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The Quarterly Services Survey (QSS) is the only source of service industry indicator performance providing timely estimates of revenue and expenses for selected service industries. The United States Code, Title 13, authorizes this survey and provides for voluntary responses.
The QSS has covered the following industries since the fourth quarter of 2003: Sector 51 (Information); 54 (Professional, Scientific, and Technical Sector), and 56 (Administrative and Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services). In the fourth quarter of 2004 Hospitals (NAICS 622) and Nursing and Residential Care Facilities (NAICS 623) were added to the survey coverage.
The QSS is a principal economic indicator series that produces, for selected service industries, quarterly estimates of total operating revenue and the percentage of revenue by class of customer (government, business, consumers, and individuals). The survey also produces estimates of total operating expenses from tax-exempt firms in industries that have a large not-for-profit component. In addition, for hospital services, the survey estimates the number of inpatient days and discharges.
The Quarterly Services survey is conducted quarterly with the mail out occurring at the end of each calendar quarter. The survey form is due 14 days after the end of the reference period. A new sample will be selected about every five years. The QSS is released online, every 75 days, after each calendar quarter. The QSS is a sub-sample of the Service Annual Survey (SAS).
The sample includes approximately 5,000 service businesses with paid employees that operate in the covered sectors. Those in the sample can choose to respond though mail, fax, internet reporting, or by telephone. In order to be eligible for the list sample, service businesses must be in the Business Register (BR), which contains all Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) for listed businesses and locations of multi-establishment companies. EINs may represent one or more establishments, and firms may have one or more EINs.
The sample is updated quarterly to reflect births and deaths, adding new employer businesses identified in the Business and Professional Classification Survey, and deleting firms and EINs that are no longer active. During interim periods, service non-employers and businesses are represented by administrative records data or imputed values.
Quarterly Services Survey reports are available approximately 75 days following the end of each quarter. The first publication was released on September 13, 2004 and included data for the fourth quarter of 2003 and the first two quarters of 2004. In addition, each year, benchmark reports are released using the results of the latest Service Annual Survey (SAS). Future plans for the QSS include publishing seasonally adjusted data for selected industries.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is the primary Federal user of data collected in the QSS. The BEA utilizes this timely data to make improvements to the national accounts for service industries. In the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA), the quarterly data allow more accurate estimates of both Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) and private fixed investment. Quarterly revenue data from the QSS are also used to produce estimates of gross output by industry. This allows BEA to produce an earlier version of the gross domestic product (GDP) by industry estimates.
QSS estimates also provide the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) and Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) with timely information on current economic performance.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) use the QSS data to develop hospital-spending estimates in the National Accounts. In addition, the QSS data improves their ability to analyze hospital-spending trends. They also use the data in their healthcare indicator analysis publication; ten-year health spending forecast estimates; and studies in hospital regulation and Medicare policy, procedures, and trends.
The QSS provides the most timely data on revenue produced within service industries.