U.S. Department of Commerce

Quarterly Financial Report

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Purpose

  • For over sixty years, the QFR program has collected and published quarterly aggregate statistics on the financial results and position of U.S. corporations.

History

  • The program's origin dates back to World War II, when the responsibility for collecting data relating to economic activity
    in the U.S. was in the hands of the Office of Price Administration (OPA).
  • At the conclusion of the war, the program was transferred to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
    and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which jointly administered the program.
  • In 1971, the FTC took over sole responsibility for administering the QFR program.
  • The QFR program was transferred to the U.S. Census Bureau in 1982.

Coverage

  • Corporations that have a plurality of business activity in manufacturing industries, and domestic assets of $250,000 and over.
  • Corporations that have a plurality of business activity in mining, wholesale trade, retail trade, or selected service industries, and domestic assets of $50 million and over.
  • Corporations that are above industry specific receipt cut-off values.
  • The statistical data are classified by industry and by asset size.
  • Currently, the QFR program covers the following industry sectors, as defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS):
     
    • Mining                                      211-213
    • Manufacturing                           311-316, 321-327, 331-337, 339
    • Wholesale Trade                       423-425
    • Retail Trade                              441-448, 451-454
    • Selected Service Industries         511-512, 515, 517-519, 541 (except 5411 Legal Services), 531-532, 561-562, 621-624, 721-722

Content

  • Based upon a sample survey, the QFR presents estimated statements of income and retained earnings, balance sheets, and related financial and operating ratios.

Legal Authority and Confidentiality

  • The QFR program is conducted under the authority of Title 13 of the United States Code, Section 91,
    which requires that financial statistics of business operations be collected and published quarterly.
  • The law imposes a joint obligation on corporations to respond and on the U.S. Census Bureau to maintain the confidentiality of information reported.
  • The law also specifies penalties for noncompliance and for disclosure by the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • No data are published that could reveal the identity or activities of any specific corporation.
  • Individual QFR questionnaires cannot be used for the purposes of taxation, investigation, or regulation.
  • The law also affords this full protection of confidentiality to the file copy of a Census questionnaire that is retained by the respondent.

Frequency

  • The QFR survey is conducted quarterly.
  • Corporations report for each of their fiscal quarters, and are included in published calendar quarter estimates depending on the month their books are closed.
  • QFR data are released for the calendar quarter approximately 75 days after the end of the first, second, and third calendar quarters,
    and approximately 90 days after the end of the fourth calendar quarter.
  • The extended fourth quarter is to accommodate annual reporting obligations and include holiday sales.
  • The following table displays the four reporting quarters by industry sector in terms of the month in which any selected corporation's fiscal quarter ends:
QFR Quarter Manufacturing, Mining, Wholesale Trade, and Selected Service Industries Retail Trade
First January, February, or March February, March, or April
Second April, May, or June May, June, or July
Third July, August, or September August, September, or October
Fourth October, November, or December November, December, or January


Methods

  • QFR utilizes a mail-out/mail-back survey.
  • Approximately 4,600 large corporations in manufacturing, mining, trade, and selected service industries are mailed a long form.
  • Approximately 5,000 selected small- and medium-sized manufacturing corporations are mailed a short form.
  • The sample frame of firms is updated annually from Federal income tax records.
  • Using the tax data, corporations are selected by stratified random sample, with strata by industry and asset size.
  • Data for manufacturing corporations with assets between $250,000 and $250 million are estimated from a sample panel.
  • Each quarter, one-eighth of the sample panel is replaced. Corporations selected in the sample report for 8 quarters.

Products

  • A press release is issued concurrent with each QFR data release, summarizing the results contained within the publication.
  • Press releases are issued in both PDF and Excel formats, and are available on this web site in Historical Data.
  • Each QFR publication includes information on the most recently closed quarters for manufacturing, mining, wholesale trade, and selected service industries, and the prior quarters for retail trade.
  • Information on the most recently closed quarters for retail trade are available in the quarterly press releases, and in the fourth quarter QFR publication,
    where the 90-day schedule permits synchronized presentation.
  • Publications are issued in both PDF and Excel formats, and are available on this web site in Historical Data.
  • Historical QFR data are available in Excel format on this web site in Historical Data.

Uses of the Data

  • The QFR data are a primary source for current estimates of corporate profits for the Nation's Gross Domestic Income Accounts.
  • QFR data are widely used by government agencies, domestic and foreign businesses, financial analysts, researchers, trade associations, and banking institutions.
  • Uses include assessing industrial debt structure, liquidity, and profitability; estimating corporate tax liability; designing economic policies and drafting legislation;
    making investment evaluations; and studying economic trends.

RELATED PRODUCTS

Enterprise Statistics

Business Expenses Supplement (formerly Business Expenses Survey)

Annual Survey of Manufactures

Monthly M3 Survey

Annual Retail Trade Survey

Monthly Retail Trade Survey

Annual Trade Survey

Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey

Annual Capital Expenditures Survey

Investment Plans Survey (discontinued 1996; formerly the Plant and Equipment Survey)

Economic Census


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