Economic data and resources

minneapolisfed.org/bb: Archive maintained by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve on the Beige Book. The Beige Book is released two weeks prior to each FOMC meeting eight times per year. Each Federal Reserve bank gathers anecdotal information on current economic conditions in its district through reports from bank and branch directors and interviews with key businessmen, economists, market experts, and other sources., The Beige Book summarizes this information by district and sector. It is not a commentary on the views of Federal Reserve officials.

www.bls.gov: Tons of information is available at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, run by the Department of Commerce. Everything is here, from the Consumer Price Index to import/export data to industry information. This is one of the most comprehensive sites for government information.

www.census.gov/:  Home page for the U.S. Census Bureau, part of the Department of Commerce. This is where to begin if you’re looking for general data or information on the 2002 or 2007 Economic Census, which breaks down the country’s economy by industry, state, county and metropolitan statistical area.

www.census.gov/cgi-bin/briefroom/BriefRm: The Economic Briefing Room for the Census Bureau. This is where to go to get the latest reports from the Census Bureau, such as construction spending, new home sales, housing starts and inventories.

www.census.gov/econ/cbp/index.html: County Business Patterns is an annual series that provides county and state economic data by industry. The series is useful for studying the economic activity of small areas; analyzing economic changes over time; and as a benchmark for statistical series, surveys and databases between economic censuses. Businesses use the data for analyzing market potential, measuring the effectiveness of sales and advertising programs, setting sales quotas, and developing budgets.

www.conference-board.org: Home site of the Conference Board, where you go to look at the latest Consumer Confidence Index survey results. It also compiles a survey on leading economic indicators.

www.econdata.net: Sponsored by the Economic Development Association, EconData.net has 1,000 links to socioeconomic data sources, arranged by subject and provider, and its own list of the ten best sites for finding regional economic data.

www.federalreserve.gov: Home page for the central bank of the United States. Check out “Economic Research and Data” from the menu on the left, as well as the “News and Events” section, which is where you can access speeches and testimony by Fed members.

federalreserve.gov/otherfrb.htm: Links to the 12 Federal Reserve districts, where there is also economic research and data available for that specific geographic region. Working papers are available on many of these websites. They can give you a clue as to what the regional feds are thinking.

www.philadelphiafed.org/index.cfm: Home page of the Philadelphia Reserve. Singled out here because of its surveys on economic activity indexes and leading indexes for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, which sometimes can be a barometer for the rest of the country.

www.ny.frb.org: Home page for the New York Reserve. Has a nice section on the banking industry, including memos sent to banks, and a consumer section. Home page has a quick update on foreign currency exchanges and certificate of deposit rates.

www.economy.com/dismal: Site run by Economy.com, a Pennsylvania-based company, to provide news and information about economic trends and research for professional investors, government agencies and others.

www.imf.org/external/index.htm: The International Monetary Fund. A good place to go to if you’re writing about a company or business with operations in an international country. This site can give you an indication of that country’s economic shape.

bea.gov: The Bureau of Economic Analysis at the Commerce Department. Go here to get data on the Gross Domestic Product by industry and by state. Also has information on personal income by state.

research.stlouisfed.org/system_change_notice.html: Go here to subscribe to an email system that allows you to receive economic data and research publications from the Federal Reserve in St, Louis. (Note: Many of the other Federal Reserve sites also have an email notification system whenever something has been added.)

www.stat-usa.gov/: A service of the U.S. Commerce Department, this is a site for the U.S. business, economic and trade community, providing authoritative information from the Federal government. The State of the Nation section has virtually all of the major economic reports from the federal government.

www.nber.org: The National Bureau of Economic Research website, this is run by a private, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting a better understanding of how the economy works. Two of its best features include a calendar of business cycles for the past two centuries and another calendar showing when key economic data will be released.

www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm: This allows anyone to calculate the value of a dollar into present-day values, adjusted for inflation.

www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/tools/tools_savingsbondcalc.htm: The Bureau of Public Debt’s savings bond calculator. Helps find what the worth of a bond is today.

www.x-rates.com: Site that tracks the value of the U.S. dollar to currencies from other countries. This site also has a currency calculator and a way to look up the historic value of the dollar.

cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/costofliving/costofliving.html from CNNMoney.com: A cost of living calculator. Uses the Consumer Price Index to compare the real buying power in historical dollar amounts.

www.ficalc.com: A calculator for the value of bonds, everything from treasuries to municipal and government bonds. Also some European bonds are here.

www.smartmoney.com/Investing/Bonds/Bond-Calculator-7917: A bond calculator offered by Smart Money magazine. Begin by entering the bond’s coupon rate and maturity. If you then enter a price, the calculator will display the bond’s yield to maturity; if you enter a yield, the calculator will show you the corresponding price.

www.gpoaccess.gov/indicators/browse.html: Easy access to current Federal economic indicators. It provides links to information produced by a number of Federal agencies. All of the information included in the Economic Statistics Briefing Room is maintained and updated by the statistical units of those agencies. All the estimates for the indicators presented in the Federal Statistics Briefing Rooms are the most currently available values. The indicators include employment, productivity, transportation, income, international, money, output, and prices.