Business Expenses

You are here: Census.govBusiness & IndustryBusiness Expenses › About the Survey
Skip top of page navigation

About the 2007 Business Expenses Supplement (BES)

Purpose: To compile statistics on business operating expenses. The United States Code, Title 13, authorizes this program as part of the Economic Census.

Coverage: Currently, the Business Expenses Supplement (BES) covers the following:

  • Wholesale Distributors (North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 42, part)
  • Retail Trade (NAICS 44-45)
  • Accommodation and Food Services (NAICS 72)

Previously covered by the predecessor Business Expenses Survey, expenses data coverage of most industries in the service sector as of 2005 is part of the Service Annual Survey. Expenses data for manufacturing, mining, and construction sectors are covered in respective parts of the Economic Census.

Content: All sampled businesses in the BES are asked to provide data on total and detailed operating expenses for the year covered.

Frequency: Every five years coinciding with the collection of the Economic Census (generally years ending in "2" and "7"). Data collection begins in January following the census year. Reported data are requested for the calendar year. A new sample of businesses is introduced every five years.

Methods: Data for the BES are collected as a supplement to the Annual Surveys of Retail Trade (including Accommodation and Food Services), and Wholesale Trade. These mail-out/mail-back surveys cover about 29,000 retail, accommodation and food services, and merchant wholesale businesses with paid employees. See the link How the Data are Collected for details on survey methodology.

Products and Release Dates: Tabulation of detailed expenses

  • July 2009 - Preliminary data
  • First Quarter 2010 - Revised preliminary data
  • First Quarter 2011 - Final data benchmarked to the 2007 Economic Census

Summary tables with detailed business expenses data will be released on the Internet in conjunction with the release of sales, purchases, and inventories data in the 2007 from the 2007 Annual Surveys of Retail Trade, Accommodations and Food Services, and Wholesale Trade. Data are published by NAICS at the national level only.

Uses: Business expenses data are used routinely by government program officials, particularly the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis which uses the data for the Nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates and in developing the National Accounts input-output tables. Other users of business expenses data include market researchers, economic analysts, academics and business owners.

Special Features: The BES provides the only reliable National data on detailed business expenses by kind of business for covered industries.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Business Expenses | (888) 211-5946 |  Last Revised: March 02, 2012