May 13, 2024
Photo of Vipin Arora
BEA's Buffet of Data Infographic

A blog post from BEA Director Vipin Arora

At BEA we often highlight the comprehensiveness of our statistics. I like to illustrate using the analogy of my favorite Las Vegas dessert buffet. This buffet has an endless variety of desserts: from apple strudel to upside-down cake, there is something for everyone. I would argue our statistics are comprehensive in the same way—there is something for every data user.

Our national economic statistics are probably the most widely used. They provide a comprehensive view of U.S. production, consumption, investment, exports and imports, and income and saving. These statistics are best known by measures such as gross domestic product, corporate profits, personal income, consumer spending, and personal saving.

The industry statistics narrow in on a different aspect of the economy to provide a detailed view across industries. These estimates are used extensively by policymakers and businesses to understand industry interactions, productivity trends, and the changing structure of the U.S. economy.

Our regional economic statistics shift the lens to focus on the geographic distribution of U.S. economic activity and growth. The estimates of gross domestic product and personal income by state and local areas, and the accompanying detail, provide a way to analyze individual state and local area economies. Consumer spending by state offers insights into shoppers' behaviors and their impact on state economies.

Our international statistics focus on economic transactions with other countries and provide information on trade in goods and services, investment income, and financial flows. They also measure the value of U.S. international assets and liabilities and direct investment by multinational enterprises.

Just like I can't try every piece of cake on my favorite buffet in one sitting, I can't summarize the breadth and scope of all our statistics in this one blog post. So, I would encourage you to sample the different statistics on our website—I am pretty sure once you get a taste you'll be back for more.