Success by the Numbers: Statistics for Business Development


BRASS Program at the ALA Annual Conference
June 28, 2004
Orlando, Florida

Program Handout, part 2


Prepared by
Todd M. Hines
University of Alabama

Local/Regional/Multistate | National | International


Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. Beige Book. Available at
Produced by the Federal Reserve eight times a year, the Beige Book provides reports on economic conditions in each of the twelve Federal Reserve districts. It provides short-term forecasts for each district in areas of the economy such as manufacturing, residential real estate, and the retail sector. The areas analyzed vary from report-to-report.

Center for Economic Studies, Wake Forest University. Center for Economic Studies. Available at
The Center for Economic Studies provides analysis and forecasting of the U.S. economy, eight Southeastern states (AL, FL, GA, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV) and Southeastern MSAs. The center produces a quarterly comprehensive review of the Southeastern economy. It also provides an extensive database of economic information and graphs to Internet users.

The Conference Board. Consumer Confidence Survey. (Monthly). New York, NY: Consumer Research Center, The Conference Board.
This subscription-based publication is a very well known economic forecast. The Consumer Confidence Index provides a six to twelve-month forecast of consumer expectations and consumer confidence by region. It has been designated by the U.S. Department of Commerce as a leading economic indicator.

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. New England Economic Indicators. Available at
This source is published monthly by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. It provides current and historical economic data for the six states in the first Federal Reserve District (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont), large metropolitan areas in the region, New England as a whole, and the United States.

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Ninth District Forecasts. (Semiannual). Available at
Two-year forecasts are presented for Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and northwestern Wisconsin. Areas such as nonfarm employment, the unemployment rate, and personal income are forecasted.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Regional Economy. Available at
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York provides several economic indicators on their website for New York State, New Jersey and New York City. They also provide a one-year economic forecast for the same areas.

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Surveys of Business Activity. Available at
The Richmond Fed has surveys manufacturing, retail and services firms in its district to obtain information on their current levels of business activity and outlook for near-term future activity. All firms surveyed are located within the Fifth Federal Reserve District. This area includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and most of West Virginia.

Global Insight. Available at
Global Insight, Inc. is a fee-based database formed with the merger of two very well-respected economic and financial information companies, DRI and WEFA. It has a large amount of information on economics, industries, and investment information. Economic forecasting information is available for the local, national, and international level. At the local level it has forecasting information for all states, metropolitan areas and counties. The national level forecasts are very sophisticated. A detailed five-year forecast updated monthly and a twenty-five-year forecast updated quarterly are available. In addition, alternative scenarios for medium- and long-term U.S. economic forecasts are presented. Internationally, country-specific analysis and forecasts are provided, as well as coverage of regional developments and an overview of world trends.

Northwest-Midwest Institute. Northeast-Midwest State Economic Profiles. Available at
The Northwest-Midwest Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization, conducts economic research and analysis. Current economic indicators for Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Monthly economic indicators include unemployment rate, housing permits, and manufacturing employment.

NPA Data Services, Inc. Regional Economic Projections Series. (Annual). Arlington, VA: Author.
Long-range economic and demographic forecasts are provided for country's regions, states, economic, and metropolitan areas and for each of the 3098 U.S. counties in this subscription publication. The areas forecasted include population, employment and income data.

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Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce. Survey of Current Business. Available at
This source provides current data on the economy and is useful for predicting economic activity. Among statistical series covered are personal income, inventories and sales, national income accounts, foreign direct investment in the United States, U.S. direct investment abroad, and gross state product.

The Conference Board. Leading Economic Indicators. (Monthly). Available online at
The Conference Board prepares a set of well-regarded leading economic indicators for the U.S. and many other countries. Leading indicators include initial unemployment claims, building permits, and new orders. A subscription is required to access all the data, but basic data is available for free in press releases section.

Congressional Budget Office. Current Economic Forecast. Available at
Projections about the United States economy are available in the “Current Economic Forecast” section of the website. Ten years of forecasts are provided for many of the core macroeconomic variables such as GDP and the Consumer Price Index.

Council of Economic Advisers (U.S.). Economic Indicators. (Monthly). Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.
This source is published monthly by the Council of Economic Advisers, an executive branch office advisor to the U.S. President on economic issues. Each issue has figures for economic measurements such as Gross Domestic Product, employment, unemployment, wages, and industrial production. It is available online at

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Livingston Survey. (Semiannual). Available at
This semiannual survey has been published continuously since 1946. It provides economic forecasts for a number of macroeconomic variables, such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), inflation, the unemployment rate, and corporate profits. These consensus forecasts are reached by surveying economists from industry, government, banking, and academia.

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Survey of Professional Forecasters. (Quarterly). Available at
The oldest quarterly survey of macroeconomic forecasts in the United States, it began in 1968, it is conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. It surveys private sector economists in order to forecast economic variables such as inflation, interest rates, and economic output.

Global Insight.
See entry in Local/Multistate/Regional section for more information.

NPA Data Services, Inc. National Economic Projections Series. (Annual). Arlington, VA: Author.
Issued as a three-volume set of data tables, with accompanying narrative, this source focuses on the long-term outlook of the national economy. Projections are provided for the coming 25 years. Forecasts are for population, as well as economic and industry areas are provided.

President of the United States & Council of Economic Advisers (U.S.). The Economic Report of the President. Washington, DC: States Government Printing Office.
An annual review of the U.S. economy submitted to Congress by the Executive Office of the President. It provides historial statistical data on many aspects of the economy. It also contains the President’s near-term and long-term forecasts for GDP, CPI, the unemployment rate, interest rates, and nonfarm payroll employment. The most recent version is available online at

RSQE (Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics), University of Michigan. RSQE’s U.S. Economic Forecast. Available at
RSQE produces forecasts for the next two years for economic variables such as GDP, inflation, unemployment, interest rates, capacity utilization, housing starts, disposable income, corporate profits, and the federal budget deficit.

Standard & Poor’s. Trends & Projections. (Monthly). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
It presents forecasts for the major economic indicators, as well as for some major industries. Data elements include Gross Domestic Product, capacity utilization, housing starts, and interest rates.

Wall Street Journal. Economic Forecast Survey. New York, NY: Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
This monthly survey of over 50 economists is available to readers of the Wall Street Journal both in print and online. It forecasts GDP, interest rates, inflation, the unemployment rate corporate profits, housing starts, some exchange rates, and other variables. The latest survey is often available for free on the Wall Street Journal website,

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The Conference Board. Leading Economic Indicators. (Monthly). Available online at
See entry in National section for more information.

Consensus Economics.
A fee-based site, it polls more than 600 economists each month to obtain their forecasts and views. These surveys cover estimates for the principal macroeconomic variables, such as including growth, inflation, interest rates, and exchange rates for in over 70 countries.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Forecast. Available at
Available in print and via the Internet, this fee-based product provides country economic forecasts. Five-year economic projections are provided for 60 of the world's largest economies. An additional feature of this product is a set of proprietary rankings which assess the attractiveness of national business environments.

European Union. Economic Forecasts. (Semiannual). Available at
The European Union produces semiannual forecasts for European economies and some other large economies, such as the United States and Japan. Two-year projections are given for a broad range of macroeconomic variables.

Global Insight.
See entry in Local/Multistate/Regional section for more information.

International Monetary Fund. World Economic Outlook. (Semiannual). Available at
It presents the IMF staff's analysis and projections of economic developments at the global level, in major country groups (classified by region, stage of development, etc.), and in many individual countries. It focuses on major economic policy issues as well as on the analysis of economic developments and prospects. Some of the variables forecasted are GDP, prices, unemployment, interest rates, as well as trade and capital flows.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Economic Outlook. (Semiannual). Available at,2688,en_2649_34109_1_1_1_1_1,00.html.
The OECD prepares an economic outlook for each of its 23 member nations on a semiannual basis. The forecasted data includes GDP, consumption and saving, capitol formation, imports and exports, wages, employment and unemployment, inflation, productivity, government budgets, and interest rates. Note that long url which is likely to be unstable.

United Nations. World Economic and Social Survey. (Annual). New York, NY: Author.
This is the United Nations' annual analysis of current developments in the world economy and emerging policy issues. It contains their forecasts of short-term global and regional economic trends. It also reviews major developments in international trade. Statistical tables with data on macroeconomic, international trade, and finance are included.

The World Bank. Global Economic Prospects. (Annual). Available at
The World Bank publishes an annual overview of the world and its economies. It includes economic forecasts for regions and countries for GDP, inflation, interest rates, oil prices, and other variables.

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bullet Success by the Numbers: Statistics for Business Development
BRASS Program at the ALA Annual Conference, June 28, 2004, Orlando, Florida
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