National accounts are an indispensable set of tools for economic monitoring.
They provide a comprehensive quantitative picture of economic development. National accounts consist of domestic product calculation, input-output accounts, national wealth accounts, employment accounts, labour volume accounts and financial accounts.
National accounts data are used to check whether the targets of the Stability and Growth Pact "EU Stability Pact" are met.
The German economy is largely characterised by small and medium-sized enterprises. They include the majority of craft enterprises.
Data on the number and structure of enterprises come from the business register. It is based on administrative sources, so that avoidable data collection burdens on enterprises are reduced. The business register is also used to obtain information on foreign-controlled enterprises. This allows, among other things, monitoring the world market influence on globally interconnected enterprises in the domestic territory.
The statistics of business notifications provide information on business start-ups and closures. Shut-downs are particularly dramatic where they involve an insolvency.
Labour force participation plays a central part in our society, and with its functions of securing a livelihood, assigning the individual a position within the structure of the society, for economic growth and welfare it comes into the picture in many areas. There is as much diversity in official labour market statistics and its sources.
The data basis for persons in employment is employment accounts. They are compiled as part of national accounts on the basis of all major employment statistics sources, especially the statistics of employees subject to social insurance contributions, the microcensus, the statistics of public service personnel and the statistics on economic sectors. Another central set of statistics is the monthly labour market statistics according to the ILO concept (concept of the International Labour Organization).
The statistics of registered unemployed, which are a focus of public interest, are compiled by the Federal Employment Agency. The data are produced in the context of job placement activities and services provided to unemployed people and short-time workers.
For many people, earnings are the most important part of their income. Earnings are labour income regularly received by employees for their activity. For employers, the earnings of employees are costs. Earnings, together with non-wage costs, are labour costs. So the data on earnings and labour costs also provide insight into the cost situation of businesses and its change and, consequently, they are a major information basis, for example, for short-term economic analysis and monetary policy.
The price indices of official statistics play a major role in assessing the economic development. The consumer price index is a central indicator of monetary stability in Germany. Also, price indices are used to calculate real economic growth. In its international version – the harmonised index of consumer prices – it is applied, for instance, by the European Central Bank to assess inflation in Germany.
Contrary to producer price indices, the consumer price index is an index of purchase prices. The indices of selling prices include the indices of producer prices for agricultural and industrial products, the index of export prices and the price indices for new construction and maintenance.
In official price statistics, absolute average prices in euros are calculated only as purchase values of building land or agricultural land and of energy sources. As the main function of price statistics is the presentation of price development over time, the results are generally shown as relatives or indices.
The German economy is heavily oriented towards exports and, consequently, dependent on exports. At the same time, however, as Germany does not have many raw materials, it also depends on imports, especially in the energy sector (mineral oil, natural gas).
Foreign trade statistics deal with the cross-border trading of goods. Major survey variables are the direction of trade, that is, imports or exports, the type of goods and the partner country. The development of foreign trade data shows what goods and trading partners gain or lose in importance.
In order to live, people use nature. They shape it and they consume it. They cultivate areas, extract raw materials, use and pollute water and the air. This raises the question of how sustainable human action is. Do people consume nature in a way that something will be left for their descendants?
Many data from environmental surveys and environmental-economic accounting provide valuable information for assessing what the condition of individual environmental areas is like and how we deal with environmental resources.
© Statistisches Bundesamt, Wiesbaden 2014