Skip Main Navigation Skip To Navigation Content

Survey of Plant Capacity Utilization

You are here: Census.govBusiness & IndustryManufacturingSurvey of Plant Capacity Utilization › About the Surveys
Skip top of page navigation

About the Surveys


The purpose of the Quarterly Survey of Plant Capacity Utilization (QPC) is to provide quarterly statistics on the rates of capacity utilization for the U.S. manufacturing and publishing sectors.


Manufacturing and publishing establishments with 5 or more production workers.


The QPC survey collects statistics on establishment operational status, value of actual production, estimated production attainable at full and emergency conditions, and reasons for operating at less than full production capacity. The survey also collects data on work patterns by shift. These data include days per week in operation, plant hours per week in operation, and weeks in operation in the quarter.


The QPC is conducted quarterly. It began as a pilot in 2007 and has continued since that time..


The Survey of Plant Capacity Utilization includes approximately 7,500 manufacturing and publishing establishments selected from the Economic Census. Establishments are selected with probabilities proportionate to their value of shipments within each industry.


A report is released approximately 80 days from the completion of the quarter and displays capacity rates at 95 industry group levels defined by the survey sponsors. The rates are based on approximately 70% response.


The Federal Reserve Board benchmarks monthly estimates of capacity output and utilization. In addition, analyze the change in use of capital, capital stocks and inputs related to capacity growth. The Department of Defense uses the data to assess readiness to meet demand for goods under selected national emergency scenarios.


The survey is the only source of quarterly statistics on U.S. industrial capacity.

[PDF] or PDF denotes a file in Adobe’s Portable Document Format. To view the file, you will need the Adobe® Reader® Off Site available free from Adobe. [Excel] or the letters [xls] indicate a document is in the Microsoft® Excel® Spreadsheet Format (XLS). To view the file, you will need the Microsoft® Excel® Viewer Off Site available for free from Microsoft®.

This symbol Off Site indicates a link to a non-government web site. Our linking to these sites does not constitute an endorsement of any products, services or the information found on them. Once you link to another site you are subject to the policies of the new site.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Survey of Plant Capacity Utilization | (301) 763-4667 |  Last Revised: June 22, 2012