Books that explain various economic indicators and terms, and how the figures are determined.
Collection and analysis methods differ from one government agency to another, so similarly labeled data may not actually be equivalent. This can especially be a problem when trying to cobble together long time series from multiple sources.
Consult the source's documentation, looking for anything about "methodology." The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes a Handbook of Methods (Also in paper: Perkins Ref. U.S. L 2.3:2490) detailing their statistical concepts, definitions, sources, methods, and procedures.
Repository of empirical datasets from participating US federal agencies.
Statistical Abstract of the United States. 1878-2012. Proquest Statistical Abstract of the U.S. 2013-present
Perkins/Bostock Ref. Desk C 3.134:
Earlier editions also online, and older paper editions in Public Documents Stacks.
Published annually from 1878 to 2012 by the Bureau of the Census, and now by ProQuest. This is a standard national data book for United States statistics. The footnotes also provide a guide to other statistical sources.
Good for long statistical summarized time series relating to the USA, mostly derived from government data, most at the national or state level. Also in paper at Perkins/Bostock Ref. Desk HA202 .H57 2006.
FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data)
A wealth of empirical data on the US economy. Lots of long time series. Also links to Alfred (ArchivaL Federal Reserve Economic Data) and other related collections of Fed data and publications.
NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research)
Datasets available from the NBER or otherwise associated with the NBER research program.
ICPSR (Inter-University Consortium For Political And Social Research) Organization at the University of Michigan that collects data from individual researchers, polling agencies, and and governmental and international agencies. Data is often in ASCII delimited format with documentation such as codebooks and sometimes auxiliary files to use in SPSS or SAS.
Derks, Scott, ed. The Value of a Dollar : Colonial Era to the Civil War, 1600-1865. 2005
Perkins/Bostock HB235.U6 V358 2005 or online
Derks, Scott and Tony Smith, eds. The Value of a Dollar: Prices and Incomes in the United States, 1860-2009. 4th ed., 2009.
Perkins/Bostock HB235.U6 V35 2009 or 3d ed. (2004) online
Divided into time periods which reflect major economic changes in America, then subdivided into following topics: historical snapshot, investments, selected income, standard jobs, food basket, selected prices, and standard prices.
ProQuest Statistical Insight
Indexes US government empirical data sources (as well as state, IGO, and privately published sources). Recent titles often contain the full text online or a link to it. Otherwise, material is in the Perkins Public Documents collection in the ASI microfiche collection or in paper.