Taking the Pulse of the American Economy: Your Right to Know


BRASS Program, American Library Association Annual Conference
June 29, 1992
San Francisco, CA

Bibliography | Sources Containing Economic Indicators | New or Forthcoming Books
Federal Reserve Publications | Most Cost-Effective Banking Sources


Ammer, Christine, and Ammer, Dean S. Dictionary of Business and Economics. revised and expanded edition. NY: The Free Press, 1984.

Berlin, Howard M. The Handbook of Financial Market Indexes, Averages, and Indicators. Homewood, IL: Dow Jones-Irwin, 1990.
An excellent guide to stock indexes and averages all around the world. Really good explanations of the Dow Jones Averages, S&P 500, Nikkei, and many, many more.

Downes, John and Goodman, John Elliot. Dictionary of Finance and Investment Terms. Woodbury, NY: Barron's, 1985.

Fabozzi, Frank and Greenfield, Harry I. The Handbook of Economic and Financial Measures. Homewood, IL: Dow Jones-Irwin, 1984.
The intent of this book is to explain commonly-discussed economic indicators to the intelligent non-economist. Chapters are written by experts for a general audience, detailed and authoritative without completely sacrificing readability. Discussions of the history of series and where they are published can be useful to librarians and researchers doing retrospective work.

Frumkin, Norman. Guide to Economic Indicators. Armonk, NY; London: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 1990.
Not a book to read all the way through, but a really down-to-earth, explanatory reference book. Each indicator is explained in a brief introduction, then sections on "when and where available", content of the indicator, methodology, accuracy, relevance, recent trends with a table, and finally references from primary data sources used by the author. Extremely useful!

Frumkin, Norman. Tracking America's Economy. Armonk, NY; London: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 1987.
Less a guide to indicators themselves than an overall discussion of how the economy works and the significance of the various indicators and measurements.

Greenwald, Douglas, ed. Encyclopedia of Economics. NY: McGraw-Hill, 1982.

Lee, Susan. ABZs of Economics. NY: Poseidon Press, 1987.
Remarkably entertaining explanations of economic terms in a breezy, casual style, complete with cartoons. Lacking in detail, but good on the basics.

The McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Modern Economics: A Handbook of Terms and Organizations. 3d ed. NY: McGraw-Hill, 1983.
An abridged version of this dictionary was also published.

Moffat, Donald W. Economics Dictionary. 2d ed. NY: Elsevier, 1983.

Munn, Glenn G. Encyclopedia of Banking and Finance. 9th ed. Rolling Meadows, lL: Bankers Publishing Co., 1991.

Nelson, Charles R. The Investor's Guide to Economic Indicators. New York: Wiley, 1987.
Well-written and simple-to-understand explanation of those economic indicators that the author, a professional economist, believes impact most directly on the stock market. Chapter 9 is a particularly clear exposition on the component parts of the Index of Leading Indicators and what they show. Recommended for investors and non-investors alike.

O'Hara, Frederick M. Jr. and Sicignano, Robert. Handbook of United States Economic and Financial Indicators. West Port: Greenwood Press, 1985.
A classic source of definitions and published sources for both governmental and non-governmental indicators. Appendix A, "Nonquantitative Indicators," includes such gems as the Short-Skirt Index and the Surly Waiter Index.

Pennant-Rea, Rupert. The Pocket Economist. 2d ed. London: Basil Blackwell; Economist Publications, 1987.
An entertaining look at economic terms, both British and American. Coverage of U.S. economic items is really very good, considering that this book was written primarily for a British audience. Cartoons included.

Rosenberg, Jerry. Dictionary of Banking and Financial Services. 2d ed. New York: Wiley, 1985.

Wurman, Richard Saul, Alan Siegel, and Kenneth M. Morris. The Wall Street Journal Guide to Understanding Money & Markets: Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds, Futures, Money. New York: Access Press.

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Across the Board. NY: The Conference Board, 1964- (monthly).

Barron's. Chicopee, MA: Dow Jones (weekly).
Consult the Market Laboratory Section.

Business Conditions Digest. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, (monthly).
Ceased publication.

Business Failure Record. NY: Dun and Bradstreet, (monthly, quarterly, or annual version).

Business Starts Record. NY: Dun & Bradstreet, (annual).
May have ceased publication.

Business Statistics. 1961-1988. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. 1951- (biennial).
A supplement to the Survey of Current Business. Contains historical data and methodological notes for approximately 2,100 series.

CPI Detailed Report. Washington, DC: Bureau of Labor Statistics (monthly).

Consumer Confidence Survey. The Conference Board, 1987- (monthly).

Current Construction Reports, C20, Housing Starts. Washington, DC: Bureau of the Census, 1959- (monthly).

Compensation and Working Conditions. Washington, DC: Bureau of Labor Statistics. May 1991- (monthly).
Previous title is Current Wage Developments. Washington, DC: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1981- April 1991 (monthly).

Dow Jones News/Retrieval. Princeton, NJ: Dow Jones.
Contains over 40 continuously updated online databases.

Economic Indicators. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office (GPO), 1948- (monthly).

Economic Report of the President. Washington, DC: Office of the President, 1950- (annual).

Employment and Earnings. Washington, DC: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1954- (monthly).

Federal Reserve Bulletin. Washington, DC: GPO, 1915- (monthly).

Handbook of Cyclical Indicators. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, 1977-1984 (biennial). (Ceased publication.)
Biennial supplement to the now-defunct Business Conditions Digest containing both historical time series of indicators and explanations of what the indicators mean and how they were calculated.

MLR, Monthly Labor Review. Washington, DC: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1915- (monthly)

Manufacturing Investment Outlook. NY: The Conference Board, 1987- (quarterly).

Manufacturing Investment Statistics: Capital Appropriations. NY: The Conference Board, 1974- (quarterly).

New York Times. NY: The New York Times Co., 1857- (daily).

Producer Price Index. Washington, DC: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1978- (monthly).
Previously published as Wholesale Price Index, 1952-1977.

Statistical Abstract of the United States. Washington, DC: Bureau of the Census, 1878-(annual).

Statistical Bulletin. NY: The Conference Board, 1968- (monthly).

Surveys of Consumer Attitudes. Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research, Survey Research Center, University of Michigan, 1953- (monthly).

Standard & Poor's Statistical Service Current Statistics. NY: S&P, 1977?- (monthly bulletins with annual cumulation).

Survey of Current Business. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, 1921- (monthly).

Wall Street Journal. NY: Dow Jones, 1889- (daily).
A given indicator may not appear every day.

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The following titles have not been reviewed by the committee.

Anderson, Victor. Alternative Economic Indicators. London, New York: Routledge. 1991.

Bernstein, Jack. The Handbook of Economic Cycles. Homewood, IL: Business One Irwin, 1991.

Carnes, W. Stansbury. The Atlas of Economic Indicators: A Visual Guide to Market Forces and the Federal Reserve. New York: Harper Business/Harper Collins. 1991.

Darney, Arsen J. (ed.). Economic Indicators Handbook: Time Series, Conversions, Documentation. Detroit: Gale Research Inc.

Klein, Philip A. Analyzing Modern Business Cycles: Essays Honoring Geoffrey Moore. Armonk, NY: Sharpe, 1990.

Lahiri, Kajal (ed.). Leading Economic Indicators: New Approaches and Forecasting Records. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Moore, Geoffrey H. Leading Indicators for the 1990s. Homewood, lL: Dow Jones-Irwin, 1990.

Plocek, Joseph W. Economic Indicators: How America Reads Its Financial Health. New York, NY: New York Institute of Finance. 1990.

Renshaw, Edward (ed.). The Practical Forecasters' Almanac. Homewood, lL: Business One Irwin, 1992.

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U.S. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The Federal Reserve System: Purposes and Functions. Seventh edition. Washington, DC: The Board, 1984.
A detailed look at the structure and functions of the Federal Reserve System, written for the nonprofessional.

________. Annual Report. Washington, DC: The Board, 1941- . (annual) (FR 1.1)
A review of monetary policy and the state of the economy. Includes operations, income, and expenditures of the Board and each reserve bank.

________. Federal Reserve Bulletin. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1915- . (monthly) (FR 1.3)
Considered the best single source for US banking and monetary statistics, the Bulletin features articles on finance, business, and banking as well as statistics on economic indicators. Its "Finance and Business Statistics" section covers current data on money, bank reserves, financial markets, securities markets, and consumer credit.

________. Annual Statistical Digest. Washington, DC: The Board, 1975- . (annual) (FR 1.59)
Annual compilation of the monthly series of financial and business statistics found in the Federal Reserve Bulletin.

________. Banking and Monetary Statistics, 1914-1941. Washington, DC: The Board, 1943.

________. Banking and Monetary Statistics, 1941-1970. Washington, DC: The Board, 1976.
These two publications contain historical banking and financial statistics which can be used in conjunction with the Annual Statistical Digest. Includes time series data on Federal Reserve Banks, bank debits, bad income, currency, money rates & security markets, gold, and consumer credit.

________. Historical Chart Book. Washington, DC: The Board, 1949- . (annual). (FR 1.30/2)
Graphic presentation of US financial and business trends from as early as 1800. Statistical data covers measures of economic growth, industrial production, commercial banks, financial institutions, stock market, and interest rates. (Ceased publication, 1989)

________. Federal Reserve Statistical Releases. Washington, DC: The Board. Series of weekly, monthly, quarterly, semiannual, and annual reports presenting time series data on various financial, market, and related economic topics. Selected statistical releases:
(a) Selected interest Rates (H.15/G.13) (weekly/monthly)
(b) Money Stock, Liquid Assets, and Debt Measures (H.6) (weekly)
(c) Consumer Installment Credit (G.l9) (monthly)
(d) Weekly Consolidated Condition Report of Large Commercial Banks, and Domestic Subsidiaries (H4.2) (weekly)
(e) Flow of Funds Summary Statistics (Z.7) (quarterly)

________. Staff Studies. Washington, DC: The Board, 1965- .
Continuing series of studies and papers on a wide range of subjects related to banking practices, and to the formation and effects of monetary and fiscal policy. Titles are listed in the Federal Reserve Bulletin.

Each of the twelve (12) Federal Reserve Banks publishes periodically an economic review, containing articles on general banking and economic concerns and emphasizing that particular regional district. Several of the banks also publish statistical bulletins/releases, highlighting economic indicators (e.g. New England Economic Indicators published monthly by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston). These publications are indexed by subject in Fed in Print, published twice a year by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

To determine the availability of Federal Reserve publications, inquiries should be directed to the issuing Federal Reserve Bank, or, where appropriate, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Federal Reserve documents are "non-depository" publications and are not included in the government document classes sent to U.S. government depository libraries.

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Banking Terminology. 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Education Policy and Development, American Bankers Association, 1989.
Defines and explains vocabulary of the financial industry. Good for explanations of how certain ratios are calculated.

Moody's Investors Service. Moody's Bank & Finance Manual. New York, (annual).
A detailed directory and financial evaluation service for all types of financial institutions. Supplemented semiweekly.

Munn, Glenn G., et al. Encyclopedia of Banking and Finance. 9th ed. Rolling Meadows, IL: Bankers Publishing Company, 1991.
A newly published ninth edition makes this a directory which is both up-to-date and comprehensive. Explains banking concepts in detail without jargon.

Polk's World Bank Directory. Nashville: R.L. Polk, (semiannual).
A worldwide directory of commercial banks published since 1895.

Quarterly Bank and Savings & Loan Rating Service. Frederick, MD: Lace Financial Corporation, (quarterly).
A periodical providing solvency data on financial institutions. Includes financial ratios and Lace's own ratings. Perhaps the most cost-effective of the bank rating subscription services.

Thomson Bank Directory. (formerly Rand McNally Directory) Skokie, IL: Thomson Financial Publishing, (annual).
A comprehensive three-volume directory with listing of home offices and branches for all of the United States and much of the world.

Top Numbers. New York: American Banker, (annual).
A yearly statistical compilation of the domestic and international financial industries. Includes rankings of banks by various criteria.

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bullet Taking the Pulse of the American Economy: Your Right to Know
BRASS Program, ALA Annual Conference, June 29, 1992

Disclaimer : This publication has been placed on the web for the convenience of BRASS members. Information and links will not be updated. Posted 11 November 1997.