The BEA News Release Archive

As noted in the corrected version of my article on healthcare spending and first quarter 2014 GDP, I accidentally deleted the Excel workbook that had the data and calculations. Every cloud has a silver lining. In this case I got to learn about the BEA News Release Archive.

As far as I can tell, every BEA press release since at least 2002 is archived here. Once you’ve selected the kind of data you want (Figure 1) and the specifics (Figure 2), the press release appears. Look carefully at the right sidebar and you’ll see a link to Tables Only (Figure 3). That link downloads the entire dataset as a single Excel workbook. You will have to work a bit if you want to reconstruct, say, Table 1.5.6. And the data is in a rather annoying format with some row titles occupying two rows (Figure 4). Those blank rows can be a real pain. Excel thinks <blank> − <blank> = 0.0. I left those blank rows in the workbook just so the data would be consistent across all four worksheets.

BLShistoricalDataMenu1 The BEA News Release Archive

Figure 1


Figure 2 The BEA News Release Archive

Figure 2


Figure 3 The BEA News Release Archive

Figure 3


Figure 4 The BEA News Release Archive

Figure 4


I’ve complained a lot about economic data being provided by the U.S. government. And I’m still quite skeptical of many of the numbers emanating from Washington, D.C. But kudos to the BEA for data transparency.

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About Tony Lima

Retired after teaching economics at California State Univ., East Bay (Hayward, CA). Ph.D., economics, Stanford. Also taught MBA finance at the California University of Management and Technology. Occasionally take on a consulting project if it's interesting. Other interests include wine and technology.

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