Personal Consumption Expenditures by Function (ICPSR 36279)

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United States Department of Commerce. Bureau of Economic Analysis

This is an external resource to which ICPSR links as a courtesy. These data are not available from ICPSR. Users should consult the data owners (via Personal Consumption Expenditures by Function) directly for details on obtaining these resources.

Collected by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), personal consumption expenditures (PCE) is the primary measure of consumer spending on goods and services in the United States economy. It accounts for about two-thirds of domestic final spending, and thus it is the primary engine that drives future economic growth. PCE shows how much of the income earned by households is being spent on current consumption as opposed to how much is being saved for future consumption.

PCE also provides a comprehensive measure of types of goods and services that are purchased by households. Thus, for example, it shows the portion of spending that is accounted for by discretionary items, such as motor vehicles, or the adjustments that consumers make to changes in prices, such as a sharp run-up in gasoline prices. Further, Personal Consumption Expenditures by Function contain classifications that identify the purposes of objectives for which expenditures are made. In the U.S. National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs), functional breakdowns of expenditures are provided for PCE by Function. NIPAs are a set of accounts that provides a logical and consistent framework for presenting statistics on U.S. economic activity. See Chapter 2 of the NIPA Handbook for further details regarding PCE by Function and NIPAs.

In addition, the PCE by Function features several spending categories of arts-related goods and services, including the following items:

Membership clubs, sports centers, parks, theaters, and museums

  • Amusements parks, campgrounds, and related recreational services
  • Admissions to specified spectator amusements, such as motion picture theaters, live entertainment, and spectator sports
  • Museums and libraries

Sports and recreational goods and related services

  • Sports and recreational vehicles

Magazines, newspapers, books, and stationery

Photographic goods and services

The PCE estimates are available monthly, so they can provide an early indication of the course of economic activity in the current quarter. For example, the PCE estimates for January are released at the end of February, and the estimates for February are released at the end of March; the advance estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter are released at the end of April. The PCE estimates are an integral part of the NIPAs.

Data for PCE by Function are available for years 1929-2014. To view expenditures by function on the BEA Web site, users are encouraged to go to Summary NIPA Tables from the Consumer Spending page. The Summary Tables are located under the Estimates tab. On the Summary NIPA Tables page, users can view the PCE by Function Tables 2.5.3., 2.5.4., 2.5.5., and 2.5.6. under "Section 2 - Personal Income and Outlays." Users can interact with the data and choose the years they wish to view (e.g. 1999-2013). Spreadsheets can be downloaded from the Download NIPA Tables page.

These data are not available from NADAC. Users should consult the BEA Web site for details on obtaining the data and other resources. Also, users are encouraged to explore the available resources under the Methodologies tab on the Consumer Spending page.

Before using the data, users are strongly encouraged to review the appropriate chapters of the NIPA Handbook. Users can find details regarding PCE by Function in Chapters 2 and 5.

For further information or assistance regarding PCE by Function, users may email to: