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Economic Census at Risk

Congress is proposing cuts to the Census Bureau budget that would result in cancelling the next economic census.

  • Census Confronts Budget Ax, By Ben Casselman, Wall Street Journal, (October 31, 2011).

    Economists warned that cutting the measure would rob policy makers of crucial information. “If you’re trying to figure out what policy measures America should be taking right now to promote job growth for families and workers, without data sets like the 2012 economic census it’s going to be a lot harder to do,” said Matthew Slaughter, a professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and a former member of President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers.

    …Conducted in various forms since the early 19th century, the economic census surveys roughly five million American businesses about their revenue, expenses, number and type of workers, and other information. The census data provide the framework for a swath of other economic measures, from inflation to industrial production to the gross domestic product, that are based on monthly or quarterly surveys. Because those surveys are far smaller than the Economic Census, they become less accurate over time unless recalibrated based on new census data.

  • Census Chiefs: Cuts Will Leave Nation Flying Blind In Bad Economy, by Michael McAuliff, Huffington Post, (Oct. 27, 2011).

    Six of the last seven directors of the U.S. Census Bureau fear proposed cuts to the bureau’s budget will blind the nation’s financial experts. They’re urging congressional leaders to reconsider reductions that could end the gathering of crucial economic data for the first time in 200 years.

Hat tip to Kevin Taglang!

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