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Capital Expenditures Rise 14 Percent to Record High in 2006

     Capital spending by all U.S. businesses rose 14.3 percent to a record high $1.31 trillion in 2006, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This represents a $165 billion increase from the $1.14 trillion in capital spending reported in 2005 and surpasses the previous high of $1.16 trillion in 2000.

     These data come from the Census Bureau's 2008 Capital Spending Report: U.S. Capital Spending Patterns, 1999 - 2006 [PDF]. This report provides historical data on capital spending based on the Annual Capital Expenditures Survey. This survey collects information on expenditures for new and used structures and equipment by U.S. nonfarm businesses with and without paid employees. Data at the sector level are available only for employer businesses.

     Mining accounted for nearly 21 percent of the growth in total investment spending in 2006. Among all sectors, mining had the largest increase in investment spending ($67.7 billion or 221.5 percent) between 1999 and 2006. Mining also saw the largest increase in its share of total capital spending (as compared to all other sectors) during this period, up 5 percentage points.

     Four of the 19 economic sectors accounted for more than 48 percent of all capital expenditures of employer businesses in 2006: manufacturing (15.7 percent), finance and insurance (13.9 percent), real estate and rental and leasing (10.1 percent), and information (8.6 percent).

     The finance and insurance sector had the second-largest increase in investment spending ($39.3 billion or 30.2 percent) from 1999 to 2006. In 2006, investment spending in the sector reached $169.4 billion, a new high for the period.

     Investment spending in the manufacturing sector increased by $25.4 billion from 2005 to 2006. The sector's share of total spending in 2006 (15.7 percent) held steady at the 2005 level. Overall, however, investment spending in this sector declined $5.4 billion (2.7 percent) from 1999 to 2006.

     The information sector saw an overall decline of $18.2 billion (14.8 percent) in investment spending from 1999 to 2006. In 2006, however, the sector's investment spending reached $104.6 billion, the highest level recorded since 2001.

     Other findings include:

  • Annual investment spending on new and used structures by all U.S. businesses rose from $320.1 billion in 1999 to $490.3 billion in 2006, a $170.2 billion (or 53.2 percent) increase; $88.7 billion of this increase occurred between 2005 and 2006.
  • Annual investment spending on new and used equipment by all U.S. businesses rose from $726.9 billion in 1999 to $819.1 billion in 2006, a $92.2 billion (or 12.7 percent) increase; $76.0 billion (or more than 80 percent) of this increase occurred between 2005 and 2006.
The estimates in this report are based on data from the Annual Capital Expenditures Survey (ACES). The ACES estimates are based on a stratified random sample of approximately 46,000 companies with employees and approximately 15,000 companies without employees.

Data in the annual ACES reports are subject to sampling variability as well as nonsampling errors. Sources of nonsampling error include errors of response, nonreporting and coverage. More details concerning the ACES survey design, methodology and data limitations are included in the annual report, which is available online at <www.census.gov/econ/aces/>.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: February 10, 2014