At the end of September, BEA will update five years of U.S. gross domestic product and related statistics, as well as GDP statistics for industries and for each state.
These updates are part of a cycle the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis follows to continue refining its statistics as more information becomes available. The annual updates incorporate data that only become available yearly, such as from the Census Bureau’s annual surveys of manufacturers, merchant wholesale trade, and retail trade.
The annual updates also incorporate more complete and more detailed data from the federal budget, the IRS, and other agencies, as well as BEA’s updated statistics on international transactions. BEA introduces methodological improvements in these updates, too.
The 2022 annual updates will cover estimates for 2017 through 2021, plus the first quarter of 2022.
BEA’s annual updates of national, industry, and state statistics previously occurred over a span of several months. This year for the first time, GDP, GDP by industry, and GDP by state are being updated together over two days: Sept. 29 and 30.
The coordinated statistics provide a fuller and more timely view of the U.S. economy and how industries and regions contribute to the whole. The timing results from BEA's efforts to harmonize the production of these three major dimensions of GDP.
The annual updates on Sept. 29 and 30 will coincide with the release of the latest GDP statistics for the second quarter of 2022 and personal income and consumer spending statistics for the month of August:
- Sept. 29:
- Annual update of quarterly and annual data in the National Income and Product Accounts, including GDP, gross domestic income, corporate profits, and price indexes, for the first quarter of 2017 through the first quarter of 2022.
- Annual update of the Industry Economic Accounts, including gross output and GDP by industry, for the first quarter of 2017 through the first quarter of 2022.
- Second quarter 2022 statistics on U.S. GDP (third estimate), corporate profits (revised), and GDP by industry.
- Sept. 30:
- Annual update of monthly data in the National Income and Product Accounts, including personal income, consumer spending, saving, and price indexes, from January 2017 through March 2022.
- Annual update of statistics for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, including state GDP and personal income, for the first quarter of 2017 through the first quarter of 2022. (State statistics on 2021 consumer spending will be released Oct. 6.)
- August 2022 statistics on U.S. personal income, consumer spending, and related data.
- Second quarter 2022 statistics on GDP by state and personal income by state.
By updating its estimates for previous years, BEA continually refines the accuracy of its statistics while ensuring data users can compare economic trends across the years.
In the case of BEA’s best-known statistic, U.S. GDP, each quarter is initially estimated three times over three months. The advance estimate is akin to a snapshot, with more complete source data sharpening the picture in the second and third estimates, and again later in annual updates.
BEA performs comprehensive updates approximately every five years – the next one is set for 2023. Comprehensive updates incorporate data from the Census Bureau’s economic census, which is conducted every five years.
Here’s a guide to the cycle of U.S. GDP updates:
- A quarter’s first estimate, coming about a month after the quarter ends
- A closely watched first look at the general economic picture
- About two months after the quarter ends
- Reflects more complete source data
- About three months after the quarter ends
- Still more complete source data means less reliance on projections
- Released with GDP by industry statistics; state GDP follows the next day
- Includes a substantial influx of data from more extensive sources, such as annual surveys or tax data
- May reflect improvements in methodologies and changes in international standards
- May incorporate changes in definitions and classifications
- Updates annual and quarterly estimates for the previous five years (and sometimes more)
- Updates the first quarter of the current year, too
- An expanded annual update that typically occurs every five years
- Includes the most comprehensive data available, including from the economic census
- Updates annual statistics dating back to 1929, and quarterly statistics back to 1947