U.S. R&D spending rose in 2004

Michael Mandel

The R&D statistics for 2004 have not yet been officially released, but I've learned from an inside source that they will show a rise in both nominal and real spending. That's good news for the long-term future of the U.S. economy, since research and development is a key factor fueling innovation and growth.

The gain in 2004 comes after a slight uptick in 2003, and several years of bouncing around. It may be that the innovative part of the economy is finally recovering from the tech bust.

By contrast, as I noted in an earlier item, UK spending on R&D fell in 2004. That's not good news.

The news about the U.S. number comes via a conversation I had with John Jankowski of the National Science Foundation, who also says that it's becoming harder to compile the R&D statistics. It used to be, says Jankowski, that they could get a good read on R&D trends by looking at a sample of the largest companies. But that seems to be less true these days. As a result, the preliminary estimate--which should be released soon--is potentially subject to significant revisions.

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