Government documents are a mainstay of economic research (see the websites tab). Here are some things to notice/note when reading government reports:
1. Time Span Covered- If the report is published monthly or quarterly, you may get a better notion of the state of the economy by reviewing several months of data.
2. Revisions- When month-to-month changes are reported, it is not often mentioned that the past two or three month's data were revised. Review revisions for significance and patterns.
3. Seasonal Adjustments- It pays to note whether data is being reported on a seasonally adjusted basis or year-over-year basis.
Mennis, E.A. (1999). How the economy works: An investor's guide to tracking the economy (2nd ed.). New York: New York Institute of Finance.
So many resources, so little time.
1. If you know nothing and are just getting started, I recommend starting with the database, CountryWatch. (Find the link under the Databases/Articles tab). It provides basic, overall information.
2. The United States government provides lots of economic data. Check out the websites tab to link to some of those sites.
3. If you need further clarification of an economic concept, try finding an article that discusses it. The databases are good places to go for that. Consider searching through Business Source Complete, EconLit, or Factiva.
4. Ask me. I'll be happy to either help you get started or help you find a specific piece of information you are needing. Really- helping you is my favorite part of this job.