Comparing expenditures from the Consumer Expenditure Survey with the Personal Consumer Expenditures: Results of the CE/PCE Concordance

This article and accompanying spreadsheets present a new comparison of aggregate expenditures from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) and the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) component of the National Income and Product Accounts produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). It updates the estimates presented in the summary comparison table dated 11/28/11 previously posted on the website. The new table shows annual CE and PCE estimates from 2005 through 2010. It uses the most current version of the PCE, dated July 27, 2012.

Results:

Ratios for comparable item categories, adjusted for population coverage differences between the CE and PCE, ranged from 0.76 to 0.80 over the 2005–2010 time period. Employing the revised concordance in this table added about one percentage point to the annual CE-to-PCE ratio for comparable items for 2005-09 as previously reported in the 11/28/11 table. The ratios for 2010 showed a divergence as the 2010 CE indicated falling expenditures due to the recession while the PCE showed an increase in personal consumption.

PCE estimates for 2009 also changed since the production of the earlier comparison table. BEA introduced this revision when 2011 PCE data were released at the end of July this year. Typically PCE data from the two years prior to the release year are revised at the time of the release.

  • Table 1. Summary comparison of aggregate Consumer Expenditures (CE) and Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE), based on 2002 Benchmark and restricted to the most comparable categories on the basis of concepts involved and comprehensiveness, 2005 - 2010 (Preliminary) - PCE values as of 7/27/12 - Revised 09/24/2012 (XLS)
Methodology and Concordance:

The estimates reflect the impact of a revised concordance of CE and PCE categories, such that the composition of comparable categories has changed in each of the three major groups of expenditures - durables, nondurables, and services. The concordance, which is based on joint work by BEA, the Consumer Price Index, the Division of Price Index Number Research, and CE staff, matches CE item categories (UCCs) to the PCE categories presented in the underlying detail table 2.4.5U Personal Consumption Expenditures by Type of Product on the BEA website.

The new September 2012 detailed concordance (XLS) used to produce the comparison is available on the CE website.

It refines the earlier concordance that was used in deriving the comparison tables presented at the Conference on Income and Wealth CRIW sessions on December 2-3, 2011. For details of the conference presentation, see http://conference.nber.org/confer/2011/CRIWf11/CRIWf11prg.html.

The detailed concordance will never remain static. The September 2012 concordance and calculated results are based on the PCE 2002 Benchmark. Allocation rates and comparable categories will change when the PCE moves to a 2007 Benchmark, and whenever the CPI and CE create new items.

In many cases, allocations within categories are assigned based on expert judgment by staff from the associated programs who worked on the joint concordance. These allocations will continue to be reviewed.

 

Last Modified Date: October 4, 2012