Atkinson cites years of budget cuts to federal economic data agencies and a disregard of the need for sectoral and firm-level economic data to inform an industrial strategy as part of the challenge facing the country’s national statistical system. A better data system will also be necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of new technology and industry policies and programs, the report states.
Atkinson advocates for Congress to make a one-time appropriation to modernize and expand the current federal system, and then it should increase annual funding on an ongoing bases. Data gaps currently exist in subnational data, international statistics and national statistics. In addition to expanding funding for economic statistics, he also calls for speedier publication of data collection results as opposed to the years it may currently take on some sources, and modernization in the methods of data collection. The full report, Federal Statistical Needs for a National Advanced Industry and Technology Strategy, is available here.