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2013 Capital Spending Report: U.S. Capital Spending Patterns 2002-2011

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Data in this report are from the Census Bureau's Annual Capital Expenditures Survey (ACES), which collects information on expenditures for new and used structures and equipment by all U.S. nonfarm businesses. The Capital Spending Report series covers spending by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industry sector in a ten-year moving window ending with the most recent ACES reference year— 2011 in the current report. However, linked background tables provide comparable NAICS industry data beginning in 1999. Estimates for penultimate years in each report are subject to revision.

The report looks closely at investment shares over time to see which are growing (shrinking) and, in theory, where firms and capital markets perceive the greatest economic opportunity. Annual spending estimates are not adjusted for inflation. This may affect the utility of year-to-year or longer-term comparisons of spending levels, especially when inflation rates are volatile and vary across industry groups and asset categories. However, with some exceptions (e.g., declines in information technology equipment prices, which may have a negative effect on investment totals in industries that invest heavily in IT equipment), comparisons of shares of overall investment across industry groups are less affected by inflation.

The ACES survey collects industry detail only for companies with employees; hence, estimates in the present report series of capital spending by industry are for employer businesses. On average, over the period 2002-2011, these firms accounted for about 93.0 percent of total annual structures and equipment spending by U.S. nonfarm businesses.

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General Highlights

Between 2002 and 2011, the period covered by this report, capital spending by U.S. nonfarm businesses increased from 2003 to 2007 and from 2010 to 2011. (Chart 1, Table 1a).

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Changes in the Composition of Investment by Type of Investment—Structures and Equipment

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Changes in Sector Level Spending—Selected Sectors, Companies with Employees

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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  • The following selected sectors registering the largest absolute increases in investment spending between 2002 and 2011 included mining (up $107.0 billion or 252.0 percent), manufacturing (up $36.1 billion or 23.0 percent), utilities (up $32.5 billion or 49.7 percent), transportation and warehousing (up $25.1 billion or 53.3 percent), and health care and social assistance (up $23.9 billion or 40.2 percent). (Chart 4, Table 2a)
  • The following selected sectors registering the largest absolute decreases in investment spending over the 2002-2011 period were finance and insurance (down $18.9 billion or 14.7 percent), and real estate and rental and leasing (down $3.4 billion or 3.6 percent). (Chart 4, Table 2a)
  • In 2011, five of the 19 industry sectors accounted for 56.4 percent of capital spending by U.S. employer businesses— manufacturing (16.8 percent), mining (13.0 percent), finance and insurance (9.5 percent), information (8.6 percent), and utilities (8.5 percent). In 2002, the same five sectors accounted for 52.5 percent of capital spending. (Table 3a)

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Changes in the Composition of Investment by Selected Industry Sector

  • Among the sectors experiencing the largest increases in their shares of total capital spending between 2002 and 2011 were mining (up 8.3 percentage points), utilities (up 1.4 percentage points) and transportation and warehousing (up 1.1 percentage points). (Chart 5, Table 3a)
  • Among the sectors experiencing the largest declines in their shares of total capital spending between 2002 and 2011 included finance and insurance (down 4.5 percentage points), real estate and rental and leasing (down 2.4 percentage points), information (down 1.0 percentage points), and construction (down 0.8 percentage points). (Chart 5, Table 3a)

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Sector-level Highlights

(Alphabetical Order)

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Accommodation and Food Services

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Administrative and Support and Waste Management

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Construction

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Educational Services

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Finance and Insurance

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Forestry, Fishing, and Agricultural Services

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Health Care and Social Assistance

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Information

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Management of Companies and Enterprises

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Manufacturing

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Mining

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Other Services (Except Public Administration)

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Real Estate and Rental and Leasing

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Retail Trade

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Transportation and Warehousing

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Utilities

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Wholesale Trade

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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*These data are subject to sampling/non-sampling error.

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Data User Notice posted August 9, 2016: Census Bureau staff identified a processing error that affects selected Relative Standard Errors (RSEs) from the Annual Capital Expenditures Survey (ACES). As a result, we have corrected the values in table 1c of the 2014 ACES publication and table 1d of the 2006–2013 ACES publications. This processing error did not affect other tables in these publications. Please refer to the individual publications for the revised RSE values for table 1b of the Capital Spending Report. 

Charts

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