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Information & Communication Technology Survey

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Supplemental to the current Annual Capital Expenditure Survey (ACES), the Information and Communication Technology Survey (ICTS) collects data on non-capitalized and capitalized business spending for information and communication technology (ICT) equipment and computer software. The United States Code, Title 13, authorizes this survey and provides for mandatory responses.


All domestic, private, non-farm, including agricultural non-farm (NAICS Subsectors 113, 114 and 115) 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. All businesses falling in the remaining sectors are covered.


The ICT survey collects industry-level data for two equipment categories of non-capitalized expenses (purchases and operating leases/rental payments) and two software categories of non-capitalized expenses (purchases and licensing and software service/maintenance agreements). In addition to non-capitalized expenses, the ICTS also collects data for capital expenditures of equipment and software.

There are four types of ICT equipment and software (computer and peripheral equipment; ICT equipment excluding computers and peripherals; electromedical and electrotherapeutic apparatus; and computer software (including payroll for developing software) included in this survey. Companies report data for industries in which they operate and incur non-capitalized and capitalized expenses. Industries in the survey are comprised of 3-digit and selected 4-digit North American Industry Classification System codes.


Data collection begins in mid-March and continues for 8 months; data are for activities in the prior calendar year. Data has been collected annually beginning with data for 2003. Due to the suspension of ICTS in May 2013, data for survey year 2012 are not available. The program was reinstated in January 2014 and estimates will be available for survey year 2013.


For the 2011 and prior ICTS data collection; the Census Bureau used mail-out/mail-back survey forms to collect data. Due to budgetary constraints in 2013, the Census Bureau suspended the 2012 ICTS. However, funds were appropriated for fiscal year 2014 allowing the Census Bureau to reinstate the ICTS for the 2013 survey year. The Census Bureau collected data primarily through electronic reporting. To operate within funding levels provided for FY15, the Census Bureau suspended the 2014 ICTS. The ICTS sample consists of approximately 46,000 companies with 1 or more employees.

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.

The Business Register is updated continuously based on new information from Census Bureau programs and administrative records of other agencies. Business Register 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.


Information and Communication Technology reports provide survey results about 13 months after each reference year. The reports provide statistics on the aggregate and sector-level non-capitalized expenses, by type of expenditure. In addition, they summarize findings, describe survey background and concepts, and explain sample and estimation methods.


The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Federal Reserve Board, Bureau of Labor Statistics and industry analysts use these data to evaluate future productivity and economic growth prospects. In addition, the proposed survey provides improved source data significant to the BEA's investment component of gross domestic product, estimates of capital stock and capital flow, and permits the reconciliation of important differences between reported production and consumption of technology. In addition, industry analysts and businesses use the ICT data for market analysis, economic forecasting, product development, and business planning.


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Economic Census




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