November 30, 2018

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis has released a comprehensive update of its industry statistics, including improvements that reflect the evolving U.S. economy, update the benchmark year, and provide more detailed annual and quarterly data.

The update in November included release of the new 2012 benchmark supply-use tables (also known as input-output tables), as well as updated benchmark tables for 2007. Benchmark updates are based on the most detailed and comprehensive industry and commodity data available – the economic census conducted every five years by the U.S. Census Bureau. The benchmark tables provide a detailed picture of the economy, showing relationships among hundreds of industries and commodities. They provide the foundation for BEA’s estimates of U.S. gross domestic product and other statistics.

The updated industry tables incorporate changes made earlier this year in the comprehensive update of gross domestic product and its major components known as the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs). With this release, BEA’s data users can now seamlessly walk across the benchmark supply-use tables, the annual and quarterly industry accounts, and the NIPAs. For example, a user interested in one component of consumer spending in the NIPAs can easily access more detailed information on that component in the benchmark supply-use tables, and users can now compare different sets of consistent benchmark supply-use tables over time.

The update also introduced more detailed annual industry data. New underlying detail tables show value added, gross output, and intermediate inputs for 138 industries on an annual basis. The 2007 and 2012 benchmark tables are further subdivided into 405 industries. In addition, quarterly GDP by industry statistics for 71 industries are now available beginning in 2005, while they were previously available only back to the beginning of 2012.

This update of the industry accounts brings a shift in emphasis toward supply-use tables, a format more compatible with that used by other nations. Although the supply-use tables are now featured, BEA will continue to publish data in the make-use format as supplementary tables. 

Other changes in the comprehensive update reflect updates to definitions and classifications, new and improved estimation methods, and newly available or revised source data.  

For more information about this update of industry accounts, watch for the upcoming article in the December issue of the Survey of Current Business. Background information is available in an August 2018 preview article

Before November’s rollout of updated industry data, the last comprehensive update of the industry accounts was in January 2014.