Guide to Economic Indicators - 3rd Edition

Article excerpt

Norman Frumkin, Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharp, Inc., 2000, 313pp., $64.95 hardcover, $24.95 paperback

Invariably, for either the occasional or a frequent user of economic statistics, questions will arise about some aspect of a particular series; even the best of us cannot remember everything! Now in its third edition, this handy reference book is a reliable source of useful information about more than seventy economic indicators, mostly those issued by government agencies but also by private organizations as well. In total, just about every series likely to be used in interpreting economic information is covered.

The economic indicators are arranged alphabetically, mostly with accompanying tables that reflect recent trends. Each section contains the following information about each indicator:

1. When and where the data are available, i.e., the originating organization, the publication containing the date the data are available and the time period covered;

2. The content, i.e., the details of the information provided;

3. The methodology of preparation, i.e., from other reports, from surveys, from estimates, derived from other data, etc.;

4. The accuracy of the data, i.e., estimates of sampling error or revisions, or just "no valid estimates;"

5. The relevance of the data in interpreting economic developments; and

6. References from the primary data source, indicating where further information and explanations can be found.

Although the relevance of each series is covered, no comprehensive overview is presented to indicate which series to use for what purpose or which ones are more significant or which are timelier. However, some guidance is provided by a helpful list of thirteen categories that group together those indicators that relate to particular aspects of the economy. …