By Ranada Robinson, Senior Project Associate.
In today’s smartphone dependent world, there’s an iPhone and Android
“app” for everything from Facebook to the post office, from games to
meeting facilitation. Now, economic developers have an application
specifically for their data needs. Earlier this month, the U.S. Census
Bureau rolled out a free Android mobile app
(the iOS version is coming soon) that allows users to quickly gain
information from the Census, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the
Bureau of Labor Statistics. In its first phase of three, the app
provides access to the latest data for 16 indicators, including several
that Market Street keeps track of: unemployment rate, homeownership
rate, new residential sales, and personal income. The coolest feature
for this researcher is that users can set alerts to be notified when
indicators are updated. Users are also able to view graphs illustrating
historical trends for the indicators.
Future phases will include statistics from the consumer and producer
price indices as well as population statistics. I’m hoping that at least
state level data will be available in the future, if not for metro
areas. In either case, I’m happy to see our federal government making
steps to make data more easily accessible to American citizens. With
smartphone access, if an indicator is updated the same day as a
presentation, researchers can be in the know without opening and logging
on to their laptops. This app is sure to become one of my favorites.