OLD Media Moves

Economic data used by journalists is being cut

April 21, 2008

Mark Lieberman, the senior economist for Fox Business Network, reports Monday that the government is cutting the funding that provides local economic data used by many business journalists to write about the economy.

Economics dataLieberman writes, “The government has come up with a novel solution to the steady drumbeat of bad economic news: Reduce funding for the agencies which produce and publish the data.

“’Last year, we were concerned about planned improvements that were not funded,’ said Maureen Haver, who chairs the Statistics Committee of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). ‘This year we are facing the loss of indicators themselves.’

“According to NABE  (Disclosure: I am a member), the Bureau of Labor Statistics has been forced to terminate all hours and earnings data reported for local areas, as well as payroll employment for 65 small metro areas.

“In addition to wiping out some local data, the budget proposal ignores a request for funding to update samples for the housing portion of the consumer price index. Housing represents about 40% of the CPI, which, among other things, is used to determine the annual cost of living increase for Social Security recipients. BLS, which compiles CPI, uses a housing sample based on the 1990 census and has been and will be unable to update its sample due to budgetary constraints.”

Read more here.

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