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Census Bureau Reports Business Investment Held Steady at $1.38 Trillion in 2008

     U.S. businesses spent $1.38 trillion on new and used structures and equipment in 2008, of which $1.29 trillion, or 93.7 percent, was spent on new structures and equipment, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. These figures were nearly the same in 2007.

     These findings come from the Annual Capital Expenditures Survey (ACES), which measures capital investment in new and used structures and equipment by nonfarm businesses. The data for 2008, as in all years ending in “3” or “8,” provide additional information for companies with employees by types of structures and equipment (i.e., machinery, furniture and computers).

     Expenditures for new and used structures totaled $565.2 billion in 2008, an annual increase of $40.0 billion, or 7.6 percent. Of that total, $525.8 billion or 93.0 percent was spent on new structures. Spending on new and used equipment totaled $809.9 billion, 94.2 percent of which was for new equipment. In 2008, total equipment spending was down $19.6 billion from 2007.

     Companies with employees accounted for $1.30 trillion, or 94.2 percent of total capital spending in 2008. Companies without employees accounted for $79.7 billion in capital spending.

     Of the 19 sectors covered by the survey, four had increases in spending in 2008, five had decreases in spending, and 10 sectors showed no statistically significant change in spending from 2007. (See table 1 [PDF 24k].)

The estimates in this report are based on data from the Annual Capital Expenditures Survey (ACES). The ACES estimates are based on a stratified random sample of about 46,000 companies with employees and about 15,000 companies without employees.

Data in the annual ACES reports are subject to sampling variability as well as nonsampling errors. Sources of nonsampling error include errors of response, nonreporting and coverage. More details concerning the ACES survey design, methodology and data limitations are included in the annual report. ACES data dating back to 1999, the first year the data were collected under the North American Industry Classification System, are available online at <>.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | | Last Revised: September 09, 2014