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Measuring Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage

CENSUS Directors Blog - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 23:38

Written by: John H. Thompson

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau hosted a webcast on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage statistics. One of the key discussion topics was the implementation of methodological changes to the 2014 Current Population Survey. In conjunction with the event, the Census Bureau released expanded information from last year’s survey; in two weeks, we will release the results from this year’s survey, the second year of data collection with the improved methodology.

The Current Population Survey is the primary source of labor force statistics for the U.S. population. Every spring, the survey asks respondents about their income and health insurance in the prior calendar year. As part of the Census Bureau’s commitment to continuous improvement in measuring changes in our society, we’ve been actively investigating new methodologies for several years – including more than a decade of research on the health insurance coverage questions, and through content tests for both income and health insurance coverage questions.

In 2014, we began asking the survey questions about income and health insurance coverage in a manner that is easier for the respondents to answer. Over the course of the past year, we continued our evaluation of the redesign, and sought out experts to review and provide feedback on our efforts.

Making changes to the Current Population Survey is not something we do lightly, because it can result in difficulties with year-to-year comparisons of the data. However, we needed to implement the changes in 2014 in order to establish a good baseline for health insurance coverage estimates before certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act went into effect.

With the idea of maintaining a consistent time series in mind, we introduced the redesigned income questions using a probability split panel design. Of the 98,000 households selected to participate in the 2014 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement, approximately 68,000 addresses received the traditional set of income questions, and the remaining 30,000 addresses received the redesigned income questions.

The split design functions like a bridge for year-to-year comparisons of the data. Last year, we used the traditional income questions to look at changes between 2012 and 2013. This year, we will use the redesigned income questions to measure changes between 2013 and 2014.

For the health insurance section of the questionnaire, a split panel design wasn’t necessary for year-to-year comparisons because data from the American Community Survey provided a consistent time series starting from 2008. We administered the redesigned health insurance questions to all households last year. As a result, we increased precision in the measurement of changes in health insurance coverage between 2013 and 2014 – before and after some of the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act were implemented. This year we will publish our first statistics showing the law’s effect.

For more information about the redesigned questions in the Current Population Survey, check out the recording of the webcast. You can also look to our Random Samplings blog over the next two weeks for more information about methodology changes. Check back with us on September 16 for the release of 2014 income, poverty and health insurance estimates.

Personal Income Rises in July

BEA Blog Feed - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 18:26

Current-dollar disposable personal income (DPI), after-tax income, increased 0.5 percent in July after increasing 0.4 percent in June.Disposable Personal Income Chart Aug 28

Real DPI, income adjusted for taxes and inflation, increased 0.4 percent in July after increasing 0.2 percent in June.

Real consumer spending (PCE), spending adjusted for price changes, increased 0.2 percent in July after increasing less than 0.1 percent in June. Spending on durable goods increased 1.3 percent in July after decreasing 0.9 percent in June.

PCE prices increased 0.1 percent in July, after increasing 0.2 percent in June. Excluding food and energy, PCE prices increased 0.1 percent in July and in June.

Personal saving rate
Personal saving as a percent of DPI was 4.9 percent in July and 4.7 percent in June.

For more information, read the full report.

Real Consumer Bars Aug 28

Categories: BEA Feed Category

GDP Increases in Second Quarter

BEA Blog Feed - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 18:23

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 3.7 percent in the second quarter of 2015, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The growth rate was revised up 1.4 percentage points from the “advance” estimate released in July. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 0.6 percent.

GDP highlightsQ2Q Growth Aug 27
The second-quarter increase in real GDP mainly reflected an increase in consumer spending. Spending on services, nondurable goods, and durable goods increased.

Exports, state and local government spending, business investment, residential investment, and inventory investment also contributed to the increase in real GDP.

These contributions to the increase in real GDP were partly offset by a rise in imports, mainly in autos and auto parts. (Imports are subtraction in the calculation of GDP.)

Revisions
The upward revision to second-quarter GDP growth reflected upward revisions to business investment (all three major categories), inventory investment, state and local government spending, and consumer spending.

For more information, see the technical note.

Corporate profitsQ2Q Profits Aug 27
Corporate profits increased 2.4 percent at a quarterly rate in the second quarter after decreasing 5.8 percent in the first quarter.

  • Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased 1.3 percent after decreasing 5.3 percent.
  • Profits of domestic financial corporations increased 9.4 percent after decreasing 6.1 percent.
  • Profits from the rest of the world decreased 0.7 percent after decreasing 6.9 percent.

Over the last 4 quarters, corporate profits decreased 0.5 percent.

For more information, read the full report.

Categories: BEA Feed Category

U.S. Census Bureau Data Shows Gulf Coast’s Recovery from Hurricane Katrina

CENSUS Directors Blog - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 01:03

Written by: John H. Thompson

Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S. Gulf Coast, forever altering the lives of many of its residents. As we pause to reflect on the impact of the storm, we can see a story of recovery told through Census Bureau statistics on population, housing and businesses.

Since 2005, communities in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida continue to rebuild, undergoing significant changes as new homes, schools and businesses replace those damaged or lost to the storm. Census Bureau population estimates show that last year New Orleans returned to the nation’s list of 50 most populous cities for the first time since the storm. In the year after Katrina, its population decreased by more than half to 230,172. While it has not returned to its pre-Katrina level of 494,294, the city’s most recent population totaled 384,320 residents.

While the population continues to rebound in New Orleans, so too do businesses. Some types of businesses have even surpassed pre-Katrina levels, especially hotels, gas stations and restaurants.

In Mississippi, which saw significant damage in many coastal towns, the story is also one of recovery. In fact, the three coastline counties – Hancock, Harrison and Jackson – now have more residents than they did in 2005, with a combined population of 386,144. Looking at towns such as Bay Saint Louis and Pass Christian, we see that their populations have also increased.

Not only can Census Bureau statistics tell us about the recovery from events like Hurricane Katrina, but they can also provide important information about communities for emergency preparedness. Our population estimates help determine the number of people affected by disasters. Our demographic and economic information – like that from the American Community Survey –  assists first responders in identifying the size of populations that may be vulnerable or need extra assistance, such as those with a disability or who speak a language other than English at home. Census Bureau surveys also provide critically important statistics on topics like access to transportation, the number of residents who are elderly or disabled, and how people commute each day.

I’m pleased that the Census Bureau is able to contribute to recovery efforts by providing data on the affected people and businesses to policymakers and planners. These statistics inform decisions that will help Gulf Coast communities rebuild and plan for the future. We look forward to measuring your growth for years to come.

For more information about the effects of Hurricane Katrina on Louisiana, Mississippi and other affected areas, see this special edition of our Profile America Facts for Features.

The 2015 National Content Test Is Now Underway

CENSUS Directors Blog - Mon, 08/24/2015 - 22:49

Written by: John H. Thompson

This month, 1.2 million households began receiving the questionnaire for the 2015 National Content Test. For those who receive the test, your participation in this important milestone on the road to the 2020 Census will help us determine the best questions for you to respond to in the next census. September 1 marks Census Day for the test.

The National Content Test has two main objectives. First, we want to evaluate and compare different versions of questions to ask in the 2020 Census, such as those about race and origin, relationships, and the best questions for determining where people should be counted as of Census Day.

Second, during the National Content Test, the U.S. Census Bureau will try different strategies for encouraging households to respond to the census on their own. We will test nine different approaches to encourage households to respond via the Internet – the least costly and most efficient response option.

The Census Bureau has sent National Content Test questionnaires to a statistically representative sample of households in the United States and Puerto Rico. For each household, we ask how many people live in the house, and each person’s name, sex, age, relationship, and race and ethnic origin. We ask whether the housing unit is owned or rented. Finally, we ask for the respondent’s telephone number and email address. Because studying the effectiveness of different content is part of the test, different households will receive different versions of question wording.

If you receive a form, please perform your civic duty and complete it. You will help inform our decisions as we design the 2020 Census. Your participation will also help us to identify additional topics for 2020 Census testing later this decade. As always, the information we collect is subject to strict privacy and confidentiality laws, and we go to great lengths to protect your data. The National Content Test is part of our ongoing testing activities to research innovative methods for reducing the cost of the 2020 Census, while still maintaining a high-quality census. It will help us develop a census that is cost-effective, improves coverage, and reduces operational risk.

The 2015 National Content Test is scheduled to run through November 2015. You can learn more by visiting our FAQ page.

BEA Conducts Survey of Financial Services; Information Used to Produce Economic Statistics that Inform Public

BEA Blog Feed - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 19:30

BEA is conducting a survey that tracks transactions between U.S. financial services providers and foreign residents. Data from this survey will be used to produce international and national economic statistics that aid decision-making by businesses and policymakers and provide the American public with a deeper understanding of the United States’ trade relationships around the globe.

Here’s what potential filers need to know about the BE-180 Benchmark Survey of Financial Services Transactions between U.S. Financial Services Providers and Foreign Persons:

Do I need to file? If you are a U.S. financial services company with covered transactions in fiscal year 2014, you are required to file. (Information on the types of financial services covered by the BE-180 survey can be found in Table 1 on page 3 of the survey form.) Companies that have an existing BE-180 identification number should have received a letter from BEA in June announcing the upcoming survey and/or in August announcing the availability of the survey forms and related materials.

  • If your company’s sales or purchases of financial services were greater than $3 million, you must provide detailed data by type of service, by type of affiliation of the counterparty, and by country—even if BEA didn’t contact your company about the survey.
  • If sales and purchases were each $3 million or less, you must report only if your company was contacted by BEA about the survey; in this case, you must provide aggregate data, although you may voluntarily submit more detailed information.
  • If sales and purchases were each $3 million or less, and your company was NOT contacted by BEA, reporting is voluntary.
  • If your company was contacted by BEA about the survey but it has no transactions of the types of services covered, you must complete pages 1-3 of the survey.

When is the BE-180 survey due? BEA encourages filers to complete the survey by Oct. 1, 2015, the stated due date on the form. However, we recognize the burden imposed by various filing deadlines and have laid out extensions as outlined below.

Auto ext

Extensions requiring requests:

  1. If the automatic extension described in 1 or 2 above applies, and you need to request time beyond the automatic extension, you may contact BEA at (202) 606-5588 or be-180extension@bea.gov. We will consider extensions of up to an additional 30 days if a request is submitted by Nov. 1, 2015.
  2. If the automatic extension described in 3 above applies, and you need to request time beyond the automatic extension, you may request an extension of up to 60 additional days by following the instructions at www.bea.gov/ssb/be180 and by providing the information requested by Nov. 1, 2015. Following the instructions referenced above will enable us to assign your company an identification number, which can also be used to access BEA’s eFile system.

How do I file? We encourage filers to report electronically through our eFile system at www.bea.gov/efile using their BE-180 identification number.

Surveys can also be submitted through mail or fax according to the instructions on page 1 of the form.  PDF and Excel versions of the survey form and instructions are available at www.bea.gov/ssb/be180.

Where can I find more information? More information, including a list of frequently asked questions, is available at www.bea.gov/ssb/be180. If you have other questions please call (202) 606-5588.

Categories: BEA Feed Category

New Statistics on the Activities of U.S. Multinational Enterprises are Now Available

BEA Blog Feed - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 19:25

Detailed statistics on the worldwide activities of U.S. multinational enterprises in 2013, including the finances and operations of U.S. parent companies and their foreign affiliates, are now available from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Available on BEA’s website, the statistics include information about U.S. multinational enterprises including: balance sheet and income statement details; employment and employee compensation; sales; value added–a measure of the enterprise’s contribution to gross domestic product in the United States or in the other countries where it operates; capital expenditures; trade in goods; and spending on research and development.

The statistics can be used to measure the scale of the global business activity of U.S. multinational enterprises or MNEs, as well as their impact on the U.S. economy and on other countries’ economies.

Here are a few highlights from the 2013 data:

  • The current-dollar value added of U.S. MNEs rose 4.0 percent to $4.9 trillion in 2013 after rising 1.9 percent in 2012. The 2013 increase reflected a 6.8 percent increase in the value added of U.S. parents that was partly offset by a 2.2 percent decrease in the value added of their majority-owned foreign affiliates.
  • Employment by U.S. MNEs increased 1.4 percent to 35.7 million workers in 2013 after increasing 1.1 percent in 2012. The 2013 increase reflected a 1.0 percent increase in the employment of U.S. parents and a 2.1 percent increase in the employment of majority-owned foreign affiliates.  U.S. parents accounted for 19.7 percent of total U.S. private industry employment in 2013.
  • U.S. MNE R&D expenditures rose 6.1 percent in 2013, reflecting growth for U.S. parents (5.6 percent) and for majority-owned foreign affiliates (8.4 percent).
  • Fifteen countries—the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Ireland, France, China, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Singapore, Italy, Norway, and Belgium —accounted for nearly two-thirds of value added by majority-owned foreign affiliates in 2013.

The newly released statistics also include revised 2012 statistics on the activities of U.S. MNEs.

BEA also produces statistics that cover U.S. affiliates of foreign multinational enterprises. These statistics will be released in November 2015.

Categories: BEA Feed Category

Health Care Statistics for 2011 and 2012 Now Available

BEA Blog Feed - Wed, 08/12/2015 - 19:54

INFO Health update

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released today statistics providing information on health care spending and price trends in the United States for 2011 and 2012.  On January 22, BEA for the first time released statistics showing how much is spent in the United States to treat different diseases and medical conditions as well as trends in health care prices for 2000 through 2010. The new data are available on BEA’s website  in section called the Health Care Satellite Account.

Categories: BEA Feed Category

June 2015 Trade Gap is $43.8 Billion

BEA Blog Feed - Wed, 08/05/2015 - 18:42

The U.S. monthly international trade deficit increased in June 2015 according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau. The deficit increased from $40.9 billion in May (revised) to $43.8 billion in June, as exports decreased and imports increased. The previously published May deficit was $41.9 billion. The goods deficit increased $2.9 billion from May to $63.5 billion in June. The services surplus decreased less than $0.1 billion from May to $19.7 billion in June.

Balance on Goods and services trade aug 5

Exports
Exports of goods and services decreased $0.1 billion, or 0.1 percent, in June to $188.6 billion. Exports of goods decreased $0.2 billion and exports of services increased $0.1 billion.

  • The decrease in exports of goods mainly reflected decreases in capital goods ($0.8 billion) and in industrial supplies and materials ($0.6 billion). An increase in consumer goods ($0.8 billion) was partly offsetting.
  • The increase in exports of services mainly reflected an increase in other business services ($0.1 billion), which includes research and development services; professional and management services; and technical, trade-related and other services and increases in several categories of services of less than $0.1 billion. A decrease in transport ($0.2 billion), which includes freight and port services and passenger fares, was mostly offsetting.

Imports
Imports of goods and services increased $2.8 billion, or 1.2 percent, in June to $232.4 billion. Imports of goods increased $2.7 billion and imports of services increased $0.1 billion.

  • The increase in imports of goods mainly reflected increases in consumer goods ($1.7 billion) and in industrial supplies and materials ($1.2 billion). A decrease in capital goods ($1.3 billion) was partly offsetting.
  • The increase in imports of services mainly reflected an increase in travel (for all purposes including education) ($0.2 billion) and increases in several categories of services of less than $0.1 billion. A decrease in transport ($0.2 billion) was mostly offsetting.

Goods by geographic area (seasonally adjusted, Census basis)

  • The balance with Canada shifted from a surplus of $0.2 billion in May to a deficit of $3.1 billion in June. Exports decreased $1.1 billion to $23.0 billion and imports increased $2.2 billion to $26.2 billion.
  • The deficit with Mexico increased from $4.1 billion in May to $5.4 billion in June. Exports increased $0.1 billion to $20.0 billion and imports increased $1.4 billion to $25.5 billion.
  • The deficit with China decreased from $30.6 billion in May to $29.0 billion in June. Exports increased $0.9 billion to $10.5 billion and imports decreased $0.7 billion to $39.5 billion.

For more information, read the full report.

Categories: BEA Feed Category

Real Consumer Spending Flat in June

BEA Blog Feed - Mon, 08/03/2015 - 18:23

Personal income increased 0.4 percent in June and in May. Wages and salaries rose 0.2 percent in June after rising 0.4PCE Part 2 Aug 3  percent May.

Current-dollar disposable personal income (DPI), after-tax income, increased 0.5 percent in June after rising 0.4 percent in May.

Real DPI, income adjusted for taxes and inflation, increased 0.2 percent in June after increasing 0.1 percent in May.

Real consumer spending (PCE), spending adjusted for price changes, was flat in June after increasing 0.4 percent in May. Spending on durable goods decreased 1.1 percent in June after increasing 1.3 percent in May.

PCE prices increased 0.2 percent in June, after increasing 0.3 percent in May. Excluding food and energy, PCE prices increased 0.1 percent in June and in May.

Personal saving rate
Personal saving as a percent of DPI was 4.8 percent in June and 4.6 percent in May.

Annual Revision
These estimates reflect the 2015 annual revision of the national income and product accounts, which incorporated new source data and other improvements back to 1976.

Real DPI Aug. 3

For more information, read the full report.

Categories: BEA Feed Category

Detailed Direct Investment Data for 2014 Now Available

BEA Blog Feed - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 19:53

Detailed statistics on U.S. direct investment abroad – or “outward direct investment”– and on foreign direct investment in the United States – or “inward direct investment” are now available on BEA’s website.

Preliminary direct investment statistics are available for 2014 and revised statistics for 2012 and 2013. These data are now incorporated into the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ new data tool, International Trade and Investment Country Facts, as well as our interactive data tables.

These newly released statistics provide comprehensive data on direct investment for selected countries on financial transactions, equity, debt instruments, reinvestment of earnings, and income by major industry. Statistics are also now available for positions, financial transactions, and income for all countries and for all industries. For inward direct investment, supplementary statistics classified by country of the ultimate beneficial owner are also now available.

An upcoming article in the September Survey of Current Business will present these statistics as well as additional statistics, such as reinvestment ratios, rates of return, and, for outward direct investment, position and income data classified by the industry of the U.S. parent.

Chart 3 US Direct Investment July 31

Chart 7 July 31

Categories: BEA Feed Category

GDP Increases in Second Quarter

BEA Blog Feed - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 18:19

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 2.3 percent in the second quarter of 2015, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 0.6 percent (revised).

GDP highlights
Q2Q Growth in Real GDP July 30The second-quarter increase in real GDP mainly reflected an increase in consumer spending. Spending on both durable goods, notably motor vehicles and parts, and nondurable goods increased. Spending on services, mainly household services, also increased.

Exports, state and local government spending, and residential fixed investment also contributed to the rise in real GDP.

These contributions to the increase in real GDP were partly offset by decreases in federal government spending, inventory investment, and business investment. In addition, imports—a subtraction in the calculation of GDP—increased.

Annual revision
BEA also released its 2015 annual revision of the national income and product accounts, which updated most components for the last 3 years based on newly available and revised source data. For 2011–2014, real GDP rose at an average annual rate of 2.0 percent; in the previously published estimates, the real GDP growth rate was 2.3 percent.

For more information, see the technical note.

PricesQ2Q Percent change July 30
Prices of goods and services purchased by U.S. residents—that is, prices of gross domestic purchases—increased 1.4 percent in the second quarter after decreasing 1.6 percent in the first quarter.

Energy prices rose in the second quarter after falling in the first quarter. Food prices declined more than in the first quarter.

Excluding food and energy prices, gross domestic purchases prices increased 1.1 percent in the second quarter after increasing 0.2 percent in the first quarter.

For more information, read the full report.

Categories: BEA Feed Category

New Advance Report on International Trade Available Today

CENSUS Directors Blog - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 18:15

Written by: John H. Thompson

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released the first-ever Advance Report: U.S. International Trade in Goods. The Department of Commerce is “America’s Data Agency,” and this report is part of our ongoing efforts to release U.S. trade data to the public as quickly as possible. The Advance Report of U.S. trade data will be published up to a week before the full FT-900: U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services that is jointly issued by the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

Many American businesses, policymakers and other data users rely on the Census Bureau’s international trade statistics to make data-driven decisions. These data are crucial to understanding the U.S. economy with respect to our trading partners and the impact of events around the globe. Now, data users will have earlier access to our statistics with this high-level “snapshot.”

Even better, the Advance Report of U.S. trade data allows the federal statistical community to produce more reliable initial estimates of quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDP). BEA will use the Advance Report of U.S. trade data when preparing its advance estimate of quarterly GDP, which measures the value of goods and services produced in the U.S. economy and is one of the most comprehensive and most closely watched economic statistic. Getting this initial estimate accurate, with small subsequent revisions, is critical to the Federal Reserve, businesses and policymakers around the world.  The new Advance Report of U.S. trade data should reduce the size of revisions to this major economic indicator.

The Advance Report of U.S. trade data is just the latest example of the Census Bureau’s commitment to releasing the timeliest, accurate, and trusted information about our nation’s people and economy. We are constantly looking for ways to improve your access to our statistics.  I’m pleased that this collaboration with BEA will support the needs of taxpayers and our data customers for better, faster measures of the U.S. economy.

Click here to access our first Advance Report. You can also click here to access BEA’s first GDP report incorporating data from the Advance Report, which is their advance estimate of second-quarter GDP.

advance_report

Industry in Focus: Transportation and Warehousing

BEA Blog Feed - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 01:28

Transportation and warehousing is an industry that is important to everyone, whether you’re an individual flying home to visit family or a business expecting a shipment of raw materials. In the first quarter of 2015, transportation and warehousing subtracted 0.56 percentage point from real Gross Domestic Product, and was the largest contributor to the 0.2 percent decrease in GDP.

That sounds straightforward enough, but what exactly does that mean?

Contribution to growth—or in this case, a contribution to a decline–isn’t solely a matter of looking at the percent change in real value added by an industry. Instead, the contribution is based on both the quarter-to-quarter change and the size of the industry in the economy.

For instance, real (inflation-adjusted) value added for transportation and warehousing fell 17.3 percent, a smaller percentage point decrease than that of the utilities industry, which fell 18.4 percent. However, transportation and warehousing is a larger industry than utilities. Because transportation and warehousing is larger, that 17.3 percent decrease translated to a $20.7 billion decrease, while the smaller utilities industry’s 18.4 percent decrease translated to a $14.4 billion decrease. This explains why the transportation and warehousing sector contributed 0.56 percentage point to the overall decrease in GDP, while the utilities sector contributed 0.34 percentage point.

This distinction is important because looking at the industries that subtract the most from GDP when GDP falls (or, conversely, contribute the most to GDP when GDP increases) typically points us toward those industries where notable things are happening.

In the case of transportation and warehousing, the notable thing that happened in the first quarter was a sharp drop in real gross output – a measure of an industry’s sales or receipts.

If you’re one of the millions of travelers whose flight was canceled during the unusually harsh winter of 2015, this probably isn’t surprising to you. Heavier than normal snow in the Northeast directly impacted air transportation, a component of transportation and warehousing. Of course, the harsh winter began in December, and as you can see here, transportation and warehousing declined in the fourth quarter of 2014 as well even though overall GDP was increasing 2.2 percent. But when you look at relatively milder winters, such as the winter in the first quarter of 2013, you see that transportation and warehousing increased.

Indeed, the weather in the first quarter of 2015 impacted many portions of the transportation and warehousing industry, which also includes rail transportation, water transportation, truck transportation, transit and ground passenger transportation, pipeline transportation, various support activities, couriers and messengers, and warehousing and storage.

Truck transportation, the largest component of transportation and warehousing, was likely affected not only by the harsh weather but also by work slowdowns at several ports along the West Coast.  Slowdowns at the ports translated into less (or no) cargo loaded onto trucks, leaving trucks underutilized (or idle) when they would otherwise be delivering goods.  In addition to the direct impact on the output of the transportation and warehousing industry, trucking is a critical input to the production processes of many other industries. For example, the wholesale and retail trade industries depend heavily on truck transportation, and both showed a notable decline in their purchases of transportation services in the first quarter.

You may have noticed that subtracting 0.56 percentage point from GDP means that transportation and warehousing accounted for more than the actual 0.2% decrease in real GDP.  This is because other industries grew in the first quarter.  BEA’s quarterly GDP-by-industry statistics help us to better see the inner workings of the economy and provide a comprehensive picture of U.S. industrial performance.

Categories: BEA Feed Category

Update on the Census Bureau’s IT Security Incident

CENSUS Directors Blog - Sat, 07/25/2015 - 03:01

Written by: John H. Thompson

Earlier this week, the Census Bureau experienced an attack to gain access to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse, which is housed on an externally facing IT system that contains non-confidential information, such as names of the person submitting the information, organization addresses and phone numbers, site user names, etc.  While our IT forensics investigation continues, I want to assure you that at this time every indication is that the breach was limited to this database, and that it did not include personally identifiable information provided by people responding to our censuses and surveys.

It appears the database was compromised through a configuration setting that allowed the attacker to gain access to the four files posted to the hacker’s site.  The hackers acquired the data illegally, but as I indicated above, the Clearinghouse site does not store any confidential household or business data collected by the Census Bureau.  That information remains safe, secure and on an internal network segmented apart from the external site and the affected database.  Over the last three days, we have seen no indication that there was any access to internal systems.

The Federal Audit Clearinghouse is used to collect single audit reporting packages from state and local governments, non-profit organizations, and Indian tribes expending Federal awards.  The federal awarding agencies use the single audit reports to ensure program compliance.  We were in the process of making additional Clearinghouse information available via the Internet next year.  Within 90 minutes of learning of the breach, we made the system inaccessible.  It will remain offline until we can complete our thorough investigation and take steps to ensure the systems integrity in the future.

However, in light of this breach, we are increasing our efforts to ensure the security of our site.

We continuously scan our systems to look for vulnerabilities.  The Census Bureau follows every possible precaution and uses the latest IT security standards to make sure our systems remain secure.  In addition, the Department of Homeland Security also runs scans regularly.

Through our surveys and censuses, American taxpayers and businesses entrust the U.S. Census Bureau with their information to produce statistics about our population and economy. The information we collect helps the nation make informed decisions, from transportation projects to social services to businesses and job creation.  As you know, we do not take this trust lightly and have a good record of keeping confidential information safe.

The IT security office is continuing its investigation, and they will further strengthen our security systems based on what they learn.  I assure you that we will continue to safeguard the information and data of both the public and our employees.  Your trust is paramount to our mission.

Please see our statement for more information:

Census Bureau Statement on IT Security Incident

July 22, 2015 – The U.S. Census Bureau is investigating an IT security incident relating to unauthorized access to non-confidential information on an external system that is not part of the Census Bureau internal network.  Access to the external system has been restricted while our IT forensics team investigates.

Security and data stewardship are integral to the Census Bureau mission.  We will remain vigilant in continuing to take every necessary precaution to protect all information.

If you have any questions or concerns about how the Census Bureau protects your data, I encourage you to contact our Respondent Advocates, Dave Waddington and Nishea Quash, at respondent-advocate@census.gov. Dave and Nishea can explain the many policies and procedures that the Census Bureau uses to ensure America’s data is safe and secure.

 

Nondurable Goods Manufacturing Led the Downturn in First Quarter Gross Domestic Product by Industry

BEA Blog Feed - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 18:12

A deceleration in nondurable goods manufacturing and downturns in both professional, scientific, and technical services and wholesale trade were the leading contributors to the downturn in U.S. economic growth in the first quarter of 2015. Overall, 15 of 22 industry groups contributed to the downturn in the first quarter.

Real Value added by sector July 23

  • Nondurable goods manufacturing decelerated significantly, increasing 0.2 percent in the first quarter, after a larger increase of 9.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services decreased 0.6 percent, after increasing 6.5 percent.
  • Wholesale trade decreased 3.4 percent, after increasing 4.5 percent.

Real Value Added by Industry July 23

For more information, read the full report.

Categories: BEA Feed Category

Why Does BEA Revise GDP Estimates?

BEA Blog Feed - Mon, 07/13/2015 - 18:46

Each summer, the Bureau of Economic Analysis updates its Gross Domestic Product estimates to incorporate sources of data previously unavailable and make improvements in methodology – – all with the goal of providing the most accurate measure of the U.S. economy’s performance.

This year, we’ll release revised estimates for GDP and its major components on July 30. These updated figures will reflect new and revised sources of data and will incorporate the regular updates to seasonal adjustment factors as well as several statistical changes designed to reduce residual seasonality. At the same time, BEA will introduce new tools for analyzing the nation’s economy.

This annual revision process results in old estimates of GDP getting recalculated for both the quarters and years covered – from 2012 through the first quarter of 2015. BEA’s annual revisions usually cover three years. New estimates of GDP will reflect the adopted improvements.

Another improvement that will emerge from this year’s annual revision process is that the BEA – also starting on July 30 — will begin including data from a new “advance” trade report produced by the Census Bureau into our initial estimates of quarterly GDP. The data from Census’ advance trade report will mean that BEA will have actual trade data for all three months of the quarter – rather than only two months — when calculating its first estimate of quarterly GDP.

In addition to the annual revisions process, BEA also regularly updates its quarterly GDP numbers – producing three estimates for a given quarter. Each new estimate includes updated, more complete, and more accurate information as it becomes available. The first, called the “advance” estimate, typically receives the most attention and is released roughly four weeks after the end of a quarter. For example, the first estimate of GDP for this year’s January-to-March quarter came out near the end of April. The first estimate for the second quarter will come out July 30 – in concert with the annual revisions.

When BEA calculates the advance estimate, we don’t yet have complete source data, with the largest gaps in data for the third month of the quarter. In particular, the advance estimate lacks complete source data on inventories, trade, and consumer spending on services. Therefore, we must make assumptions for these missing pieces based in part on past trends. As part of this process, we publish a detailed technical note that lays out the assumptions we made for a particular estimate. With Census’ new advance trade report, BEA will be able to plug the hole on the missing trade data.

As new and more complete data become available, we incorporate that information into the second and third GDP estimates. About 45 percent of the advance estimate is based on initial, or early, estimates from various monthly and quarterly surveys that are subject to revision for various reasons, including late respondents that are eventually incorporated into the survey results. Another roughly 14 percent of the advance estimate is based on historical trends.

By the second GDP estimate, we have new data for the third month and revised data for earlier months. By the third estimate, a lot more data is available so that only 17 percent of the GDP estimate is based on information from the first set of monthly and quarterly surveys.

Once every five years, BEA produces a  “comprehensive” revision to its GDP statistics, incorporating changes to how the U.S. economy is measured as well as more complete source data all the way back to 1929.  The most recent comprehensive revision was 2013.  New data, new methodologies, changes in definitions and classifications, and changes in presentations were all incorporated into 2013’s comprehensive GDP revision.

Measuring GDP for the U.S. economy is always a work in progress. It often takes months, or even years, for the most comprehensive and accurate data to become available. Our advance estimates strike a good balance between accuracy and timeliness, given the data available at the time. Successive revisions reflect BEA’s commitment to incorporate both more complete source data when they become available and improved methods for measuring a rapidly changing economy.

Categories: BEA Feed Category

Coming Soon: Webinar for BE–10 Survey Respondents—What Private Funds Need to Know

BEA Blog Feed - Fri, 07/10/2015 - 21:09

Take part in a webinar, co-hosted by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Association for Corporate Growth, on Thursday, July 16, at 2 p.m., where you’ll receive an overview of the BE–10 Benchmark Survey of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad and learn more about how it applies to private funds.

This webinar will explain the filing requirements, offer tips, and answer questions to assist private funds in completing the survey. To register, please go to this site and provide the required information.

While neither the survey nor the data collected are new (it was last conducted in 2009), many potential new filers have become aware of the survey for the first time. Private funds are required to participate in the BE–10 survey if they own or control “foreign affiliates” directly or through U.S. portfolio companies that they control. For additional information regarding the BE–10 survey, please visit this section on BEA’s Web site.

Categories: BEA Feed Category

BEA’s API Expands Access to All Regional Data

BEA Blog Feed - Wed, 07/08/2015 - 18:57

Developers, your requests have been heard. All regional data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis are now accessible through our application programming interface, or API. This includes industry detail for certain estimates, back-year estimates under the SIC industry structure and every statistic currently available in our interactive data tables.

The new API datasets are named “RegionalIncome” and “RegionalProduct”. The statistics available correspond to the public tables for the regional program. To assist in finding the economic statistics from these datasets, a new data availability page has been developed. The appendices I and J in the API User Guide are also descriptive and give helpful examples.

The new datasets are intended to replace the older regional dataset “RegionalData”, part of the API launched in May 2013, which only allows access to summary statistics. The older “RegionalData” dataset, however, will still be available. The new datasets join other in the API — BEA’s GDP and related national economic statistics, international transactions and investment, and foreign direct investment statistics. In addition to expanding the amount of data available on the API, BEA published an updated API User Guide, making it easier for developers to start using the service.

BEA’s API allows developers to build a service to search, display, analyze, retrieve, or view BEA statistics. For example, you can create a “mashup” that combines BEA data with other government or private data sources to create new services or give your users a different perspective on their communities. Or you can design a tool that gives your users new ways to visualize economic data.

The API includes methods for retrieving subsets of BEA statistical data and the meta-data that describes it using HTTP requests. It delivers data in two industry-standard formats: XML (Extensible Markup Language) and JSON (JavaScript Object Notation).

To use the API, you need to register first. Full documentation is available in the updated API User Guide.

The BEA’s API is just one way BEA is supporting open data. Visit BEA’s Open Data site for a complete listing of BEA’s data sets in a machine readable JSON format, along with access to downloadable data sets and other data tools.

Categories: BEA Feed Category

May 2015 Trade Gap is $41.9 Billion

BEA Blog Feed - Tue, 07/07/2015 - 18:32

The U.S. monthly international trade deficit increased in May 2015 according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau. The deficit increased from $40.7 billion in April (revised) to $41.9 billion in May, as exports decreased more than imports. The previously published April deficit was $40.9 billion. The goods deficit increased $1.2 billion from April to $61.5 billion in May. The services surplus increased less than $0.1 billion from April to $19.6 billion in May.

balance on goods and services trade july 7

Exports
Exports of goods and services decreased $1.5 billion, or 0.8 percent, in May to $188.6 billion. Exports of goods decreased $1.6 billion and exports of services increased $0.1 billion.

  • The decrease in exports of goods mainly reflected a decreased in capital goods ($2.4 billion). An increase in industrial supplies and materials ($0.8 billion) was partly offsetting.
  • The increase in exports of services mainly reflected an increase in other business services ($0.1 billion), which includes research and development services; professional and management services; and technical, trade-related and other services.

Imports
Imports of goods and services decreased $0.3 billion, or 0.1 percent, in May to $230.5 billion. Imports of goods decreased $0.4 billion and imports of services increased $0.1 billion.

  • The decrease in imports of goods mainly reflected decreases in capital goods ($0.8 billion) and in industrial supplies and materials ($0.6 billion). An increase in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($0.8 billion) was partly offsetting.
  • The increase in imports of services mainly reflected an increase in transport ($0.1 billion), which includes freight and port services and passenger fares.

Goods by geographic area (seasonally adjusted, Census basis)

  • The goods deficit with China increased from $27.5 billion in April to $30.6 billion in May. Exports decreased $0.7 billion to $9.6 billion and imports increased $2.4 billion to $40.2 billion.
  • The goods deficit with the European Union increased from $11.9 billion in April to $13.4 billion in May. Exports decreased $0.1 billion to $22.6 billion and imports increased $0.4 billion to $36.0 billion.
  • The goods surplus with South and Central America increased from $3.0 billion in April to $4.2 billion in May. Exports increased $0.8 billion to $13.7 billion and imports decreased $0.4 billion to $9.5 billion.

For more information, read the full report.

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