The advantage of constructing estimates on the digital economy within the framework used for BEA’s GDP accounts is that the overall digital economy can be compared to GDP for the Nation. This includes as a percentage of GDP as well as whether GDP for the digital economy is growing faster or slower than the overall U.S. economy. In the initial digital economy estimates, BEA provides a measure of “value added” by each industry in the digital economy, by groups of digital economy goods and service types, and for the digital economy overall. Value added refers to the contribution of labor and capital by each industry to the Nation’s GDP. It is the value that an industry generates after it has accounted for its costs of energy, materials, and services used up in production.

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