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The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that Deputy Director Thomas L. Mesenbourg Jr. has been selected by the Washington Statistical Society, the National Association for Business Economics, and the Business and Economics Section of the American Statistical Association to receive the 2011 Julius Shiskin Memorial Award for Economic Statistics.
“The Shiskin Award recognizes the best contributions to economic statistics, sustained over many years throughout one's career,” said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. “Past awardees include some of the best minds in America. Tom Mesenbourg's entrance into this illustrious group is a wonderful event that makes all of us at the Census Bureau proud.”
This award recognizes unusually original and important contributions in the development of economic statistics or in the use of statistics interpreting the economy. Mesenbourg — the 38th recipient to receive this honor — will be recognized for his contributions to developing and advancing economic statistics programs that meet the needs of a rapidly changing economy.
Mesenbourg's major contributions to economic statistics have been meeting the needs of a rapidly changing economy and include expanding coverage of services, introducing innovative classification systems of economic activity and providing new data on the impact of technology. Although the direct impact of these contributions shows up as Census Bureau programs, he developed and implemented them by working with other federal statistical agencies. Through this interagency cooperation, he was able to greatly enhance the usefulness of the new programs to other agencies.
Mesenbourg has been a key leader in efforts to better integrate and improve statistics across statistical agencies, in particular the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau. His leadership and collaborative efforts have not only enhanced the usefulness of new Census Bureau programs but also has significantly improved the consistency, coverage and accuracy of the data compiled by these three agencies.
Prior to his appointment as Census Bureau deputy director in 2008, Mesenbourg served as associate director for economic programs (2005 to 2008), assistant director for economic programs (1994 to 2005) and chief of the Economic Census and Surveys Division (1991 to 1994). In 2004, Mesenbourg was the recipient of a Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Senior Executives, the government's highest award for career executives. Most recently as deputy director and chief operating officer of the Census Bureau, he played a critical role in the 2010 Census that was completed under budget and on time.
At the time of his death in 1978, “Julie” was the commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and earlier served as the chief statistician at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the chief economic statistician and assistant director of the Census Bureau. Throughout his career, he was known as an innovator. At the Census Bureau, he was instrumental in developing an electronic computer method for seasonal adjustment. In 1961, he published “Signals of Recession and Recovery,” which laid the groundwork for the calculation of monthly economic indicators, and he developed the monthly Census Bureau report “Business Conditions Digest” to disseminate them to the public.