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The Economy: In One Volume

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Photograph of members of the Council of Economic Advisers and White House staff members working on the President's Midyear Economic Report (1949). This image is available from the National Archives and Records Administration (ARC 200171) and the Truman Library (77-969).

For my first post of February 2011, I wanted to give a heads up for a publication that I find very useful.  Coming out this month from the Council of Economic Advisers is the Economic Report of the President.   This publication, published annually since 1947,  gives an overview of the nation’s economic progress along with extensive data appendices.

I like this publication because it is concise and consistent.  Users can look at the same numbers over time — quite a bit of time in some cases.  My favorite part is the Appendix with its multitudinous statistical tables for the more basic economic indicators.  Here are a few table titles from the 2010 edition:

  • B–1. Gross domestic product, 1960–2009
  • B–16. Personal consumption expenditures, 1960–2009
  • B-28. National income by type of income, 1960-2009
  • B–35. Civilian population and labor force, 1929–2009
  • B–44. Unemployment by duration and reason, 1962–2009
  • B–64. Changes in consumer price indexes for commodities and services, 1933–2009
  • B–73. Bond yields and interest rates, 1929–2009
  • B–79. Federal receipts, outlays, surplus or deficit, and debt, as percent of gross domestic product, fiscal years 1937–2011
  • B–89. Estimated ownership of U.S. Treasury securities, 2000–2009
  • B–91. Corporate profits by industry, 1960–2009
  • B–103. U.S. international transactions, 1946–2009

GPO has digital copies from 1995 to present.  Older copies, which date back to 1947 , have been digitized by the St. Louis Federal Reserve’s FRASER project.

For further research on economic data the Library of Congress collection offers a wealth of options.  For example, you might be interested in  Congress’ Joint Economic Committee’s 1965 publication Measuring the Nation’s Wealth,  Simon Kuznets’ work on national income (this is the foundation of our National Accounts data), and the Special Adviser to the President on Foreign Trade’s  balance of international accounts.

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