Director’s Message

In this issue, we present a primer on the methodology used to prepare gross domestic product (GDP) by county statistics for 2001–2018, which were released officially for the first time by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in December. These statistics are the first of their kind to incorporate multiple data sources that capture trends in capital, business receipts, and value of production, along with BEA county earnings data, resulting in a more detailed and accurate picture of local area economies. Building upon the prototype GDP by county measures introduced in late 2018, these new official statistics also significantly extend the time series and industry detail.

In February, President Trump submitted the Budget of the United States Government for Fiscal Year 2021 to Congress. We’ve followed up with an article that translates the President’s budget into a framework consistent with the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs). These estimates can assist users of BEA statistics in understanding the effects of the budget on overall economic activity. The projections will also be used by BEA to develop estimates of federal government transactions for the coming year, including the federal government component of GDP.

As usual, our “GDP and the Economy” article details the second estimates of the NIPAs for the fourth quarter of 2019.

Of final note, this marks my last “Director’s Message” for the Survey of Current Business. After almost 27 years at BEA, nearly 6 of these as its Director, I will be leaving at the end of the month for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where I will serve as Director of the National Center for Health Statistics. BEA Deputy Director Mary Bohman, a seasoned leader who is already shaping BEA for the future, will serve as Acting Director of BEA; you can look forward to hearing from her here starting in April.

As evidenced by the many products presented in the Survey during my tenure, BEA is continually working to enrich your—our data users’—understanding of the economic world in which you operate. From leveraging “big data” to expanding satellite accounts to making more user-friendly products, the Bureau will continue to serve as an innovator in measuring the U.S. economy. BEA has a strong tradition as a world leader in the production and delivery of accurate, objective, and timely economic statistics, and it has been my honor to be part of this tradition for almost three decades.