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Improving Data Collection for Effectiveness of Economic Policies in the U.S.

The United States needs a more coherent national advanced technology strategy to develop policies to promote competition, growth and opportunity. Effectively crafting and implementing such a strategy requires the right kind of economic data. Better data collection can help identify weaknesses in U.S. competitiveness that policies can address, and it can help evaluate the effectiveness of those policies, according to a report published by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

To get that better data, however, a better way of collecting it necessary. In a pre-digital world, it made sense to rely solely on surveys. But now that a much larger share of data is already in digital form, government statistical agencies need to focus more on IT modernisation and directly linking through application programming interfaces (APIs) to private databases.

Another way to get better data is by standardising and linking unemployment and insurance wage claims records and adding information to them. That would let the Bureau of Labour Statistics reduce or eliminate two of its wage surveys and make many products more granular, timely and accurate, the report states. New data fields that should be added to unemployment insurance wage records include work location, job title, hours and demographics.

Government agencies should work together to better link administrative records such as tax, unemployment insurance and pollution, but the private and public sectors also should work together to ensure interoperable and consistent recordkeeping. When input data is more consistent, statistics based on it will be more accurate and useful for combining across statistical agencies and for business benchmarking. Ideally, this effort would be international, working with the International Standards Organisation.

U.S. data gaps are the result of several factors, such as funding. Years of tightening budgets have led to fewer resources for effectively measuring key elements of the economy. An effective national industrial and technology strategy requires disaggregated data that can accurately reflect state and local differences. Accurate data is necessary to inform not only federal policymakers, but also state and local officials, as all states and many localities have their own economic development programs.

For example, data based on congressional districts would help agencies understand regional economies better than data based on state boundaries. It is important because economies are not always defined by state lines. For instance, economic factors in Washington, D.C., extend into neighbouring Virginia and Maryland.

A second issue is international statistics — specifically, the fact that the nation’s statistical system was designed around collecting stats on businesses in the U.S. Now that the economy is increasingly global, more fine-grained international data is needed.

ITIF suggests several data improvements:

  • A better price input index because it is currently hard to measure productivity in internationally traded sectors without the government distinguishing between price and quality. The lack of data distorts gross domestic product figures.
  • High-quality international comparisons of the labour force, productivity, hourly compensation and prices for many industrialised countries.
  • Industry data that is comparable to other nations’ by transitioning from the North American Industrial Classification System to the International Standard Classification System.
  • National statistics, particularly data on a variety of technologies, including use of cloud, robotics, artificial intelligence and internet of things; how goods are produced and services performed; supply chains; and investments in research and development.

No companies make strategic or tactical decisions without thorough data on revenues, costs, and their competitive landscapes. Yet, people expect policymakers to build economic, technology and competitiveness policy on a shaky foundation of limited and often outdated data. At present Congress needs to make a major investment in upgrading, expanding, and modernising the nation’s economic statistical system.

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and consulting services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,800 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service. For more information, visit www.ibm.com