Posts Tagged 'Director Steve Landefeld'

BEA Director Steve Landefeld to Retire

Steve Landefeld, Director of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, plans to retire in early May. Dr. Landefeld took the helm in May 1995 and in his 19 years as director was instrumental in implementing major changes aimed at better measuring the dynamic U.S. and world economies.

Under Dr. Landefeld’s leadership, the non-partisan BEA:

  • Developed more accurate measures of inflation, productivity and economic growth for policymakers and businesses by switching to “chain-weighted” indexes that are now used around the world.
  • Incorporated measures of investments in R&D, computer software and other intangibles as part of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and calculated their economic impact — providing a much-improved basis for understanding and supporting the knowledge economy.
  • Expanded measures of international and domestic services output and prices, improving our knowledge of their impact on   inflation, productivity, competitiveness and business cycles.
  • Developed more timely and more accurate gauges for measuring the distribution of nominal and real economic growth across regions and industries.
  • Spearheaded research and new statistics that improved data on pensions and health care – enhancing their relevance.
  • Extended statistics beyond GDP and conventional measures to a number of areas, including the environment, human capital, multinational companies, the valuation of life for health and safety decisions, household production and the distribution of income.

Dr. Landefeld has played a key leadership role in economic accounting advances through his personal research and his international statistical leadership. He has written extensively on all these topics and has led the efforts to incorporate many of these statistical advances into the international accounting guidelines used by the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the European Union. Dr. Landefeld and the BEA also have a long history of working closely with businesses and other data users to make sure that BEA-produced statistics are timely and relevant.

In recognition for his contributions, Dr. Landefeld has received numerous awards including those from President George W. Bush, the National Association for Business Economics, the International Statistical Institute, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the American Statistical Association, the Coalition of Service Industries and the American Society for Public Administration.

Dr. Mark Doms, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs, will lead a search and select Dr. Landefeld’s successor. Until a new director is appointed, Dr. Brian Moyer, BEA’s deputy director, will serve as acting director for the bureau.

“Steve’s commitments to integrity, leadership and relentless focus on improving economic measurement means that today, businesses, policy-makers and citizens all have a better understanding of our economy. His departure is a loss to our statistical system, but fortunately I can directly attest that Steve has accomplished what we all hope to, to leave our agencies in better shape than we found them,” Doms said.

BEA is a non-political agency that produces statistics on national, international, industry and regional economic activity. The agency is made up entirely of career civil servants.

Dr. Landefeld first joined BEA in 1979.  He left the agency and returned in 1990, heading up the Bureau’s international directorate. He also served as BEA’s deputy director. Dr. Landefeld was chief of staff at the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1988 to 1990, under the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.

Harvard University Professor Dale Jorgenson, long-serving chairman of BEA’s Advisory Committee and co-editor of several scholarly works with Dr. Landefeld, said: “Steve Landefeld and his colleagues at BEA have generated a stream of first-rate contributions to economic statistics. In addition to his outstanding intellectual leadership of BEA, Landefeld has been an enormously effective Director. Under his management BEA has assembled a first-rate administrative staff and an excellent cadre of research economists. BEA’s capacity to serve the business community and the public has never been higher.”

Dr. Landefeld’s last day is May 2.

After leaving BEA, Dr. Landefeld plans to spend time with his family. He also plans to teach economics at his alma mater — the University of Maryland from which he received his doctorate in economics.

Meet BEA’s Director—Steve Landefeld

BEA Director Steve Landefeld
Steve Landefeld has served as Director of the Bureau of Economic Analysis since 1995. Before he took over as Director, Dr. Landefeld served in other capacities at BEA including Deputy Director and Associate Director for International Economics. While at BEA, Dr. Landefeld has led a number of pioneering statistical and management initiatives that have been recognized nationally and internationally. Prior to coming to BEA, he served as Chief of Staff for the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers.

I enjoy being a part of an agency that produces the data that play such an important role in helping inform our country’s economic policy. Decisionmakers in both the private and public sectors rely on insights into the functioning of the economy provided by BEA. We produce some of the world’s most important and closely watched economic statistics.

One of our biggest challenges is keeping pace with a constantly changing economy.  As commerce becomes more global and complex, it’s vital that we improve our current measurement systems and introduce new ones to ensure that we provide a clear picture of what is happening economically in America.  Over the years, BEA has implemented many innovations, but we know we must continue to come up with new measures to better understand business cycles, the sources of income growth, and the sustainability of trends.

One of the things I’m very interested in doing is expanding our measurements to better describe how the economy relates to the experiences of everyday people.  For example, we are currently working on a health care project that will more accurately measure spending on health care.  We’re also proposing a new suite of measures that will include distribution of income, spending, debt, saving, and wealth.  Measures of discretionary income on a national basis and inflation-adjusted measures of state personal income that reflect cost-of-living differences across states are part of that initiative.

We believe this will help the public relate economic data to their personal experiences.  That will keep the data we produce at BEA relevant to the American people and help us continue our mission of promoting a better understanding of the economy with the timeliest, most relevant, and accurate economic data in an objective and cost-effective manner.

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