Archive for the 'BEA News' Category

Timelier, more accurate data: the Commerce Department’s statistical agencies deliver on promise of better data for better decision-making

The Economics and Statistics Administration’s family of statistical agencies – the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and U.S. Census Bureau – are announcing an important new initiative that will lead to an acceleration of key trade data as well as improved accuracy of the advance estimate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP is widely considered the most important measure of the U.S. economy. Additionally, American businesses, policymakers, and the public have made clear – and we have listened – that there is an enormous appetite for timelier, high quality trade data to improve decisions and better support our interconnected global economy.

The Census Bureau’s new advanced trade release will arrive approximately one week ahead of the monthly report “U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services,” also known as the FT900 and will provide more timely statistics regarding the export and import of goods and supplies.

The first release is set for July 30, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. and will feature advance statistics for June 2015. The new advance trade release will focus on goods and will list them by “end-use” category, such as consumer goods, capital goods or industrial supplies. It will include both seasonally adjusted and unadjusted data, and will be available on Census’s website: www.census.gov/trade.

This “flash” estimate of trade in goods will provide BEA with more accurate data for their Advance Estimate of GDP and will reduce GDP revisions over time.

I am excited the Commerce Department has committed to making our data even more useful to our customers in the public and private sectors, and this initiative – and the collaboration of ESA’s premier statistical agencies – is one of many ways we are making good on our promise to transform the Department’s data capabilities, a key pillar in our Open for Business Agenda.

For more information on the advance trade release, please call Michael C. Cook, Sr, 301-763-4083 at the Census Bureau. For more information about its potential impact on GDP, please call Jeannine Aversa, 202-606-2649 at BEA.

February 2015 Trade Gap is $35.4 Billion

The U.S. monthly international trade deficit decreased in February 2015 according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau. The deficit decreased from $42.7 billion in January (revised) to $35.4 billion in February, as imports decreased more than exports. The previously published January deficit was $41.8 billion. The goods deficit decreased $7.4 billion from January to $55.2 billion in February. The services surplus decreased $0.1 billion from January to $19.7 billion in February.

April 2nd chart

Exports
Exports of goods and services decreased $3.0 billion, or 1.6 percent, in February to $186.2 billion. Exports of goods decreased $2.9 billion and exports of services decreased $0.1 billion.

  • The decrease in exports of goods reflected decreases in capital goods ($1.7 billion), in industrial supplies and materials ($1.4 billion), and in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($1.1 billion) that were partly offset by an increase in consumer goods ($1.3 billion) was partly offsetting.
  • The decrease in exports of services reflected decreases in transport ($0.2 billion), which includes freight and port services and passenger fares, and in financial services ($0.1 billion) that were partly offset by increases in other business services ($0.1 billion) and in travel (for all purposes including education) ($0.1 billion).

Imports
Imports of goods and services decreased $10.2 billion, or 4.4 percent, in February to $221.7 billion. Imports of goods decreased $10.3 billion while imports of services increased less than $0.1 billion.

  • The decrease in imports of goods mostly reflected decreases in industrial supplies and materials ($4.4 billion), in capital goods ($2.6 billion), and in automotive vehicles, parts and engines ($1.7 billion).
  • The increase in imports of services reflected an increase in travel (for all purposes including education) ($0.1 billion) that was mostly offset by a decrease in transport ($0.1 billion).

Goods by geographic area (seasonally adjusted, Census basis)

  • The goods deficit with Japan decreased from $6.5 billion in January to $4.3 billion in February. Exports increased $0.1 billion to $5.4 billion and imports decreased $2.1 billion to $9.7 billion.
  • The goods deficit with China decreased from $29.3 billion in January to $27.3 billion in February. Exports decreased $1.5 billion to $9.0 billion and imports decreased $3.5 billion to $36.3 billion.
  • The balance with OPEC countries shifted from a deficit of $1.2 billion in January to a surplus of $0.3 billion in February. Exports increased $0.3 billion to $6.4 billion and imports decreased $1.3 billion to $6.0 billion.

For more information, read the full report.

Advance Trade Data Aim to Improve First Estimate of Quarterly GDP

The Census Bureau’s plans to produce an advance monthly report on international trade in goods will allow the Bureau of Economic Analysis to incorporate three months of official trade data into its first estimate of quarterly Gross Domestic Product, helping to improve the accuracy of this major economic measure.

BEA Director Brian Moyer praised the move as an example of cross-agency collaboration.

“Accelerating trade data so they are included in our initial estimates of Gross Domestic Product represents a significant improvement in our ability to measure the U.S. economy accurately,” said BEA Director Moyer. “The work between BEA and the Census Bureau to make this happen underscores how interagency collaboration and innovation result in a payoff for taxpayers and our data customers.”

The first GDP report incorporating Census’ “advance” trade data will be released Thursday, July 30 with BEA’s advance estimate of second-quarter GDP.

“We expect Census’ advance trade data report to improve the accuracy of our initial, or advance,  estimates of quarterly Gross Domestic Product and reduce revisions by filling in a data gap with actual trade data for the third month of the quarter,” said BEA Associate Director for National Economic Accounts Brent Moulton. “This improvement will make our advance GDP estimates more useful to businesses, policymakers and the American public.  In calculating the advance estimate, BEA does have actual trade data for two months of a quarter but is missing data for the third month and has to rely on assumptions to fill that gap. Those assumptions have been an important source of revisions to our GDP estimates.  The inclusion of actual trade data for the third month of the quarter is the latest effort by the Commerce Department to produce the best possible measure of the U.S. economy.”

For more information, read this FAQ. Click here for the trade report. (Announcement found on page 3 of report.)