Archive for the 'BEA News' Category



BEA Continues to Explore Reliability of Successive Vintages of Real GDP Estimates

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis finds that early estimates of real Gross Domestic Product are reliable, with evidence indicating only minor improvements to accuracy from advance to second to third quarterly estimates, as measured by mean absolute revisions or standard deviations (see Fixler, Greenaway-McGrevey, and Grimm, “The Revisions to GDP, GDI, and Their Major Components,” Survey of Current Business, August 2014).  BEA estimates GDP quarterly in three monthly vintages, with the “advance” estimate 30 days following the reference quarter, the “second” estimate 60 days following and the “third” estimate 90 days following. Annual revisions occur each year for a three-year period, with comprehensive revisions across the entire time series occurring in years ending in three and eight. BEA regularly tests the reliability of each successive vintage of GDP estimates.

BEA’s Alyssa Holdren (see Holdren, “Gross Domestic Product and Gross Domestic Income Revisions and Source Data,” Survey of Current Business, June 2014) illustrates that successive vintage estimates of real Gross Domestic Product contain increasing amounts of quality source data covering the components of GDP. More than three-fifths of the initial, or advance, estimate of GDP is based on trend projections or indirect indicators, and only two-fifths are based on direct indicators. With each successive quarterly vintage the portion of quality data increases, with slightly more than one-half of the second estimates and two-thirds of the third estimates based on data rather than proxies.

With respect to the annual revisions, the three current annual vintages contain still greater amounts of increasingly high quality annual-frequency source data. Reflecting the better data, the correlations between the successive early vintage estimates and the latest estimates increase from 0.78 for the advance estimates to 0.96 for the third annual estimates, with reasonably smooth increments between successive vintages. This pattern indicates a gradually tightening relationship, with no apparent jumps with later vintages.

GDP 93 thru 2013

The relationship between the advance and the latest estimates may also be visualized in a scatter diagram.

scatter spreadsheet

The scatter portrays a reasonably tight relationship. This suggests that the early estimates, which contain much more judgmental inputs, are not particularly less reliable than the latest estimates, which contain all available source data and thus relatively little judgment. As such, the early estimates should be viewed as generally accurate and not substantively less reliable than later vintage estimates.

The various estimates reflect a balance between timeliness of early estimates to inform policy and business investment decisions, and the accuracy accrued with the incorporation of increasingly quality source data. The relationships between the earliest estimates and the latest suggest an appropriate balance, although continuing to improve the reliability of the earliest vintages remains a priority for BEA.

March 2015 Trade Gap is $51.4 Billion

The U.S. monthly international trade deficit increased in March 2015 according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau. The deficit increased from $35.9 billion in February (revised) to $51.4 billion in March, as imports increased more than exports. The previously published February deficit was $35.4 billion. The goods deficit increased $14.9 billion from February to $70.6 billion in March. The services surplus decreased $0.6 billion from February to $19.2 billion in March.

trad0315_fax

Exports
Exports of goods and services increased $1.6 billion, or 0.9 percent, in March to $187.8 billion. Exports of goods increased $1.5 billion and exports of services increased $0.2 billion.

  • The increase in exports of goods mainly reflected increases in capital goods ($1.5 billion) and in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($0.8 billion). Decreases occurred in consumer goods ($1.7 billion) and in petroleum and products ($0.6 billion).
  • The increase in exports of services reflected an increase in transport ($0.1 billion), which includes freight and port services and passenger fares, and increases in several categories of services of less than $0.1 billion. A decrease in travel (for all purposes including education) ($0.1 billion) was partly offsetting.

Imports
Imports of goods and services increased $17.1 billion, or 7.7 percent, in March to $239.2 billion. Imports of goods increased $16.4 billion and imports of services increased $0.8 billion.

  • The increase in imports of goods mainly reflected increases in consumer goods ($9.0 billion), in capital goods ($4.0 billion), and in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($2.7 billion). A decrease occurred in petroleum and products ($1.1 billion).
  • The increase in imports of services mainly reflected increases in transport ($0.6 billion) and in travel (for all purposes including education) ($0.1 billion).

Goods by geographic area (seasonally adjusted, Census basis)

  • The goods deficit with China increased from $27.3 billion in February to $37.8 billion in March. Exports increased $0.4 billion to $9.3 billion and imports increased $10.9 billion to $47.1 billion.
  • The goods deficit with Japan increased from $4.3 billion in February to $6.3 billion in March. Exports increased $0.2 billion to $5.6 billion and imports increased $2.2 billion to $11.9 billion.
  • The goods deficit with Germany decreased from $6.3 billion in February to $5.6 billion in March. Exports increased $0.1 billion to $4.3 billion and imports decreased $0.5 billion to $9.9 billion.

For more information, read the full report.

New Data Tool Provides Fast Access to Trade and Investment Stats for Countries

The Bureau of Economic Analysis launched today a new data tool on its website that gives users a snapshot of statistics on trade and investment between the United States and another country by simply clicking on a world map.

These fast facts at your fingertips can include:

  • Total exports, imports and trade balance between the United States and the country you select.
  • The top five categories of goods and services the United States buys from and sells to that country.
  • Country level data on U.S. direct investment abroad and foreign direct investment in the United States and on the activities of multinational enterprises such as employment and sales.

The country snapshots, or factsheets, also contain charts and can be printed or downloaded to a spreadsheet. The new data tool pulls statistics from BEA’s international data sets on exports, imports, direct investment, and the activities of multinational enterprises into a single easy-to-digest resource. Similar to the BEA’s BEARFACTS regional factsheets for state and regional economic data, the new international factsheets can be used to quickly get up to speed for a business presentation, a news story, or a school research project.

Users select a country from an interactive world map or a searchable menu of countries. The tool generates a country factsheet with graphs and tables showing the latest data on U.S. trade and investment with that country. A PDF of the factsheet is available for easy printing. The tool also provides data tables containing more detailed statistics that can be downloaded in Excel format.

To access the new international data tool, visit http://bea.gov/international/factsheet/.