One of CNSTAT’s long-standing goals is the improvement of economic measurement and crucial data sources for that measurement. Over the years, CNSTAT has conducted numerous studies on the impact of economic factors on society, including measurement of gross domestic product, consumer cost-of-living and price indexes, costs of and returns from medical care for population health, productivity in higher education, and patterns of transportation of people and goods. CNSTAT studies have also examined the unique data issues involved when businesses or firms are the unit of measurement. The 2007 CNSTAT report Understanding Business Dynamics: An Integrated Data System for America’s Future explored available data on the births, deaths, expansions, and contractions of firms and establishments. CNSTAT studies have explored portions of the recurring Economic Census, including a review of the Census Bureau’s state and local governments program, and a recent workshop considered alternative classifications of rural areas in order to better understand rural economies and populations.
In October 2016, a CNSTAT panel charged with studying the economic, labor market, and fiscal impacts of immigration issued their comprehensive report, The Economic and Fiscal Impact of Immigration. The report addresses questions about the impacts of immigration on living standards and the macro economy; wages and income of U.S. natives and immigrants, and for different education, skill, and occupation groups; and the effects of immigration on budgets and fiscal health at the federal, state and local levels. The CNSTAT Panel on Reengineering the Census Bureau’s Annual Economic Surveys is currently reviewing the design, operations, and products of the Census Bureau’s suite of annual surveys of retail trade, manufactures, wholesale trade, services, and other economic activities. Another new CNSTAT panel is addressing the definition of farm business structures and the implications for surveys of the farm sector.