This page provides links to the methodologies used to prepare BEA's National, Industry, Regional, and International accounts data.
Note: These methodologies are periodically refined to incorporate new and better source data and improved estimating procedures. The refinements are described in articles in BEA's monthly Survey of Current Business (SCB) that present annual or comprehensive revisions to the estimates.
The "NIPA Handbook" begins with introductory chapters that describe the fundamental concepts, definitions, classifications, and accounting framework that underlie the national income and product accounts (NIPAs) of the United States and the general sources and methods that are used to prepare the NIPA estimates.
This paper introduces new users to the basics of the U.S. national income and product accounts (NIPAs). It discusses the economic concepts that underlie the NIPAs, and it describes the seven NIPA summary accounts. The Primer also provides a brief overview of the derivation of the NIPA measures and a list of references for further information.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has recently improved its estimates of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP), current-dollar gross domestic income (GDI), and real GDP as part of the 2020 annual update of the national income and product accounts (NIPAs). The sources of data and the methodologies that are now used to prepare the NIPA estimates are summarized in this report.
This article analyzes the source data used to prepare the GDP estimates and the GDI estimates according to a set of criteria that reflects the quality, the availability, and the use of the data. This analysis allows for a better understanding of the differences between the source data that underlie the GDP estimates and those that underlie the GDI estimates and illustrates how the incorporation of the increasingly detailed and comprehensive source data leads to revisions to the GDP estimates and to the GDI estimates.
This article provides an overview of the government accounts. It describes the basic structure and concepts and provides a broad discussion on how the estimate are prepared. It concludes with a discussion of future directions for BEA’s government accounts.
This paper provides a comprehensive explanation of the conceptual basis and framework of the U.S. national income and product accounts (NIPAs). It describes the structure and purpose of the U.S. economic accounts, discusses the relationship between business and financial accounting and national economic accounting, and presents a derivation of the seven NIPA summary accounts from generalized production, income and outlay, and capital accounts for each sector of the economy.
Housing services are a component of personal consumption expenditures (PCE), and consequently part of GDP, in the national income and product accounts (NIPAs). The rental value of tenant-occupied housing and the imputed rental value of owner-occupied housing are both part of PCE housing services, reflecting the amount of money tenants spend for the service of shelter and the amount of money owner occupants would have spent had they been renting. Owner-occupied housing is included in PCE because the NIPAs treat the owner-occupant as if it were a rental business, or in other words, a landlord renting to him or herself. That is, BEA imputes a value for the services of owner-occupied housing (space rent) based on the rents charged for similar tenant-occupied housing, and this value is included in GDP as part of personal consumption expenditures. This imputation is necessary in order for GDP to be invariant when housing units shift between tenant occupancy and owner occupancy.
This article discusses the advantages of chain-weighted indexes and the challenges posed by chained dollars, outlines further steps that BEA will be taking to address these issues in the 2003 comprehensive revision of the national income and product accounts (NIPAs), and provides suggestions for using chained dollars in ways that reduce biases and errors in forecasting and other applications where components need to be aggregated. Highlights of this article include the following:
This publication presents estimates prepared by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the stocks and depreciation of fixed assets and consumer durable goods and of the investment flows used to derive them. Specifically, it presents estimates for the United States of the stocks of private and government fixed assets (durable equipment, software, and structures) and consumer durables for 1925–99. It also presents the underlying investment expenditures for most assets for 1901–99.
A review of the data on hedonic price indexes and their impact on real GDP growth shows no evidence of an overstatement in the measured decline in computer prices. The hedonic price indexes for computers produce results that are quite robust and that are virtually the same as those produced by a carefully constructed traditional price index for computers.
One major improvement in the upcoming NIPA revision will be the introduction of new featured measures of real output and prices. These measures, which will be chain-type indexes, will provide a more accurate picture of economic activity by allowing for changes in relative prices and in the composition of output over time. To facilitate sectoral trend and current-period analysis, BEA will expand the presentations of its estimates to include the contributions of major components to the growth in real GDP and dollar-denominated series that are calculated from the featured output indexes.
This article presents quarterly estimates of the alternative measures of change in real output and prices that BEA introduced in April 1992.l It also updates the annual estimates for 1988-90 to incorporate the results of the annual revision of the national income and product accounts (NIPA's) in July 1992 and extends the annual estimates to 1991.2 The alternative measures, which supplement BEA's featured fixed-weighted measures, are especially useful for studies of long-term economic growth, for comparisons of business cycles, and for gauging the effect of changes in the economy's relative
This article and the one that follows it, "Economic Theory and BEA 's Alternative Quantity and Price Indexes," present results of BEA's work on alternative measures of production and prices. These measures, which are designed to supplement BEA's featured fixed weighted measures, were first described in "Alternative Measures of Real GNP" in the April 1989 Survey of Current Business; in that article, BEA stated that it would develop the alternative measures as part of the next comprehensive revision of the national income and product accounts.
This summary outlines the switch from GNP to GDP as BEA’s featured measure of production during the ninth Comprehensive Revision of the NIPAs (December 1991). It provides details on why the change was made and how GDP and GNP differ conceptually and in dollar-level terms.
This publication presents the final results of the 2014 Benchmark Survey of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad (USDIA) that was conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Benchmark surveys are BEA’s most comprehensive surveys, in terms of both the number of companies covered and the amount of information gathered. The 2014 survey covered the universe of U.S. direct investment abroad, which consists of all foreign business enterprises owned 10 percent or more, directly or indirectly, by a U.S. investor.
This volume presents the results of the 2012 Benchmark Survey of Foreign Direct Investment that was conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Benchmark surveys are BEA’s most comprehensive surveys—in terms of both the number of companies covered and the amount of information gathered. The 2012 survey covered the foreign direct investment universe, which consists of all U.S. business enterprises owned 10 percent or more, directly or indirectly, by a foreign person. The last benchmark survey covered 2007.
This catalog summarizes the major statistical and methodological improvements to the U.S. international accounts for 1976-2008. Detailed discussions of these improvements were previously presented at the time of the annual revisions, but the discussions appear over many issues of the Survey of Current Business (SCB) for thirty years. This listing by year and subject matter provides an index of these improvements in one location.
This article describes the source data and methods used by the Bureau of Economic Analysis to estimate regional price parities (RPPs) and for regional estimates of real personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and real personal income. RPPs and real personal income are estimated annually for states, metropolitan statistical areas, the metropolitan and nonmetropolitan portions of states, and the combined nonmetropolitan portion of the United States. Real PCE is estimated annually for states.
This guide summarizes the methods and data sources used by the Regional Product Division of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to estimate annual measures of gross domestic product for four U.S. territories: American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
This guide presents the conceptual framework, the data sources, and the statistical methods used by the Regional Income Division of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to estimate personal income and employment for local areas, that is, for counties, metropolitan statistical areas, and other county aggregates.
This guide presents the conceptual framework, the data sources, and the statistical methods used by the Regional Income Division of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to estimate personal income and employment for states.
This guide summarizes the methods and data sources used by the Regional Product Division of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to estimate annual measures of gross domestic product for Puerto Rico.
Esta guía resume los métodos y las fuentes de datos utilizados por la División de Producto Regional del Negociado de Análisis Económico (BEA por sus siglas en inglés) para estimar las medidas anuales del producto interior bruto de Puerto Rico
On December 12, 2019, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released the first official gross domestic product (GDP) by county statistics. This article provides readers with a description of the GDP framework, source data, and methodology used to prepare BEA's official GDP by county estimates. The article is divided into three main sections. The first section explains GDP concepts, definitions, and source data. The next two sections describe the estimation methods used to measure GDP by county, by breaking down the methodology into key components.
This volume presents the conceptual framework, the data sources, and the statistical methodologies used by the Regional Product Division of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to estimate gross domestic product (GDP) by industry for all U.S. states for 1963–2016. GDP by state is the state equivalent of GDP for the nation.
The Regional Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS II) user's guide provides practical advice on the appropriate use of the RIMS II model as well as an explanation of the Input-Output framework and RIMS II model assumptions.
This paper details the methodology for the inaugural outdoor recreation satellite account (ORSA) statistics released September 2018. The statistics include 2012-2016 estimates of the outdoor recreation economy’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP), gross output, compensation, and employment. To explain the national accounting concepts used to develop the official federal statistics from which the ORSA statistics originate, the first section of this paper is derived from the existing methodology papers, "Concepts and Methods of the U.S.
The Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) measures the size of the outdoor recreation economy and the link between outdoor recreation and the broader United States economy. Like other satellite accounts, the ORSA was built on BEA’s comprehensive supply-use framework. The supply-use tables provide a detailed look at the relationships among industries and how each industry contributes to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In practice, the ORSA is a rearrangement of the published supply-use tables that isolates outdoor recreation spending and production.
This paper introduces new users to the basics of the U.S. industry economic accounts. It provides an overview of each of BEA’s industry accounts and how they may be used to answer a variety of questions about the U.S. economy, industry activity, and the flow of goods and services throughout the economy.
The release of the following estimates marks the completion of the most recent comprehensive revision of the NIPA’s: Revised NIPA estimates for 1929–58, revised estimates of reproducible tangible wealth for 1929–95, and revised and newly available NIPA estimates of selected series for 1959–96 that reflect the work undertaken to complete the 1929–58 NIPA and 1929–95 wealth estimates.