Archive for the 'National' Category

Real Consumer Spending Rises in February

PersInc_Feb_2014Personal income increased 0.3 percent in February, the same as in January. Wages and salaries, the largest component of personal income, increased 0.2 percent after increasing 0.3 percent.

Current-dollar disposable personal income (DPI), after-tax income, increased 0.3 percent in February, the same as in January.

Real DPI, income adjusted for taxes and inflation, increased 0.3 percent in February after increasing 0.2 percent in January.

Real consumer spending, spending adjusted for price changes, increased 0.2 percent in February after increasing 0.1 percent in January. Spending on nondurable goods increased 0.3 percent after decreasing 0.9 percent.

PCE prices increased 0.1 percent in February, the same increase as in January. Excluding food and energy, PCE prices rose 0.1 percent in February.

Personal saving as a percent of DPI–the personal saving rate–was 4.3 percent in February and 4.2 percent in January.

Read the full report.


Comprehensive Revisions to NIPA: Reconsidering Treatment of R&D and Entertainment

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) will release its comprehensive revision of the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs) next week.  Among other important changes to estimates will be how the statistical agency treats research and development (R&D) and calculates entertainment in measuring gross domestic product (GDP).  The revision generally occurs every 5 years.  Revisions to GDP estimates are not unusual; in fact, as better source data become available, BEA revises the NIPA series, including GDP, three times every year: for 2 consecutive months following each release, and annually.  In addition, every 5 years, BEA comprehensively revises the data, in part tied to the updates of BEA’s input-output tables, which are based on the Census Bureau’s quinquennial Economic Census.

As part of this process, BEA often revises the underlying NIPA methods and definitions.  On July 31, BEA will broaden the definition of GDP regarding R&D expenditures, which have long been viewed as similar to fixed assets—that is, an asset with defined ownership rights that is long-lasting and used repeatedly in the production process.  BEA estimates that capitalizing R&D would have had a $300 billion impact on the economy in 2007.  This change follows years of research, which included publishing a new framework for measuring intangible innovation and the development of better source data to measure accurately the amount of R&D activity.  With this latest revision, BEA will also begin to treat entertainment, literary, and artistic originals, which are designed to generate many copies and can be usefully employed for more than 1 year, as investment rather than expenditures.  BEA will be making other NIPA changes, too:
•Incorporating the benchmark input-output accounts for 2007, which are derived from the Economic Census and set to be released on their own later this year.
•Adding an accrual treatment of defined-benefit pension plans.
•Making statistical changes including improved measures of commercial banking services.
•Changing the reference year for price indices and inflation-adjusted series from 2005 to 2009.
•Changing intellectual property tables and adding new pension tables.

All told, this month’s NIPA revisions will be “comprehensive,” indeed!

Want to Build Apps Using BEA Economic Data? BEA Launches API

Developers, are you looking for a way to bring some of the most closely watched economic data into your next app? You can now build apps using BEA economic statistics, thanks to BEA’s new application programming interface (API). The API provides direct access to gross domestic product (GDP) and related national economic statistics, along with regional economic statistics.api_blog

The BEA 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).

A beta version of the service launched in May and was featured during the National Civic Day of Hacking.

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