The U.S. Census Bureau is putting real-time economic statistics into the hands of Americans via a new mobile application called “America’s Economy.”
The new application, released today, will provide constantly updated statistics on the U.S. economy, including monthly economic indicators, trends, along with a schedule of upcoming announcements, according to Census officials.
Users will be able to set alerts to receive notifications when economic indicators are updated. They can also add statistical release schedules to their personal calendars. When each indicator is released, users can also share the news on both Facebook and Twitter.
America’s Economy is the first mobile app the Census Bureau has made available to the public. The app is currently available for Android mobile device users and is expected to be available for Apple smartphone and tablet users in the coming weeks.
That’s in part because it easier to roll out a new application and incorporate user feedback within the Android user community than it is with Apple’s more stringent App Store requirements, Stephen Buckner, director for the Census Bureaus Center for New Media and Promotions, told Breaking Gov.
The new app is expected to be of particular interest to those involved with business hiring, sales and production decisions, researchers, planners and policymakers. The economic indicators track monthly and quarterly trends in industries, such as employment, housing construction, international trade, personal income, retail sales and manufacturing.
But the app is just one part of a broader effort tied to the Census Bureau’s Web Transformation Project which among other initiatives is trying to make as many as 5 million pages of Census data available to the public via the Web.
Buckner said that the Census Bureau just last month released a new application programming interface (API) aimed at developers looking to pull data from both 2010 Census and American Community Survey statistics. The data, available for every neighborhood in the US can be used for creating all kinds of localized information tools and services for the public.
In the two weeks since the API became available, more than 1,000 developers had applied to use the API and requested some 10 million data calls, Buckner said.
America’s Economy is the first of three planned apps from the Census Bureau that will be made available over the next several months.
“The release of this app is an example of our commitment to giving taxpayers faster and easier access to the statistics we produce, including the Economic Census, that impact the lives of all Americans,” said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves.
Census officials said the following 16 key economic indicators will be available as part of the initial release of the app:
- Advance Monthly Retail Sales
- New Residential Construction
- New Residential Sales
- Construction Spending
- International Trade
- Advance Report Durable Goods
- Business Inventories
- Manufacturers’ Goods
- Monthly Wholesale
- Homeownership Rate
- Quarterly Services Survey
- QFR – Retail Trade
- QFR – Manufacturing
Bureau of Economic Analysis:
- Gross Domestic Product
- Personal Income and Outlays
Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Unemployment Rate