There is a guy that does a fairly interesting look at the official statistics released by the US Government over at Shadow Government Statistics. He has taken the official releases, documents, disclosures, and footnotes, and figured out what all the real values would be for the US economic statistics without the adjustments that have become common in the last 10 years. (Both hedonistic and opportunistic adjustments).

Here’s a quote from the site:

Have you ever wondered why the CPI, GDP and employment numbers run counter to your personal and business experiences? The problem lies in biased and often-manipulated government reporting. We offer an expos? of the problems within the reporting system, and an assessment of underlying economic reality…

The most recent 6 months of commentary are for subscribers only, but there are excerpts posted for each month that give you the flavor of the commentary without having to subscribe. In addition to that, there are 5 “Primer” articles that should be read to understand what he’s really analyzing and how the government issued releases have changed over the last decade or so…

I highly recommend reading the 5 primer articles, especially if you try to derrive meaning from the official statistics being published by the US government.

One of my favorite quotes (from primer article 4 on GDP):

Near the end of the first Bush administration, an outside-the-system manipulation was worked. A senior member of the Executive Branch approached a senior officer of a large computer company and requested that reporting of computer sales to the BEA be inflated. This was done specifically to help with the reelection effort. The request was granted, and thanks to the heavy leverage of computer deflation, reported GDP growth enjoyed an artificial spike.