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Information & Communication Technology Survey

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The Information and Communication Technology Survey (ICTS), a supplement to the Annual Capital Expenditures Survey (ACES), was created in response to economic data user and policymaker concerns about the lack of available data on e-business infrastructure investment by nonfarm businesses. Rapid changes and advances in information and communication technology (ICT) equipment have resulted in these assets having short useful lives and a tendency to be replaced much quicker than other types of equipment. Companies are expensing the full cost of such assets during the current annual period rather than capitalizing the value of such assets and expensing the cost over two or more years. In some cases this is due to the short useful life of the asset, and in other cases this is because companies have varying dollar levels for capitalization. The ICTS data are critical for providing improved source data to the investment component of gross domestic product, capital stock estimates, and capital flow tables. The data will also be used to assess future productivity and economic growth prospects. In addition, the data provide facts about trends in such expenditures useful for identifying business opportunities, product development, and business planning. The 2010 estimates in this report are based on data collected from a sample of 46,448 companies with employees. The sample frame for companies with employees was slightly more than 5.7 million.


The industry categories used in the 2010 ICTS were comprised primarily of 3-digit and selected 4-digit industries from the 2007 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Industry combinations were developed through consultation with data users.


Three survey forms (ICT-1(S), ICT-1(M), and ICT-1(L)) were used for the 2010 ICTS. Each company in the sample was sent one of the forms depending on the diversification of their operations. Recipients of these survey forms were asked to provide industry-level data for capitalized and noncapitalized purchases, and operating leases and rental payments for three types of ICT equipment (computers and peripheral equipment; ICT equipment, excluding computers and peripherals; and, electromedical and electrotherapeutic apparatus). In addition, companies were asked to provide industry-level data for capitalized and noncapitalized purchases and payroll for developing software, and noncapitalized software licensing and service/maintenance agreements. Capital expenditures data was requested on the 2010 ICT survey to maintain comparability for those types of equipment collected. Additional detail regarding the ICTS forms and instructions refer to the Survey Forms and Instruction section.


In accordance with federal law governing census reports (Title 13 of the United States Code), no data are published that would disclose the operations of an individual establishment or company. Disclosure limitation is the process for protecting the confidentiality of data. A disclosure would occur if someone could use published statistical information to infer the identity or operations of a business that has provided information under a pledge of confidentiality. Disclosure suppression protects the confidentiality of individual businesses' information by withholding (suppressing) the cell values in tables of aggregate data for cases where only a few businesses are represented or dominate the statistic presented.

The disclosure analysis for the ICTS statistics is performed on each data item. When the estimate for a specific data item cannot be shown without disclosing information for individual companies, the publication of that data item is suppressed. The process of suppression does not change the higher level aggregate totals, so the integrity of the data is not adversely affected.


The following abbreviations and symbols are applied in this publication:

(N/A) Not applicable.
(NS) The estimate of change is not statistically significant. The 90% confidence interval about the estimate of change contains zero.
(D) Withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual companies. Data are included in higher level totals.
(Z) The estimate is less than half of one unit value shown in the table; e.g., for a table shown in millions of dollars, a cell denoted by (Z) is less than half of one million dollars.
(-) The relative standard error (RSE) cannot be calculated.

Note that an estimate of 0 means that there are no contributors to the estimate, other than those reporting a value of 0. The corresponding RSE is shown as a dash (-). An RSE of 0.0 means that all of the contributors to the corresponding cell estimate were selected with certainty, and the estimate has no sampling variability, though may still contain nonsampling error.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Information and Communication Technology | (301) 763-3324 |  Last Revised: March 28, 2012