Chronicling 100 Years of the U.S. Economy

October 2020
Volume 100, Number 10

The 2020 Annual Update of the Industry Economic Accounts

Revised Statistics for 2015–2019 and the First Quarter of 2020

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On September 30th, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released updated quarterly and annual estimates of real gross domestic product (GDP) beginning with 2015. These estimates reflect new and revised source data for 2015 through the first quarter of 2020, which were incorporated as part of this year’s annual update of the Industry Economic Accounts (IEAs).

The revisions to these statistics also reflect incorporation of the results of the 2020 annual update of the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs) and the 2020 annual update of BEA's International Transactions Accounts (ITAs).1

The newly released estimates include real, nominal, and price data on value added, gross output, and intermediate inputs for both annual and quarterly frequencies. Annual statistics are available for 1947 onward. In addition, more detailed annual statistics at the 138-industry level are available as part of the underlying detail for the IEAs for 1997 onward. Quarterly statistics are available at the 71-industry level for the first quarter of 2005 onward. In addition to these tables, the newly released estimates include a selection of input-output statistics including new supply-use tables (SUTs) and direct and total requirements tables for 2019 and revised tables for 2015–2018.

Annual updates are conducted to maintain the accuracy and relevance of BEA’s statistics, incorporating source data that are more complete and reliable than those previously available. This year’s annual update features revised annual and quarterly estimates for 2015 through the first quarter of 2020.2 As is usual for an annual IEA update, the incorporation of more complete and revised source data and the incorporation of the results of the 2020 annual update of the NIPAs and the ITAs were the primary drivers of the revisions. Overall, the revised statistics continue to reflect the same picture of economic growth observed in the previously published estimates.

Source data

The updated estimates reflect the incorporation of newly available and revised source data, which are regularly included in the annual updates and which became available after last year’s annual update in October 2019. These data include the following:

  • U.S. Census 2017 Economic Census: Manufacturing: Summary Statistics for the U.S., States, and Selected Geographies for 2017 (new)
  • U.S. Census Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances for fiscal years 2015–2017 (revised) and 2018 (new)
  • U.S. Census Annual Survey of Manufactures for 2018 (new)
  • U.S. Census Annual Wholesale Trade Survey for 2015–2017 (revised) and 2018 (new)
  • U.S. Census Annual Retail Trade Survey for 2015–2017 (revised) and 2018 (new)
  • U.S. Census Service Annual Survey for 2015–2018 (revised) and 2019 (new)
  • U.S. Census Value of Construction Put in Place for 2015–2019 (revised)
  • Office of Management and Budget federal government budget data for fiscal years 2017–2019 (revised) and 2020 (new)
  • BEA International Transactions Accounts statistics for 2015–2019 (revised)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages for 2015–2019 (revised)
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tabulations of corporate tax returns for 2017 (revised) and for 2018 (new)
  • IRS tabulations of sole proprietorship and partnership tax returns for 2018 (new)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service farm statistics for 2015–2019 (revised)

Results of the 2017 Economic Census were incorporated and replaced the Census Bureau monthly survey of Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories, and Orders (M3). Typically, the Census Bureau Annual Survey of Manufactures data are incorporated each year. However, these data were not available for 2017, as the survey is not conducted during Economic Census years.

Principal sources of data used to construct current-dollar and chained-dollar estimates for benchmark and nonbenchmark years can be found in tables A and B. Principal sources of data used to construct the quarterly estimates can be found in table C.

The 2020 annual update of the NIPAs

The IEAs are a consistent time series that are fully integrated with the NIPAs; thus, the results of the 2020 annual update of the NIPAs directly affect the industry statistics. The most significant revisions for 2015 through the first quarter of 2020 resulted from the incorporation of revised and newly available source data into the NIPA estimates of personal consumption expenditures (PCE), corporate profits, and net interest. Notably, this year's update of the NIPAs reflects improvements to the estimating methods underlying measures of services furnished without payment by financial intermediaries. Beginning with 2015, measures of the imports of these “implicit” services are now included; previously, only exports of these services were recorded. Measures of the implicit services provided by commercial banks were also updated to include the services produced by international banking facilities.3

Methodology improvements

Customs duties deflators

A change to customs duties prices was implemented to improve the accuracy of BEA's deflation of customs duties. Starting with 2015, these prices are now measured implicitly based on nominal measures of customs duties and a corresponding measure of real goods imports from the NIPAs. This improved price index better captures changes in both the duty rates and the prices of underlying imported products. Previously, BEA primarily used BLS import price indexes to measure price changes of customs duties.

Retail trade deflators

Several price indicators used to deflate retail trade output were changed in response to the discontinuation of several BLS Producer Price Indexes (PPIs). Beginning with 2015, a combination of NIPA PCE prices and BLS PPIs replaced 17 of the 43 PPIs previously used to deflate retail trade output.

Estimates of educational services output

The accuracy of BEA's measure of educational services output was improved by incorporating new source data. Previously, the estimates were based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), from the Census Bureau Service Annual Survey (SAS), and from the Census Bureau Survey of State and Local Government Finances. Beginning in 2015, educational services output measures for business schools and computer and management training, technical and trade schools, other schools and instruction, and educational support services were streamlined by solely using SAS data. Because BEA’s quarterly methodology uses Census Quarterly Services Survey data, the introduction of new source data harmonizes quarterly and annual output statistics and improves the accuracy of educational services output. For elementary and secondary schools, BEA continues to use NCES data.

Estimates of commercial fishing output and prices

Beginning with 2017, commercial fishing output is estimated using Census M3 meat processing product shipments and BLS PPI data for seafood product preparation and packaging. In prior estimates, BEA used monthly National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration commercial landing statistics; however, the series was discontinued in 2017. The new methodology harmonizes the quarterly and annual approaches, allowing for consistency between the estimates, as Census and BLS data were already used as part of the annual estimation methodology.

Supply-use tables

New SUTs for 2019 and revised SUTs for 2015–2018 are available with the 2020 annual update of the IEAs.4 The supply table presents the total supply of goods and services from both domestic and foreign producers available for use in the domestic economy. The use table shows the use of this supply by domestic industries as intermediate inputs and by final users, including exports. The tables also show value added by industry.

The percent change in real GDP for the first quarter of 2020 was unrevised at −5.0 percent. Private goods-producing industries was revised down 0.3 percentage point to −2.9 percent. Private services producing industries was unrevised at −6.0 percent. Government was revised up to −2.5 percent from −2.7 percent. The direction of growth in real value added was unrevised in 21 of 22 major industry groups, with management of companies and enterprises being the only exception.

  • Private goods-producing industries was revised down 0.3 percentage point. The 2.0 percentage points downward revision to real value added in nondurable goods manufacturing was the largest contributor, led by a revision in petroleum and coal products manufacturing.
  • Private services-producing industries was unrevised; an 8.5 percentage point upward revision to arts, entertainment, and recreation was offset by an 8.6 percentage point downward revision to management of companies.

Quarterly statistics for 2015–2019 were benchmarked to the corresponding annual estimates, and revisions to these quarters typically follow the revisions to the annual data. Updated quarterly source data and revised seasonal factors also contributed to revisions to the quarterly estimates in these periods. Table 1 presents revisions to annual percent changes in real value added by industry group.

2019

Real GDP growth was revised down from 2.3 percent to 2.2 percent for 2019. Private services-producing industries was revised down 0.3 percentage point to 2.4 percent, private goods-producing industries was revised up 0.3 percentage point to 2.2 percent (chart 1), and government was revised up 0.5 percentage point to 1.0 percent. The direction of change was unrevised for 20 of 22 major industry groups, with nondurable goods and wholesale trade as the only exceptions.

  • Finance and insurance led the downward revision to growth in real value added for private services-producing industries. Growth in this industry was revised to 0.4 percent from the 3.3 percent published previously, primarily reflecting revisions to federal reserve banks, credit intermediation, and related activities.
  • Nondurable goods manufacturing was revised up to 2.5 percent from −0.6 percent, leading the upward revision to private goods-producing industries. The upward revision to nondurable goods manufacturing was primarily due to the petroleum and coal products industry.
  • Wholesale trade was revised down from 0.8 percent to −2.1 percent.

2018

Real GDP growth was revised up from 2.9 percent to 3.0 percent for 2018. Private goods-producing industries was revised up 0.8 percentage point to 4.0 percent; private services-producing industries was revised down 0.2 percentage point to 3.0 percent; and government was revised up 0.2 percentage point to 1.0 percent. The direction of change was unrevised for 19 of 22 major industry groups, with agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting; utilities; and finance and insurance as the only exceptions.

  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting was the leading contributor to the upward revision to private goods-producing industries with an upward revision of 5.6 percentage points to 4.2 percent. The revision was primarily due to upward revisions to farms.
  • Nondurable goods manufacturing also contributed to the upward revision to private goods producing industries with an upward revision of 0.6 percentage point to 3.5 percent; the revision to this industry was primarily due to an upward revision to petroleum and coal products.
  • Information was the leading contributor to the downward revision to private services-producing industries. Growth in information was revised down from 8.5 percent to 7.0 percent. The downward revision was primarily led by revisions to motion picture and sound recording industries.

2017

Real GDP growth was revised down from 2.4 percent to 2.3 percent for 2017. Private goods-producing industries was revised down 0.4 percentage point to 2.3 percent, private services-producing industries was revised up 0.1 percentage point to 2.6 percent, and government was revised up 0.2 percentage point to 1.1 percent. The direction of change was unrevised for all 22 major industry groups.

  • The leading contributor to the downward revision for private goods-producing industries was mining, which was revised down from 7.2 percent to 0.9 percent. The downward revision was primarily driven by oil and gas extraction.
  • Information led the upward revision to private services-producing industries with a revision of 0.6 percentage point to 6.5 percent. The revision was led by an upward revision to broadcasting and telecommunications.

2016

Real GDP growth was revised up from 1.6 percent to 1.7 percent for 2016. Private services-producing industries was revised up 0.2 percentage point to 2.2 percent, private goods-producing industries was unrevised at 0.2 percent, and government was unrevised at 1.0 percent. The direction of change was unrevised for 21 of 22 major industry groups, with durable goods manufacturing as the only exception.

  • Finance and insurance was the leading contributor to the upward revision to private services-producing industries; it was revised up to 1.3 percent from 0.1 percent. The revision was led by an upward revision to federal reserve banks, credit intermediation, and related activities.
  • Durable goods was revised down to −0.2 percent from 0.4 percent, primarily led by a downward revision to computer and electronic products.

2015

Real GDP growth was revised up from 2.9 percent to 3.1 percent for 2015. Private goods-producing industries was revised up 0.4 percentage point to 3.2 percent, private services-producing industries was revised up 0.2 percentage point to 3.6 percent, and government was unrevised at 0.1 percent. The direction of change was unrevised in 21 of 22 major industry groups, with utilities as the only exception.

  • Durable goods was revised up to 1.9 percent from 1.5 percent. The revision was due primarily to revisions to primary metals, fabricated metal products, and machinery.
  • Nondurable goods was revised up to 0.7 percent from 0.1 percent. The revision was led by upward revisions to food and beverage and tobacco products, paper products, petroleum and coal products, and chemical products.
  • The upward revision to private services-producing industries was led by information, which was revised up to 10.5 percent from 9.2 percent. The revision was driven by revisions to broadcasting and telecommunications and to publishing industries, except internet (includes software).

Data availability and methodology

Data availability

The entire time series of industry statistics are available interactively on the BEA website. The GDP by industry section includes real, current-dollar, and price statistics for value added, gross output, intermediate inputs, and KLEMS (K-capital, L-labor, E-energy, M-materials, and S purchased services) statistics as well as access to the underlying detail tables. The input-output section includes an annual time series of supply and use tables as well as total requirements tables. The 2007 and 2012 benchmark tables are also available as integrated parts of the time series.

Methodology

For information on the methodology for preparing the annual statistics, see Donald D. Kim, Erich H. Strassner, and David B. Wasshausen, “Industry Economic Accounts: Results of the Comprehensive Revision and Revised Statistics for 1997–2012,” Survey 94 (February 2014). For information on the methodology used for preparing the 2012 benchmark input-output tables, see Concepts and Methods of the U.S. Input-Output Accounts on the BEA website. For information on the methodology for preparing the quarterly statistics, see Erich H. Strassner and David B. Wasshausen, “New Quarterly Gross Domestic Product by Industry Statistics,” Survey 94 (May 2014).


  1. For more information, see “The 2020 Annual Update of the National Income and Product Accounts,” Survey of Current Business 100 (August 2020) and Rudy Telles Jr., Nick Martinez, and Ted Peck, “Annual Update of the U.S. International Transactions Accounts,” Survey 100 (July 2020).
  2. Beginning with the 2019 annual update of the IEAs, the typical revision window is the 5 most recent years.
  3. For more information, see “The 2020 Annual Update of the National Income and Product Accounts,” Survey 100 (August 2020).
  4. Beginning with the 2018 comprehensive update of the IEAs, the supply-use framework is BEA’s featured presentation of input-output tables.