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U.S. Economic Data: Handbooks & Compilations

Sources for statistical data from the United States federal government.

Handbooks & Compilations

These sources all provide broad collections of economic data and are generally easy to use. The most comprehensive sources--Statistical Abstract and Historical Statistics of the U.S.--are listed first, followed by the rest in alphabetical order.

Statistical Abstract of the United States
Good place to start for numeric data from the Federal Government. Sources for each table are given in footnotes, so the book can be used as an index to more in-depth sources. The paper version is generally easier to use than the PDF format on CD-ROM and the web.

  • Paper: [Call numbers/holdings]. Most recent editions shelved in Docs. Ref. Others shelved in Docs. US stacks. The collection extends from 1879 through 2012, with only a few gaps.
  • CD-ROM: [Call numbers/holdings]. Reproduces the paper publication in PDF format, and includes spreadsheet files of all the tables in Excel and Lotus formats, usually containing additional information.
  • Internet: Statistical Abstract of the United States. 1995-present editions available in PDF format.

Historical Statistics of the United States, Earliest Times to the Present
Published originally by the U.S. Census Bureau as a supplement to the Statistical Abstract, and now updated by Cambridge Univeristy Press, Historical Statistics brings together data from numerous government and private sources. Tabular data and text references to other sources.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Data
See especially Most Requested Series.

Business Statistics of the United States
[Call numbers/holdings]. Privately published by Bernan Press, this book consists primarily of data from the Federal Government, supplemented by private sources. Annual time series up to 30 years plus selected monthly data.

Census Bureau Business and Industry
This page provides a gateway in to the economic data collection available on the Census Bureau's web site.

County Business Patterns

    • Paper: [Call numbers/holdings]. Separate annual reports for each state.
    • CD-ROM: [Call numbers/holdings]. Two-year compilations issued annually beginning with 1986-87. Data down to 4-digit SIC.
    • Internet: County Business Patterns. National, state and county profiles available for 1993-01. National, state, and county-level data for 1988-95 can also be downloaded in comma-delimited text format.
    • Internet: University of Virginia Geospatial and Statistical Data Center (GEOSTAT). Data from 1977-1995 for 2-digit SIC provided through a web form interface by the Output available as browsable HTML tables or comma-delimited text retrievable by anonymous FTP. Codebooks and variable list included.

Economic Indicators
Prepared monthly for the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress by the Council of Economic Advisors.

Economic Report of the President
Prepared annually by the Council of Economic Advisors, the Report is transmitted to Congress by the President. Numerous tables and charts are included in the text in addition to a substantial statistical appendix, with time series often dating back to the 1940's.

  • Paper: [Call numbers/holdings].
  • Internet: GPO Access. Reports from 1996 to present are searchable online. Reports from 1995 to present may be downloaded in PDF format. Statistical tables from 1997 to present are available in spreadsheet formats. .

Handbook of Labor Statistics 1975: Reference Edition [Bureau of Labor Statistics, with data 1947-1974]
Reference U.S. L 2.3/5:989
Handbook of U.S. Labor Statistics
[Bernan Press, 1997- ]
[Call numbers/holdings]
Both volumes contain numerous tables and time-series of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

State Profile: North Carolina
[Call numbers/holdings]. Compiled and published by Woods & Poole Economics, Inc., this book tabulates basic economic statistics for the U.S., regions, the state of North Carolina, as well as counties and metropolitan areas within the state.

Survey of Current Business
Monthly publication from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Includes topical articles and tabular data.

  • Paper: [Call numbers/holdings]. Most recent issues shelved by title in Current Periodicals section. For a compilation of data published in the Survey, see Business Statistics, 1963-91 (Docs. Ref. Desk C 59.11/3:992).
  • Internet: Survey of Current Business. .
  • CD-ROM: [Call numbers/holdings]. Current year plus selected articles from previous years back to 1987 (PDF format).
Historical Census Browser
From the University of Virginia, this contains many of the key variables from the decennial U.S. Census, at national, state, or county level of aggregation.  Presenting web-browsable (not downloadable) data from 1790-1960.