This week, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released two new data products that will help American businesses, consumers, policymakers and academia gain important information about the performance of the U.S. economy.
Yesterday, BEA released inflation-adjusted estimates of personal income for states and metropolitan areas, which are being released for the first time as official statistics. Americans looking to move or take a job anywhere in the country can now compare these inflation-adjusted incomes to better understand how their personal income may be affected by a job change or move. In addition, businesses looking to relocate or establish new facilities can use this data to get a comprehensive and consistent measure of differences in the cost of living and the purchasing power of consumers nationwide.
Also for the first time, BEA today released quarterly estimates of the economic activity generated by 22 industries – including manufacturing, construction, finance, transportation, retail, health care, educational services, and the arts. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data – one of our government’s most valuable data resources – shows how different industries helped or hindered the U.S. economy’s growth in a given quarter. These new statistics will enable industries in all sectors to better measure their contributions to GDP and understand and identify emerging trends more quickly. This economic intelligence can help make businesses more competitive and innovative, as well as guide their decisions about investing and hiring.
In fact, Ken Simonson, the chief economist at the Associated General Contractors of America, finds that “As construction gradually rebounds from a historic downturn, it is especially useful to have timely estimates of how the sector is contributing to overall economic growth. Having data on all major industries will provide a valuable indicator of where demand for future construction will come from. Getting historical data will help identify possible turning points in growth and interconnections between sectors.”
In addition, David Huether, Senior Vice President of Research at the U.S. Travel Association, states that “By regularly producing Gross Domestic Product by Industry on a quarterly basis, the Bureau of Economic Analysis is taking a historic step forward and proving once again the vital role that the BEA plays in measuring the U.S. economy. For the first time ever, economists, researchers, policy makers and the general public will now be able to understand in a comprehensive fashion how different industries are performing on a high-frequency basis and contributing to our country’s economic output.”
The Commerce Department’s ‘Open for Business Agenda’ prioritizes unleashing more data and making it more accessible so it can catalyze the emergence of new businesses, products, and services. Commerce data enable start-ups, move markets, and power both small and multi-billion dollar companies.
BEA’s new data products are the latest example of how Commerce is working to produce innovative, timely and relevant statistics that serve as a crucial tool for policy-makers at the local, state and national level.