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Public statistics on local economic activity, provided by the US Census Bureau's County Business Patterns (CBP), the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the Federal Reserve System (FRS), and state agencies, provide invaluable guidance to local and national policy makers. Whereas national statistics, such as the Beau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) monthly job report, are reported in a timely manner, local datasets are often published only after long lags. These datasets are also aggregated to coarse geographic areas, which impose practical limitations on their value. For example, as of August 2017, the latest available CBP data were from 2015, aggregated to the zip code level, and much of the zip code data were suppressed for confidentiality reasons. Similarly, the BEA's metropolitan area statistics have limited value to the leaders of smaller communities within a large metropolitan area.


Glaeser, Edward L., Hyunjin Kim, and Michael Luca. "Nowcasting the Local Economy: Using Yelp Data to Measure Economic Activity." Big Data for Twenty-First-Century Economic Statistics. Ed. Katharine G. Abraham , Ron S. Jarmin , Brian C. Moyer and Matthew D. Shapiro. University of Chicago Press, 2022, 249-274.