March 15, 2021

At the foundation of BEA's industry statistics are the input-output accounts — a guide to the inner workings of the U.S. economy. These detailed tables can help you trace supply chains, see indirect connections between industries, or study an industry's imports and exports.

How do industries interact with each other?

The input-output accounts, or I-O accounts, capture the flow of goods and services from one industry to another and to consumers. The data include broad sectors, such as manufacturing; subcategories such as manufacturing of computer and electronic parts; and details to the level of semiconductors and related devices, for example.

Together, the I-O tables provide a comprehensive picture of economic activity:

  • Supply tables – The value of goods and services available in the U.S. economy, whether produced by domestic industries or imported. 
  • Use tables – How the supply of goods and services is used. Includes purchases by U.S. industries, individuals, and government, and exports to foreign purchasers. 
  • Requirements tables – A summary of the full supply chain, with both direct and indirect connections among industries. For example, a baker relies directly on a miller for flour and indirectly on a farmer who supplies the miller with wheat.

Businesses, national policymakers, state and local governments, academics, and others rely on analytical tools derived from the I-O framework, such as: 

  • Trade in Value Added (TiVA) Statistics – Used to trace global value chains through direct and indirect U.S. trade partners, improving understanding of the U.S. role in international trade.
  • Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) Models – Used to anticipate the response of the economy to changes in policy, changes in technology, and other external shocks.
  • Regional Impact Analysis Models (such as BEA's RIMS II) – Used to show the local impact of a specific project or event like a strike or natural disaster. For example, state or local government planners could use these models to assess the economic impact of a new baseball stadium or the closing of a military base.

BEA's industry statistics are widely used in policy analysis, business planning, and for estimating the effects of regulations and tax proposals. The U.S. International Trade Commission uses them to gauge the impact of trade policies; the Patent and Trademark Office uses them to measure copyright-related industries; and BEA relies on the I-O tables internally as one of the key building blocks for estimates of gross domestic product.

Learn more about the input-output accounts and all of our industry statistics on