Buildings, trucks, computers, software, even the creation of a song, are examples of fixed assets used to produce goods and services. Assets are considered "fixed" if they could be used for at least a year.
Why are fixed assets data useful?
Information about fixed assets provides important clues about the economy's capacity to produce more goods and services. For example, are businesses spending enough on new fixed assets to replace aging assets?
What information is available about fixed assets?
Over time, fixed assets decline in value due to physical deterioration, normal obsolescence, or accidental damage. A piece of machinery begins to wear out or a patent approaches its expiration. This decline in value is measured as depreciation or consumption of fixed capital.
At the same time, businesses and governments spend money on new fixed assets. These expenditures are called fixed investment. Depreciation reduces the stock of fixed assets, while investment replenishes or increases it.
Households are also part of the equation. Residential structures like houses and apartments count as fixed assets and are treated as business investment, whether they belong to a landlord or the occupant.
However, other long-lived items purchased by households, like cars and trucks, household appliances, furniture, and computers are considered consumer durables, not fixed assets. Spending on consumer durables counts as consumption, not investment, in GDP. Still, BEA tracks consumer durables in our fixed assets and consumer durables statistics.
When are new numbers on fixed assets and consumer durables released?
These statistics are updated once a year, typically in August.
Where do you find fixed assets data?
Investment, net stocks, depreciation, and more are shown for types of fixed assets, such as medical equipment, agricultural machinery, or custom software.
Data on stocks of fixed assets, average age of assets, and more offer insights into industries' financial health and production capacity.
Buildings, roads, military equipment, and software are examples of government fixed assets. Statistics for state and local governments combined and for the U.S. government include the age and value of assets.
These and additional fixed asset statistics are in BEA's Interactive Data tables.
- Definitions and Introduction to Fixed Assets
- For more about industry fixed assets, see the Industries learning page.
- For more about government fixed assets, see the Government learning page.