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The “Input-Output Handbook” describes the concepts and methods that underlie the preparation of the benchmark input-output (I-O) accounts of the United States. The handbook is intended to provide new employees with a grounding in the basics of I-O accounting, background on the development and uses of the accounts, and an introduction to the process of preparing the I-O estimates and tables. It is also intended to provide existing employees with information that will broaden their understanding of particular aspects of the work. The handbook does not provide detailed descriptions of methodology or of database operations. The descriptions of methodology that are presented in the handbook are primarily based on the 1997 benchmark accounts, though some updates and indications of future changes are included. Thus, the handbook is intended to be a living reference, whereby additional or updated information can be added as available and appropriate.1

The handbook opens with a table of contents that provides brief outlines of the principal topics covered in each of the 12 chapters. At the end of the handbook, there is a glossary of I-O terms and a bibliography of selected references.

This handbook was prepared under the direction of Mark A. Planting and Karen J. Horowitz, senior economists in the Industry Accounts Directorate (IAD) of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). General supervision was provided by Sumiye Okubo, Associate Director for Industry Accounts, and Ann M. Lawson, Chief of the Current Industry Analysis Division. The handbook was written by Mr. Planting and Ms. Horowitz, with significant contributions from Gerald F. Donahoe, formerly of BEA. Substantive and editorial review was provided by Douglas R. Fox, formerly of BEA. Special appreciation is given to the many members of the IAD staff who provided numerous worthwhile comments and suggestions.

1. In April 2009, BEA replaced the term "multiplier" with "requirement" in its total requirements tables. The change was made to clarify the concept and uses of requirements coefficients. Total requirements coefficients are based on the concept of gross output and differ significantly from macro-economic multipliers used to assess the effects of fiscal stimulus on gross domestic product.