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Tech Stats Centralizes Data, Research and Measures Technology’s Impact on Economy

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The U.S. Census Bureau has recently released Tech Stats that will centralize the location of data and research products that focus on advanced technologies, their use, and their impact on the U.S. economy and workforce.

As the availability of data increases, advanced technologies, and particularly those highly reliant on information technology, are increasingly pervasive and integral to business operations. Yet, there are limited publicly available data to help businesses, policymakers and other stakeholders understand the impact of these technologies and make informed decisions.

The Census Bureau aims to provide relevant and timely statistics to data users. Because of this, it consistently evaluates its data products and webpages to ensure that important information about the economy is readily available to the public.

The Census Bureau is engaging external experts in academia and through our advisory groups, industry trade groups, and other statistical agencies to develop new data products that measure which technologies businesses are adopting and using. The Census Bureau is also engaging these experts to collaborate with staff conducting research on the impact of these technologies on business outcomes. In the coming year we will be releasing data that describe the use of robotics, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and other advanced technologies by U.S. businesses. As these new products become available, Tech Stats will serve as a centralized place across our programs to find this data.

Measuring technology adoption and use comes with many challenges. Deciding which technologies should be measured, the timing of when to collect data about a new technology and how often, and appropriately defining the technology and the scope of its use are important and often difficult when developing additions to our survey collections. These challenges mean that we may release some of our technology products as experimental products to allow us to collect important feedback from experts and data users. This in turn may allow us to refine and improve concepts and products, as well as gauge demand and seek support for our new technology products.

Using surveys to collect information about business technology use is just one approach the Census Bureau is taking to measure innovation. The Census Bureau is also leveraging administrative records and other third-party data to the greatest extent possible to minimize respondent burden and save taxpayer money while developing new data products.

The Census Bureau’s mission is to serve as the nation’s leading provider of quality data about its people and its economy. The new data products found at Tech Stats reflect our commitment to this mission.

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