also a link to the latest economic indicators with charts and graphs on everything from poverty, to new home ownership, to household income.