Frequently Asked Questions

Guidelines for Citing BEA Information | ID: 126 | Created: Jan-17-2006

What is a national income and product account (NIPA) benchmark or comprehensive revision?

The comprehensive revision of the NIPAs marks the culmination of an estimating cycle that typically takes 5 years. The cycle begins with three "current" estimates for each quarter. The quarterly estimates are subject to annual revisions, usually released at the end of each July, that typically incorporate data for at least the 3 most recent years. A comprehensive, or benchmark revision, is timed to incorporate the benchmark input-output (I-O) accounts, which provide levels of the components of GDP for the benchmark year.

A comprehensive revision also incorporates three major types of improvements:

  • Changes in definitions and classifications that update the accounts to reflect the changing U.S. economy. Efforts are also made to improve international comparability by conforming more closely to the accounting framework of the System of National Accounts.
  • Statistical changes that update the accounts to reflect the introduction of new and improved methodologies and the incorporation of newly available and revised source data, such as the benchmark I-O accounts.
  • Presentational changes that update the NIPA tables to reflect the definitional and statistical changes and make the tables more informative.

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