The earliest economic indicators were developed during the 1930s in response to U.S. policymakers' demand for economic data that could be used to inform and direct policy to cure the nation of the massive depression prevailing at that time (generally known as the Great Depression). Chapter 1 of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis National Income and Product Account (USBEA NIPA) Handbook gives a concise history of the process of development of these indicators during that period. In response to the need for economy-wide indicators, Simon Kuznets and his staff at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and the U.S. Department of Commerce developed several indicators to estimate the national income of the United States. These indicators were later “consolidated” into one single ...

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