Commerce Issues

OCG-93-12TR: Published: Dec 1, 1992. Publicly Released: Dec 1, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO summarized information on federal commerce issues, focusing on the Department of Commerce's: (1) role in competitiveness issues; (2) infrastructure investment requirements and mission effectiveness; (3) improvement of its economic statistics; and (4) planning of a more accurate, less costly 2000 Census.

GAO noted that: (1) the current federal structure may not facilitate productivity and competitiveness improvement; (2) Commerce lacks the prominence, resources, and a clear strategy to significantly affect competitive improvement; (3) Commerce estimates that it needs investments totalling $7.4 billion to repair its deteriorating infrastructure; (4) a decentralized statistical system and a lack of leadership and coordination have resulted in a lack of reliable data on which Commerce could base policy; (5) the 1990 census contained 14.1 million errors, cost 25 percent more than the 1980 census, and continued the trend of steady decline in census accuracy; and (6) Commerce needs to decide on the content of the questionnaire, whether to use sampling, and to improve the address list and geographic information.

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