U.S. Data Sources

What's on this page:

Primary Sources Secondary Sources
Primary sources are responsible for collecting and maintaining up-to-date data. However, the usual raw tabular formats are hard to read or use. Primary sources also are the places to go for exact definitions and measurement techniques. Secondary sources repackage primary-source data to offer increased selectability, usability, and speed of delivery. Numbers Now! is the place to go if you are looking for concise current facts this minute!
See also the U.S. Government's overall website, FirstGov for an ambitious organized set of links to government agencies and services, both federal and state.

Primary Sources

Government and private agencies collecting and maintaining raw data series
Income, output, savings, investment, balance of payments, etc. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) Tables with National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA), Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and components, associated international and regional data. For more usable formats for statistical work, see FRED and many of the Secondary Sources.
Employment, prices, productivity Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Employment, labor force, unemployment, Consumer Price Index (CPI) and producer price index (PPI), productivity, regional components, and much more. Specific series can be selected relatively easily for use. See also: Economy at a Glance (BLS) in Secondary Sources below.
Government budget, spending, revenue Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Current Federal spending, revenue, budget, and projections as prepared by the Congress. Table format.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Current Federal spending, revenue, budget, and projections as prepared by the White House. Worksheet formats are downloadable. Selection of simple definitions and explanations of these data.
Money supply, interest rates Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED), St. Louis Fed Monetary aggregates, interest rates, commercial bank data, exchange rates; plus collected employment, fiscal, price data; GDP, balance of payments; regional data; and more. Data in download, usable formats. Daily and monthly data where available. Many series go back through the 1960s; a few go as far back as the early 1900s. Hundreds of series.
Federal Reserve Releases Daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly current releases of interest rates and monetary aggregates in table format.
New York Fed's Statistics and Data Exchange rates, monetary aggregates, interest rates, and more.
Historical Data NBER's Macro-Historical Database Pre-WWI and Interwar data from the U.S. plus some from the U.K., France, and Germany. Income, employment, price data, money supplies, interest rates, stocks, savings, investment, government budget and finance, foreign trade, and more. Each series in ASCII format, usable in statistical packages. See also the NBER's business cycle reference dates in table format.
Statistical Abstract of the United States Census Bureau book in full, in pdf files. Population, state, local, federal government data, historical data, charts, and more. Table format.
Population Census Bureau Regional census data in table format; charts, maps. Promises of more to come.
Consumer Surveys Surveys of Consumers, U. of Michigan Survey of consumer expectations. Monthly and quarterly data, selectable table formats.

Secondary Sources

Government and private sites culling data from primary sources for presentation with analysis, graphs, or for export to statistical packages
Numbers Now!
Overviews, charts, summary tables, frequently-watched new data releases delivering the most recent data.
Economy at a Glance (BLS) Charts and tables for recent labor force, employment, price series (CPI and PPI), etc. prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also: Regional economies by state, and statistics by industry. Nicely organized table option allows you to create custom historical tables.
Economic Indicators: Tables and weighted averages focussing on assessing current economic conditions. Economic Indicators (Joint Economic Committee by the Council of Economic Advisors) Tables and charts of Economic Indicators as prepared by the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).
The Conference Board (TCB) Computation of indexes of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) and Business Cycle Indicators (BCI) plus various consumer surveys. NBER's business cycle reference dates in table format.
Selectable Large Data Bases: Collections allowing the user to select individual macroeconomic and regional data series Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED), St. Louis Fed Hundreds of series in usable formats, from money supply to interest rates to national income to prices. Data series and endpoints can be chosen by the user.
NBER's Macro-Historical Database Pre-WWI and Interwar data from the U.S. plus some from the U.K., France, and Germany. Many series, each in ASCII format, usable in statistical packages.
Regional Economic Accounts (BEA) Quarterly state personal income statistics
Tabular Large Data Bases: Collections summarizing data in table formats. Economic Report of the President (ERP) Summaries and tables of the widely used Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) annual reports, summarizing annual data since the 1950s or earlier, as available. ASCII files, table format, at the ends of each volume. For the complete texts in pdf and ASCII files, 1996-present, see also the Government Printing Office.. For text of still earlier editions, check out gopher: ERP, 1992-94 .
Statistical Abstract of the United States Census Bureau book in full, in pdf files. Population, state, local, federal government data, historical data, charts, and more. Table format. See also primary sources.
EconStats Extensive, well-organized collection of the most widely-used data sets produced by many agencies, U.S. and non-U.S. Some series in downloadable spreadsheet format.
U.S. State Department Country Notes Background facts by country. Online quick reference with national facts, population, history synopsis, GDP, etc.
CIA World Factbook Background facts and maps by country. Online reference with national facts, population, history synopsis, GDP, etc.
Econ Data & Links Clear, thorough site with many current U.S. and international economic facts, plus direct links to the pages where the data came from. Facts broken out into M1, M2, specific price series and deflators, nominal and real GDP, etc. Maintained by John A. Shaw.
Fee-based Large Data Base Collections Haver Analytics Fee-based. Broad coverage, many series.
Stat-USA (Dept. of Commerce) Fee-based. Current government releases and longer data series.