Census offers real-time peeks into economy

The Census Bureau has rolled out its first-ever mobile app that will provide citizens with real-time updates on how the economy is doing.

America's Economy will provide statistics on the U.S. economy, including monthly financial indicators, trends and a schedule of upcoming announcements. Currently available for Android mobile device users, the app pools data from several agencies, including the Census Bureau itself and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The launch marks the first time a mobile app provides smart phone and tablet users with the real-time government statistics that drive business hiring, sales and production decisions. It can assist economists, researchers, planners and policymakers, a Census spokesperson said. The economic indicators track monthly and quarterly trends in industries, such as employment, housing construction, international trade, personal income, retail sales and manufacturing.

The app is part of the federal digital government strategy launched nearly three months ago by federal CIO Steven VanRoekel. A key focus of the framework is to deliver information in a mobile-friendly way to make it easier for the public to access government information and data.

All agencies have until May 2013 to identify at least two customer-facing services they can adapt for mobile use. Currently, most government apps are featured on USA.gov, which hosts an app gallery with free apps, ranging in categories from health and business to education and news.

The Census Bureau has plans to release two more apps over the next months, with each being available for both Apple and Android smart phones. A public affairs officer told FCW there are currently no further details about what those future apps will entail.

Check out a review of the Census App here by FCW's sister publication, Government Computer News.

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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