Statistics for Forecasters: BEA’s Underlying and Key Source Data

Statistics for Forecasters: BEA’s Underlying and Key Source Data

At 8:30 this morning, BEA released the December personal income and outlays report, and we learned that personal income increased 0.3 percent and real consumer spending (or personal consumption expenditures (PCE)) increased 0.3 percent in the final month of 2016. These estimates were prominently reported by the news media. Less than a half hour later, …

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How Early GDP Estimates Have Become More Accurate

Tomorrow morning’s advance GDP report is likely more accurate than similar reports released a couple years ago. Why is that? This morning the Census Bureau released the advance economic indicators report, which showed that the goods trade deficit had decreased and wholesale inventories had increased in December. We can expect BEA to incorporate these statistics …

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Why I’m Concerned About the Independence of U.S. Statistical Agencies

Why I’m Concerned About the Independence of U.S. Statistical Agencies

Are the White House and the Bureau of Labor Statistics headed for a train wreck? The most recent BLS statistics for December showed 7.5 million unemployed persons and an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent. But throughout his campaign, President Trump repeatedly described the official BLS unemployment statistics as “phony numbers,” saying that the “real” unemployment …

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Confidential Statistical Data Are Still Secure

Confidential Statistical Data Are Still Secure

As the new Trump administration assumes control of the federal government, there’s uncertainty about how well it will maintain the integrity of official statistics. Can we be assured that the government will protect the confidentiality of the data it collects from us for statistical purposes? Can we be assured that the reported statistics will be prepared independently and …

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The Integrity of Official Statistics – What’s Needed

The Integrity of Official Statistics – What’s Needed

Americans routinely turn to numbers for evaluating the state of the economy and social conditions. In particular, we rely on the accuracy and integrity of official statistics. While U.S. official statistics are not perfect, they are widely considered to be impartial measures that are prepared in a professional and objective manner. The accuracy of the U.S. …

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Understanding the U.S. Statistical System

Understanding the U.S. Statistical System

When Canadians look for official statistics, there’s one agency, Statistics Canada, that provides basically all of them. In the United States, on the other hand, we have a hodgepodge of agencies—the Bureau of Justice Statistics for data on crime and law enforcement, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics for data on transportation, the National Center for …

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