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New Commerce Report Explores the Value of Government Data

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Monday, July 14th 2014
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New Commerce Report Explores the Value of Government Data

Small Investment Yields Major Returns: Fostering Innovation, Creating Jobs, Driving Better Decisions

Washington, D.C. – July 14, 2014 – The Department of Commerce’s Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) released a new report today, entitled “Fostering Innovation, Creating Jobs, Driving Better Decisions: The Value of Government Data”, exploring the huge benefits from a relatively small investment in our nation’s statistical agencies.  These agencies collect, process, compile, and analyze data from throughout our society to produce and disseminate valuable government data.

“Secretary Pritzker’s “Open for Business Agenda,” has set the Commerce Department on course to make government data more accessible or ‘open’ – to improve government, business, and community decisions,” said Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, Dr. Mark Doms.  “Our society increasingly depends on the intelligent use of government data, whether making our businesses more competitive, our governments smarter, or our citizens better informed. Government data provides a roadmap and a tool for state, local and federal governments to invest more wisely, and for U.S. companies to maintain their innovative, competitive advantage.”

Key highlights of the new report include:

  • Government data guides trillions of dollars of investments each year, by local, state, and federal governments, households, institutions, and private companies;
  • Firms that intensively use the statistical agencies’ data (costing only 3 cents per person, per day) combine it with other government and private sector data to create between $24 billion and $221 billion in annual revenues. 
  • Government data is uniquely comprehensive, consistent, credible, relevant, and accessible, all while protecting confidentiality.

This new, ESA-led report, developed by the Office of the Chief Economist, identifies the industries that intensively use government-provided data to make innovative products, create jobs, and make sound financial decisions about their businesses.  The report demonstrates in real-world examples, how individuals, businesses, and governments use federal data to make informed decisions that are better, faster, and more plentiful because of the ready availability and high quality of Government data. 

Examples of federal statistical data include: gross domestic product, employment and unemployment, consumer prices, retail sales, housing vacancies, residential construction, agricultural supply and demand, corporate profits, and international trade - among hundreds of other data sets.

Under Secretary Doms further commented, “This report takes a first crack at putting an actual dollars and cents value to government data. We’ve learned a lot from this initial study, and look forward to honing in even further on that figure in our next report.”

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