Issuance of Publications by the Bureau of Domestic Commerce, Department of Commerce

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-07-13.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                          UWED    STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTBNG
                                    WASHINGTON,    D.C.   20548



        Dear Mr. Secretary:
              We have surveyed the program activities     of the Bureau
        of Domestic Commerce (BDC), Department of Commerce, giving
        primary attention   to the issuance of publications     by BDC.

                During our survey we noted that some of the BDC publica-
        tions contained considerable             information     that duplicated
                                                                        __- ..I      data
        presented in publications          issued by other Government agencies,
        primarily     the Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce.
        For example, duplicative          statistical       information    was presented
        in two BDC publications          entitled      "Construction     Review" and
        "Industry     Profiles."      We believe that cognizant BDC and Census
        officials     should establish        effective    coordination     to eliminate
        the duplication        of published      information.       These publications
        are discussed further         in the following         paragraphs.

                This BDC publication      is a monthly report on the building
        materials     and construction      industries.      We were informed by a
        BDC official      that, in earlier      years, the report had contained
        several articles       of an analytical       nature and had less emphasis
        on statistical      data.    Currently     the monthly report generally
        consists of one feature article            and statistical   data consisting
        of many tables.        For example, the April 1971 issue contains 39
        statistical     tables which make up 90 percent of the content of
        the report.

               Of the tables in this publication,      10 are very similar   to,
        and are based on, statistical      tables published    in three reports
        by Census as part of a series of construction        reports and one
        table is taken from a Census housing report.         An additional   11
        tables are based on other data obtained from Census. We were
        not able to readily    determine whether the latter      data had been
        published    by Census. Source data for eight other tables were
        obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics,        Department of
        Labor, which also had published       the material,  and the data, some
        of which had been published,     for the remaining - nine tables were
        received from various Government agencies and

                                   50 TH ANNWERSARY        1921- 197

        About 4,600 copies of the "Construction               Review" are
printed     monthly,  of which about 1,000 copies             are distributed
without     charge.   The number of copies        of the three Census re-
ports    ranges from 2,700 to 4,200 copies.             BDC estimated         that
its annual direct       cost of preparing      the *'Construction          Review"
for publication      was $84,000,     comprised     primarily        of salaries.
We did not determine         the Government    Printing       Office's     cost
of printing      the publication    or the extent       of its profits,           if
any, from the sale of those copies not distributed                     free of

        We were informed     by BDC officials      that they considered
the "Construction       Review" to be more informative         than the pub-
lications    from which the source data had been obtained              and that
it presented      the information   in a more convenient         manner for
the user because it was available             in a single  report.


        BDC designed      this annual publication     to provide     users of
industrial       data with a convenient      single  source of comparable
general     statistics      for a lo-year   period  on the manufacturing
industries.          BDC estimates   that its annual direct      cost to pre-
pare this publication           is about $10,000.    About 7,500 copies     are
printed     annually.

        Census, once every 5 years,             publishes      an industry      series
of 80 reports        entitled     "Census of Kanufactures"            and in the
interim    years publishes          a report    entitled      "Annual   Survey of
Manufactures"        which is sold as one volume or in separate                    chapters.
The general      statistical        information       in the Census reports          is
identical     to that in the "Industry             Profiles,"      except   that the
"Industry     Profiles"       contains      some industry      averages    and ratios
which are not included            in the Census publications            but could be
computed from the data presented                therein.       The Census reports
also contain      more refined          data which are not included           in the
"Industry     Profiles.*'

        A BDC official  informed  us that the Census reports   were the
source of the basic statistical      data contained   in the BDC pub-
lication;    however,  a user would have to refer   to two or three

Census     reports       to obtain         the data        for a lo-year       period      on a
particular         group     of related         industries.        He also       stated      that
BDC considered           its     publication         to be more convenient              because
it contained          data     for    all    the manufacturing          industries         in a
single     report.


        We believe          that      the preceding            examples      demonstrate          that
there     is a duplication               of information            being     published         by BDC,
Census p and other              Government          agencies.          We believe         also    that,
by a cooperative              effort,        this     duplication,         especially          between
BDC and Census,             could       be avoided         and would       result       in substan-
tial    savings       to the Department                 of Commerce.            This    coordination
should      include       (1) the identification                   of those        publications
which     contain       substantial            duplicative         information,           (2) the
joint     determination             of which        publications          should      be discontinued
or consolidated            with       other      publications,          and. (3) an agreement
on the contributions                  to be made by each of the agencies                          in the
preparation         of those          publications           which     are to be continued.

        We therefore     recommend      that  the Secretary            of Commerce    re-
quire     BDC and Census      to establish      effective          coordination    to
eliminate     the duplication       of published          information.

        Your attention          is invited       to section          236 of the Legisla-
tive    Reorganization          Act of 1970 which             requires      that      you sub-
mit a written         statement        of the action           taken   with    respect       to
the recommendation.               The statement          is to be sent          to the House
and Senate       Committees        on Government           Operations       not later        than
60 days after          the date      of this     report        and to the House and
Senate     Committees       on Appropriations              in connection          with    the first
request     for   appropriations           submitted         by your     agency       more than
60 days after          the date      of this     report.

      We shall      appreciate      being           advised    of the action   taken   on
our recommendation.             We shall           be pleased    to meet with    you or
members    of your      staff    at your           convenience     if you wish   to discuss
this  matter    further       e



             Copies of this report         are being furnished        to the Chair-
    men, House and Senate Committees                 on Government Operations;
    the Chairmen,        House and Senate Committees            on Appropriations;
    the Senate Appropriations             Subcommittee      on Departments      of
    State,     Justice,    and Commerce, the Judiciary,             and Related
    Agencies;       and the Director,        Office    of Management and Budget.
    Copies are also being furnished                 to the Assistant    Secretary
    for Domestic        and International         Business;   the Assistant       Secre-
    tary for Economic Affairs;             the Assistant      Secretary    for Admin-
    istration;       and the Director,        Office     of Audits,   Department      of

                                              Sincerely     yours,

                                              Director,     Civil    Division

     The Honorable
     The Secretary     of Commerce