Business Expenses Supplement

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Formerly the Business Expenses Survey


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


  • Retail Trade (NAICS 44-45)
  • Accommodation and Food Services (NAICS 72)
  • Wholesale Distributors excluding Manufacturers’ Sales Branches and Offices (NAICS 42, part)

NAICS is the North American Industry Classification System

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.


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


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.


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 to HOW SURVEYS ARE COLLECTED for details on survey methodology.


Tabulation of detailed expenses data for Wholesale Distributors, Retail Trade, and Accommodation and Food Services compiled in this program have planned release dates as follows:

  • July 2009 - Preliminary data
  • December 2010 - Final data benchmarked to the 2007 Economic Census
  • 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 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. Select Retail Trade (NAICS 44-45) and Accommodation and Food Services (NAICS 72) sector tables are released jointly and as individual tables according to the data item availability.


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.


Provides the only reliable National data on detailed business expenses by kind of business for covered industries.


Annual Retail Trade Survey

Annual Wholesale Trade Survey

Service Annual Survey

Economic Census




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