National Media – Don’t Trust All of The Hype!
Is the economy in recovery mode? Apparently it depends on which national media source you listen to. This is precisely the problem with most national media sources when it comes to reporting on actionable economic news that can help your business.
First, they typically report on very broad topics and are focused on hitting the hot buttons of the day. In many cases that doesn’t help you, as a small business owner, plan your next business move.
Second, you are relying on someone else’s, often agenda driven, interpretation of the information. And that someone doesn’t know the intricacies of your particular marketplace. They have to keep the news on the economy generic and general to appeal to a wide variety of people.
So rather than rely on generic information interpreted by someone else, consider cutting out the middleman. There are plenty of easily accessible online data sources you can use to quickly do your own research and analysis and determine the right move for your business based on first hand information, interpreted by you.
Consumer Price Index
Did you ever want to figure out what direction prices are moving in your industry or area? You can use The Consumer Price Index to look at prices in your region or get detailed price trends for everything from whole wheat bread to fashion footwear. The index also includes prices for services, so no matter what kind of business you have, chances are prices are listed for your product or service.
Producer Price Index
Are you producing B2B or wholesale products and services? If so, then the Consumer Price Index may not be as good of an economic indicator as the Producer Price Index. This index tracks the prices of raw materials, energy inputs and manufacturing prices.
Wondering how much to pay your new employees? Take a look at the Wages by Area and Occupation Report which breaks down wage information by metropolitan area and SIC codes.
Consumer Expenditure Survey
While nothing can come close to the value of first hand research from your own customers, this Consumer Expenditure Survey can help you plan new products and identify consumer trends. This survey covers overall information on consumer buying habits, their expenditures and their income.
Personal income data can help you determine the spending capacity of your customers and identify income trends in your specific marketplace. You can get very specific information here as this personal income data is available on a state and local level.
Gross Domestic Product
GDP is a great tool to get a big picture view of the economic health of both national and local trends. This data, combined with all of the other items we’ve covered, will give you your own holistic view of the economy.
With a little research, you can look at the data that matters most to your business and direct your own business decisions accordingly.
What other statistics do you use to guide your business decisions? Comment here to share your thoughts.