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Shutdown closes Federal databases, but you may have some alternatives

This post was put together with a huge assist from Reynolds’ web developer Mark Ng.

For business journalists who aren’t covering the government shutdown or Obamacare and need government data, you may be out of luck.

In general, new data is not being collected during the shutdown. Historic data is available on most government websites, but some high-use sites have been closed altogether.


Some sites that have closed redirect users to a list of agency contingencies Ars Technica is also keeping a running list which includes official statements.  |  The journalists and technologists at the Sunlight Foundation are also monitoring our data sources and are posting updated tips and info here: Sunlight Foundation – Shutdown | PolicyMap.com also has data from many agencies including the Census Bureau. 

Closed as of early Oct. 1: Both the Bureau of Economic Analysis and U.S. Census Bureau sites are closed completely. The BEA offers this message: “Due to the lapse in government funding, www.bea.gov will be unavailable until further notice. This includes access to all data and the e-File system. We sincerely regret this inconvenience.”   More on the BEA shutdown here (PDF).

The Census Bureau announcement says: “Due to the lapse in government funding, census.gov sites, services, and all online survey collection requests will be unavailable until further notice. Updates regarding government operating status and resumption of normal operations can be found at <usa.gov>.”

All census.gov hosted websites are Census Bureau websites are closed:


Alternatives for journalists looking for U.S. Census data during the shutdown are:


U.S. Food and Drug Administration:  Site was up early on Oct. 1, but closed by noon and began showing a note asking for patience once the shutdown is over.  “Please allow some time for this website to become available again.”

EDGAR: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s search tools are still working.  SEC announced its plan of operations (PDF) before the shutdown.  “During the period in which there is a lapse in appropriations, the Committee will periodically reassess the agency’s functions that need to be maintained, and may amend its designation of those excepted from furlough to increase, decrease, or change those so designated”.

HUD: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development site is still up, but there is a warning about no data will be updated.

PACER: Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) is up and running.  If that changes, RecaptheLaw.org  is an incomplete, user sourced (thus should be treated with caution) alternative.

IRS: While the Internal Revenue Service site is working, operations are limited. And the IRS is quick to remind us all that “the underlying tax law remains in effect and taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations.”

USA.gov: This overarching federal government site will lead you to an update on the status of government services.

USA.gov/Business:  Some business data is still available from this business section on USA.gov.

FRED: Federal Reserve Economic Data  data is available but will not be updated due to government shutdown. The site states: “Effective September 30th, 2013, the United States federal government may suspend updates of some data series. We will monitor the situation and update the series in the FRED database as soon as new data are made available.” should be borne in mind. As of now, affected releases will be Construction Spending report.”

DOL: Dept of Labor  data is available but site is not being updated.

FAA : The main U.S. Federal Aviation Administration site is up. And  FAA aircraft inquiry database is working.

FBO.govFederal Business Opportunities database us up and searchable. Thanks to Bloomberg’s Danielle Ivory for pointing that out.

FPDS.gov: Federal Procurement Data System is also working.  Another hat tip to Danielle.

VA:  Veterans data/statistics still available at Department of Veterans Affairs.

If you have any updates, add them in comments below. Thanks.


In 2014, Basics, Featured, Investigation, Story ideas.

Comments (9)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Quandl has a ton of US government data archived here: Quandl Data Sources

  2. Anonymous says:

    The journalists and technologists at the Sunlight Foundation are also monitoring our data sources and are posting updated tips and info here: Sunlight Foundation – Shutdown

  3. Thanks for the tips about Quandl and the Sunlight Foundation. I’ve added those above.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Veterans data/statistics still available at Department of Veterans Affairs.

  5. BernieL says:

    There’s also PolicyMap.com, which has a ton of data from the Census, as well as from the CDC, USDA, BEA, National Center for Education Statistics, NOAA, and National Park Service (all of which are down). It’s a free service.

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