DEFINITION of Bureau of Economic Analysis - BEA

The Bureau of Economic Analysis is a division of the U.S. federal government's Department of Commerce that is responsible for the analysis and reporting of economic data used to confirm and predict economic trends and business cycles. Reports from the Bureau of Economic Analysis are the foundation upon which many economic policy decisions are made by government, and many investment decisions are made in the private sector by companies and individual investors.

BREAKING DOWN Bureau of Economic Analysis - BEA

Among the most influential statistics analyzed and reported by the BEA are the gross domestic product data and the balance of trade for the United States. The BEA uses data collected at local, state, federal and international levels. Furthermore, the BEA collects data on foreign direct and indirect investment in the U.S. and on individual industries that operate around the globe.

What The BEA Does

The Bureau of Economic Analysis says its mission is to promote a better understanding of the U.S. economy by providing the most timely, relevant, and accurate economic accounts data in an objective and cost-effective manner.

"BEA produces economic accounts statistics that enable government and business decision-makers, researchers, and the American public to follow and understand the performance of the Nation's economy. To do this, BEA collects source data, conducts research and analysis, develops and implements estimation methodologies, and disseminates statistics to the public.

BEA is one of the world's leading statistical agencies. Although it is a relatively small agency, BEA produces some of the most closely watched economic statistics that influence the decisions made by government officials, business people, households, and individuals. BEA's economic statistics, which provide a comprehensive, up-to-date picture of the U.S. economy, are key ingredients in critical decisions affecting monetary policy, tax and budget projections, and business investment plans. The cornerstone of BEA's statistics is the national income and product accounts (NIPAs), which feature the estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) and related measures."

The GDP report is one of the BEA's most crucial outputs. Gross domestic product (GDP) is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period. Though GDP is usually calculated on an annual basis, it can be calculated on a quarterly basis as well (in the United States, for example, the government releases an annualized GDP estimate for each quarter and also for an entire year).

The GDP reports are frequently readjusted for previous quarters after new factors are taken into account.