BEA Listens to Customers’ Ideas on How to Unleash Data

As one of the federal government’s premier producers of economic statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis is all about data all of the time. So we were thrilled to take part in the inaugural Open Data Roundtable at the White House Conference Center on June 18 and hear from businesses and other vital customers about how we can make our data easier to find, use and understand.

This week’s Open Data 500 event marked the first-of-its-kind Commerce Department–wide engagement with business leaders who rely on our data. Organizers included The Governance Lab (GovLab) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

GovLab, which has embarked on a comprehensive study of U.S companies that use government data to generate new business and develop new products and services, will plan and facilitate additional roundtables. BEA participated in this week’s workshop with a number of other Commerce agencies. The goal: Unleash even more government data that would help business leaders make informed decisions about investing, hiring and staying on the cutting edge of innovation.

The workshop gave BEA a fresh opportunity to talk to data users about what they want in the future. In a June 19 blog, Mark Doms, the Commerce Department’s Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, summarized some major takeaways, which included: data consistency across the Commerce Department, cataloguing data in a common, machine-readable format and making data accessible in bulk.

BEA has a long history of listening to its customers. From that feedback, we’ve taken steps over the years to make our data easier to access including the creation of BEA’s interactive data application and last year’s launch of BEA’s API (Application Programming Interface), which lets developers and others create their own customized dashboards of economic data.

With BEA’s API, we are continually communicating with API subscribers and users. That’s just one way we stay connected to what our customers want and generate ideas about how we do what we do even better.

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