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.


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