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Upcoming Improvements to the Publication of the NIPAs

Beginning with the release of the "advance" estimate of gross domestic product for the third quarter of 2017 (October 27, 2017), the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) will introduce several improvements to the publication of the National Income and Product Accounts.

Earlier Access to Data

  • The entire data set, including quarterly underlying detail data, will be accessible sooner after the scheduled 8:30 AM release time. Monthly underlying detail will continue to be released jointly with the scheduled monthly Personal Income and Outlays release, typically on the next business day.

Data Access Improvements

  • Interactive data application
    • A new option to select either millions or billions of dollars from within the table will replace the existing “Million Dollar” data set.
  • Advanced download section
    • Improved Microsoft Excel files:
      • XLSX, rather than XLS, format.
      • Time series presentation in a single file with no line wrapping.
      • Presentation of data beginning on the same row for every table, which facilitates comparisons across files and tabs.
    • Replace 'by section' CSV files with a master set of data and meta files:
      • Three data files—one each for annual, quarterly, and monthly frequencies—replace files by section. Examples can be seen here Annuals, Quarters, Months
      • A table information metafile containing the index of currently available tables. An example can be seen here
      • A series information metafile containing descriptive material about each series. An example can be seen here
    • Discontinue separate files for the million-dollar datasets; files will now be made available at the highest published precision only. As a result, the final character in our existing publication codes (0,1,2,3) will be discontinued.
  • Application Programming Interface (API)
    • New parameter in the request: TableName. This is equivalent to the TableId but will be more stable over time.
    • The existing ‘TableId’ parameter will become optional; if it is passed the result set will also include a warning that this parameter will be discontinued in December 2017 and a notice of the correct syntax going forward for that request.
    • Additional information included in the ‘CL_UNIT’ field in the response dataset to better differentiate the measures presented.
    • New field for ‘Metric_Name’ in the response dataset to better identify the data object.
    • Access to the full, updated API documentation will be available here once the changes are introduced.

Upcoming steps

As part of the roll-out of these improvements, the BEA website will be updated the week of October 10th with the new data files and presentations. Notices will be applied to pertinent data access points to provide data users the opportunity to prepare and adapt to the new publication products before the October 27 GDP release. Additionally, registered API users who access NIPA data sets will be alerted.

If you have any questions about these changes, please contact us at GDPNIWD@bea.gov.