Chronicling 100 Years of the U.S. Economy

August 2020
Volume 100, Number 8

An Emerging Source of Growth in Business Statistics

A Look Back at the 100th Issue of the Survey of Current Business

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The 100th issue of the Survey of Current Business, published in December 1929, reflected on the Survey's growth, particularly growth in its coverage of U.S. business statistics. In an introductory note from the editors to commemorate this 100th numbered edition, they stated, “In 1921 this publication carried data on about 200 individual statistical series, the most of which had very little historical background. With this number there are more than 1,800 individual series, each of which has considerable history for comparative purposes.”

At the time, the Survey was called the “clearing house of business statistics,” bringing together current reports on business activities issued by the Bureau (then the Bureau of the Census), other government agencies, and private organizations, including trade associations, covering over 240 commodities.

The 100th issue also included weekly supplements—weekly business indicators republished in each monthly Survey with “the realization that current statistics are highly perishable and to be of use they must reach the business man at the earliest possible moment.”

The phenomenal growth experienced over just 100 issues sets the tone almost 100 years later for an organization that now produces millions of official data points—national, regional, industry, and international—used by business leaders, policymakers, and the public to make informed decisions.

Join the Bureau of Economic Analysis as we look back at the Survey of Current Business No. 100.