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Annual Capital Expenditures Survey

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To provide broad-based statistics on business spending for new and used structures and equipment. United States Code, Title 13, authorizes this survey and provides for mandatory responses. The survey is also referred to as the ACES program.


All domestic, private, non-farm businesses, including agricultural non-farm (NAICS Subsectors 113, 114 and 115) including nonemployer businesses. Major exclusions are foreign operations of U.S. businesses, businesses in U.S. territories, government operations (including the U.S. Postal Service), agricultural production companies, and private households.


Basic data for each year include expenditures on new and used structures and equipment. Also, every five years, for years ending in "3" and "8", detailed data by types of structures and types of equipment have been collected from companies with employees. In 2010, it was decided that this detailed data should be collected for years ending in "2" and "7" beginning in 2013, to align with the years in which the Economic Census is conducted.


Data collection begins about 3 months after the end of each year and continues for 9 months; data are for activities in the prior calendar year. Basic annual data have been supplemented on a 5-year cycle since 2003, for years ending in "3" and "8, providing detailed data by types of structures and types of equipment for companies with employees. In 2010, it was decided that this detailed data should be collected for years ending in "2" and "7" beginning in 2013, to align with the years in which the Economic Census is conducted.


For the 2012 and prior ACES data collection; the Census Bureau used mail out/mail back survey forms to collect data. For the 2013 ACES, the Census Bureau collected data from employer companies primarily through electronic reporting and continued to use mail out/mail back survey forms to collect data from nonemployer companies. The Census Bureau will collect all 2014 ACES data from employer companies and nonemployer companies primarily through electronic reporting. The ACES sample consists of approximately 46,000 companies with 1 or more employees and 30,000 companies with no paid employees. For the 2007 and prior ACES data collection, the nonemployer sample was approximately 15,000. Larger companies are selected each year from the updated Business Register (BR); all companies with at least 500 paid employees are included in the survey; and smaller companies with employees are stratified by industry and payroll size and selected randomly by strata. Companies without employees are selected randomly without regard to industry classification.

The BR is updated continuously based on new information from Census Bureau programs and administrative records of other agencies. BR establishment-level data are consolidated to create company information for sampling purposes. Separate industry categories are 3- or 4-digit NAICS industries developed on the basis of the aggregate value of capital expenditures and the reportability of detailed expenditures information. Published data are weighted totals for all covered businesses, adjusted for companies that do not respond, and accompanied by standard error information.


Annual Capital Expenditures reports provide capital expenditures data about 12 months after each reference year. The reports provide statistics on capital expenditures for new and used structures and equipment in all ACES industry categories. In addition, they summarize findings, describe survey background and concepts, and explain sample and estimation methods.


Data on the amount of business expenditures for new plant and equipment and measures of the stock of existing facilities are critical to evaluate productivity growth, the ability of U.S. business to compete with foreign business, changes in industrial capacity, and measures of overall economic performance. In addition, ACES data provide industry analysts with capital expenditure data for market analysis, economic forecasting, identifying business opportunities, developing new and strategic plans. The ACES is an integral part of the Federal Government's effort to improve and supplement ongoing statistical programs. The Census Bureau uses the data to improve estimates of the value of new construction put in place. The Bureau of Economic Analysis uses the data to refine annual estimates of investment in structures and equipment in the national income and product accounts, and to improve estimates of capital stocks. The Federal Reserve Board uses the data to improve estimates of investment indicators for monetary policy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses the data to improve estimates of capital stocks for productivity analysis. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services use the data for monitoring and evaluating healthcare industries. The Department of the Treasury uses the data to analyze of depreciation. Private companies, organizations such as the National Association of Business Economists and National Association of Manufactures, educators and students and economic researchers use the survey results for analyzing and conducting impact evaluations on past and current economic performance, short-term economic forecasts, productivity, long-term economic growth, tax policy, capacity utilization, business fixed capital stocks and capital formation, domestic and international competitiveness trade policy, market research, and financial analysis.


ACES provides the only comprehensive estimates of annual U.S. capital expenditures data covering all domestic non-farm businesses and detailing investments by type and industry.


Investment Plans Survey (discontinued; formerly the Plant and Equipment Survey)

Value of Construction Put in Place

Pollution Abatement Costs and Expenditures Products

Business Expenditures Survey  (formerly the Assets and Expenditures Survey)

Enterprise Statistics (discontinued 1992)

Economic Census




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