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The BEA’s new Website Data Tool and its Impact on Trade and Investment

July 13, 2015
The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is the bureau within the Department of Commerce dedicated to producing economic statistics explaining the progression of United States economy. It plays an important role in the Federal Statistical System. Government officials, business leaders, researchers, and individuals are able to use the information released by the BEA in their work to guide them in their decision-making processes. Along with the Census Bureau, the BEA is part of the Department of Commerce’s Economics and Statistics Administration. The BEA’s mission is, “to promote a better understanding of the U.S. economy by providing timely, relevant and accurate economic statistical accounts data in an objective and cost-effective manner.”

By Rhiannon Grodnik, C’17

The BEA strives “to be the world’s most respected producer of economic accounts.”[1] In working towards fulfilling its mission and respecting its vision, the BEA is constantly attempting to make the data and information it outputs more accessible and useful to those who wish to access it as a part of the Department of Commerce’s “Open for Business” agenda.[2] One of the latest innovations is a new data tool called the International Trade and Investment Country Facts Application. This device is available on the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s website.[3]

Through the application, a visitor to the website can access a “country factsheet” which provides up-to-date and relevant trade and investment information about a specific country. Some of the quick facts include: total exports, imports and trade balance between the United States and the country of choice; the top five categories of goods and services that the United States buys from, and sells to, that country; country level data on U.S. direct investment abroad; foreign direct investment in the U.S.; and information on the activities of multinational enterprises such as employment and sales. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ blog post, “BEA’s New Data Tool Provides Fast Access to Trade and Investment Stats for Countries.”[4] This image shows the homepage of the new tool. The highlighted region indicates that the user has chosen Canada.[5]

Once the country has been selected, detailed facts appear in an easy-to-read and easy-to-print format. The information is organized by the following tabs: Overview, Trade, Direct Investment, and Activities of MNE’s (U.S. Multinational Enterprises). Again, using Canada as the example, here is a graph that describes Direct Investment and Activities of Multinational Enterprises between the U.S. and Canada (from 2004 to 2013) available from the Bureau of Economic Analysis International Factsheet available on their website. [6]

<strong>U.S. Direct Investment Position with Canada</strong>

 

This graph is accompanied by the following information: “U.S. Direct Investment Position with Canada

In 2013, the U.S. direct investment position in Canada (outward) was $368.3 billion, an increase of 6.4% from 2012. The direct investment position from Canada in the United States (inward) was $237.9 billion, an increase of 9.2% from 2012.”

The major accomplishment of the International Trade and Investment Country Facts Application is not so much in the content as it is in the drastically improved accessibility and convenience of viewing the data, thus effectively furthering the three key missions laid out in the “Open for Business” agenda – Trade, Innovation, and Data.[7] In the agenda, Secretary Pritzker addresses the all-important question: Why is data so important for growing the United States economy and creating an environment where businesses – from huge multinational corporations to start-ups – can thrive?  Secretary Pritzker points out that, “Businesses depend every single day on the rich data we provide.” Pritzker also notes that a main goal for the Department of Commerce in the next couple of years is to “work throughout our Department, across government, and with industry to make even more data standardized and easy-to-use.” The new Website Data Tool is available free of charge to the public, and can be used by anyone from an entrepreneur seeking to better understand the demographics of its local clientele to a student completing a project on the role of commerce in our Federal government.

This new Website Data Tool from the Bureau of Economic Analysis makes data more easily accessible to those willing to access it. It is an innovative project that will work along with others to further the Department of Commerce’s mission. 

Sources

  [1] “Mission, Vision, and Values”. 4 Feb., 2013. Retrieved from <http://bea.gov/about/mission.htm>

  [2] Pritzker, Penny. “The Open for Business Agenda.” Department of Commerce, Washington, DC. 14 Nov., 2013. Speech. Retrieved from <http://www.commerce.gov/news/secretary-speeches/2013/11/open-business-agenda>. 

  [3] “BEA International Trade and Investment Country Facts.”  30 June, 2015. Retrieved from <http://www.commerce.gov/sites/commerce.gov/files/media/images/2015/unwieldly.jpg>

  [4] “BEA’s New Data Tool Provides Fast Access to Trade and Investment Stats for Countries.” 27 May, 2015. Blog Post. Retrieved from <http://www.commerce.gov/news/blog/2015/05/beas-new-data-tool-provides-fast-access-trade-and-investment-stats-countries>

  [5] “BEA International Trade and Investment Country Facts.”  30 June,  2015. Retrieved from <http://www.commerce.gov/sites/commerce.gov/files/media/images/2015/unwieldly.jpg>

  [6] “International Factsheet.” 30 June 2015. Database. Retrieved from <http://bea.gov/international/factsheet/>  

  [7] Pritzker, Penny. “The Open for Business Agenda.” Department of Commerce, Washington, DC. 14 Nov., 2013. Speech. Retrieved from <http://www.commerce.gov/news/secretary-speeches/2013/11/open-business-agenda>. 

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