Archive for the 'BEA News' Category

Coming Soon: More Timely Data on the Health of States’ Economies

BEA’s annual gross domestic product by state report provides a crucial look into the health of states’ economies. Soon businesses, consumers, and policymakers will get a sneak peak at a more timely and frequent version of the report.

On August 20, we will release a quarterly look at state economic performance broken out by industry for the years 2005-2013. Like its annual cousin, this prototype quarterly GDP by state report will be conceptually consistent with BEA’s national data on economic output, allowing for comparisons across geographies and time.

In addition to the economic activity of each state, these quarterly statistics will provide more information on how states’ industries are faring.  For instance, according to our most recent annual report on state economic growth, released on June 11, non-durable goods manufacturing contributed 2.65 percentage points to overall growth in Louisiana. Using quarterly data, one can investigate whether this increase in activity was sustained over all four quarters.

We are releasing these statistics for review and comment by data users.  After getting their feedback, the goal is to start producing quarterly GDP by state statistics on a regular basis in 2015. Quarterly GDP by state statistics will provide a first read on state-level activity for a quarter within five to six months after the close of that quarter.

Quarterly GDP by state statistics can also build a clearer picture of the overall U.S. economy. By providing an earlier indication of what states are experiencing in terms of economic activity, these statistics can provide more insight into the geographic pattern of national economic performance.  

For example, using quarterly GDP by state statistics, one can investigate whether key industries in some states were showing declines even before the national downturn that began in late 2007.

These new estimates are just one way that BEA is innovating to better measure the 21st Century economy. On August 7, we released prototype estimates of consumer spending by state. Earlier this year, we introduced real (inflation-adjusted) estimates of personal income for states and metropolitan areas and new quarterly statistics on GDP broken out by industry. Providing businesses and individuals with new data tools like these is a priority of the Commerce Department’s “Open for Business Agenda.”

Personal Consumption Expenditures by State Prototype Estimates for 1997-2012


  • Prototype estimates of personal consumption expenditures (PCE) for states for 1997-2012 provide a new tool for state-level analysis of consumer activity and household economic well-being.
  • The PCE-by-state estimates are released for 16 expenditure categories that correspond to the national level expenditure categories published by BEA. There are eight categories of goods, seven categories of services, and the net expenditures of nonprofit institutions serving households.
  • Per capita PCE in 2012 ranged from a high of $59,423 in the District of Columbia to a low of $27,406 in Mississippi.
  • Between 2011 and 2012 North Dakota had the fastest growth in per capita PCE between at 9.2% and the fastest growth in total PCE at 11.5%.
  • These prototype estimates are released for data users’ evaluations and comments. Provided that user evaluations are positive, BEA plans to release official annual statistics in 2015.

Read the full report.

BEA’s New Statistical Product Enriches Understanding of Consumer Behavior at the State Level

On August 7th, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) will premiere a new report on consumer spending, “Personal Consumption Expenditures by State.” This represents a major advancement in the level of information available on consumer spending behaviors at the sub-national level. Why is it important? Because consumer spending is a major driver of the U.S. economy’s overall health.

BEA already reports national numbers, but not state-by-state statistics.  This greater level of detail will provide a much richer economic picture of the nation. This new statistical product also and importantly demonstrates the Commerce Department’s data commitment outlined in our recent Strategic Plan.  As ‘America’s Data Agency,’ we have pledged to transform Department data capabilities and capacity; to enhance the value, accessibility and usability of Commerce data for government, business and the public.

Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) by State is a broad measure of household spending. The new statistics will reflect variation in both the goods and services purchased by households and the relative prices of these goods and services across regions. The annual report will cover data from 2012 back to 1997.  It is a “prototype statistic,” meaning that refinements in methodology may be made before this becomes a “regular” BEA product.

PCE by State promises to yield great value in many ways, including providing a clearer indication of how households in various regions fare in recessions and recoveries. Such statistics will yield insights on a wide range of questions, such as what categories of consumption decline the most in specific states and how the growth rates of consumer spending compare with the growth rates of disposal personal income. The new report will also and importantly help inform decision making by businesses in hiring, investing and locating a company.

Other important potential uses of the new data:

  • They can be used by state governments to analyze the potential revenue impact generated from various sales tax proposals.
  • They can be used for cross-state comparison of the impact of fiscal policy choices on household spending.
  • They can be used to improve the regional input-output models developed by regional economists in state governments and academia.
  • They can be used to assess purchasing power potential for marketing.
  • Finally, the new statistics can be used to provide an indication of the general well-being of households in a state economy.

These experimental PCE by State statistics are designed to be used in conjunction with other macroeconomic and regional data produced by BEA. Given the limited availability of source data at the regional level, the new PCE by State statistics will not provide the same level of category detail that BEA currently makes available at the national level. The 16 categories prepared for these new statistics correspond to the categories in table 2.3.5 in the national income and product accounts.

And there are more exciting changes coming in the data provided by our statistical family: on Aug. 20th, BEA will release another new product – “Quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by State.”  BEA currently produces this indicator on an annual basis; beginning this month, it will produce these figures for the first time on a quarterly basis – in essence providing states with a real-time look at the growth or contraction of their state-wide economy.  After getting feedback on this prototype measure, BEA will move to producing quarterly GDP by State statistics on a regular basis.

Mark Doms, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs