Communicating Statistics: Making Sense of Statistics in a Dynamic World
Per Nymand-Andersen
Directorate Statistics, European Central Bank, Frankfurt am Main, Hessen, Germany

Trustworthy statistics have a welfare-enhancing effect in society and constitute a knowledge base that is fundamental to sound decision-making, not only at policy level but in the marketplace, in academia, in the corporate world and among European citizens in general. The European System of Central Banks has a vested interest in proactively raising awareness of its statistics among these user segments, and in helping the users both to understand the substance of the statistics and to make use of them. They provide an official source of statistics that is free, reliable and of a high quality - fit for decision-making and research purposes.

The world of statistics is continually challenged by its remit to reflect and explain in further detail complex financial and economic phenomena, as well as their relative importance in, and impact on, today's society. This, combined with an exponential growth in the volume of data from private sources, affects the way in which official statistics are represented and communicated.

This paper argues that, although current statistics communication demonstrates significant improvements in data dissemination means and volume, a considerable effort is required to ensure that statistics not only reflect and explain the dynamics of today's financial and economic environment, but do so in a way that renders the information easy for the policy-maker, the decision-maker and the frequent user to interpret and utilise. The paper asserts that, in some respects, the future of statistics communication lies in the ability of statisticians to proactively extract information from various sources and to present topical financial or economic concepts in context and in a timely, understandable and accessible manner. This would increase the usability of statistics - guiding the layman through an ever-increasing supply of information and concepts – and contribute to sound decision–making in today's society.

Keywords: Communication; Statistics; Fit for decision making; Graphics presentations

Biography: Per Nymand-Andersen is an advisor to senior management in Directorate General Statistics at the European Central Bank (ECB). Throughout his fifteen years of professional experience with the ECB, Per has developed his expertise in financial markets, statistics and securities settlement systems, as well as his project management and communication skills. Per has an MBA in Economics and Management Science from Copenhagen Business School and has also studied in Australia and the United States. Prior to joining the ECB, he provided market research consultancy services for the European Commission/Eurostat in Luxembourg for four years. Per is an associate partner in a new European PhD programme on Neuro-Economics/Finance and an author of several articles and publications regarding financial markets and statistics.