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New Data Lab Report Shows Federal Contract Spending Trends Over Time

A new data visualization posted in the Data Lab, which is the brainchild of the team behind the Department of Education’s USASpending.gov, seeks to present changing federal contract spending trends over the years, FedScoop reported Wednesday.

The team also conducted research on how congressional appropriations affect federal contract spending.

According to the report, federal contract spending slumped by 27 percent in 2015 from its 2010 peak, after which it recovered slightly in the years that followed. Data of the last 10 years also showed that spending spiked every September, which is one week before the end of the government’s fiscal year, accounting for 6 to 8 percent of the annual spending in a fiscal year.

As to the impact of congressional appropriations on federal contract spending, the team found out that it does not matter whether a new appropriations bill has been passed or whether a continuing resolution has to be approved to provide for state funds.

There have been some reports of an increase in federal contract spending a week after a CR has been passed, the data showed. “If agencies are unable to issue new contracts because adequate funds are not available under [CRs], needs accumulate, and then are satisfied once funding is available,” a recent Government Accountability Office report read.

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