Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Consumer Expenditure Surveys
PRINT:Print
CE CES Program Links

Personal Consumption Expenditures

Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) includes a measure of consumer spending on goods and services among households in the U.S. The PCE is used as a mechanism to gauge how much earned income of households is being spent on current consumption for various goods and services.

Website

https://www.bea.gov/data/consumer-spending/main
Release Schedule Monthly

Data Source

Data are sourced from several statistical reports. These reports come from various government agencies, administrative and regulatory agencies, and other private organizations.

Data Type

Estimates
Collection Unit PCE utilizes data sourced for other agencies and organizations that measure the goods and services purchased by households and nonprofit institutions serving households (NPISHs) who are resident in the United States.

Sample Characteristics

The sample represents households and nonprofit institutions serving households. The sample also includes expenditures of the institutionalized population, domestic military personnel living on post, federal military and civilian personnel stationed abroad regardless of the length of their assignments, and US citizens who are employees of US businesses working abroad for less than one year and whose usual residence is in the United States. Also included are expenditures by those who died during the year.

Notable Sample Exclusions

Excluded from PCE are expenditures of students, temporary workers, and foreign nationals residing in the United States who are employees of international organizations and other countries.

Methodology

https://www.bea.gov/sites/default/files/methodologies/nipa-handbook-all-chapters.pdf#page=90

Data Comparison

The Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CE) estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the PCE from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) are two of the leading sources of household expenditure data in the United States. While the two measures have similar goals, their approaches are vastly different, resulting in significantly different accounts of consumer spending.

As seen in Chart 1 below, estimates of annual aggregates from the CE have historically shown to be significantly lower than that of the PCE, with CE aggregates ranging from 48 to 65 percent of the PCE estimates. This deviation is directly attributed to coverage, definitional, and measurement differences associated with each product. For more information on these differences, please see Understanding the Relationship: CE Survey and PCE.

Looking closer at just comparable categories between the two products, service expenditure aggregates have historically aligned much closer than estimates of goods. Overall, for both all items and comparable items, services and non-durables have been relatively stable over time, while durables have displayed larger changes year-to-year. For more information on these detailed expenditure ratios, please see the PCE tab in CE data comparisons. For more information on how items for each product were aligned for this comparison, please see the crosswalk listed in the supporting documentation below.


Methodology and Concordance:

The PCE data comparison is developed using a concordance of CE and PCE categories, which identifies comparable categories in each of the three major groups of expenditures - durables, nondurables, and services. The concordance 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 detailed concordance is occasionally updated to account for changes in both the CE and PCE. UCCs have been assigned to PCE series based on expert judgment by staff from the CE program. Please see the PCE Concordance file listed in the supporting documentation below for more details.

Supporting Documentation

  • CE data comparisons (XLSX)
  • Concordance Mapping of CE UCC Codes to PCE Series from Table 2.4.5U: Expenditures by Type of Product (XLSX)
  • Understanding the Relationship: CE Survey and PCE (Abstract) (PDF)
  • Strengths and Weaknesses of the Consumer Expenditure Survey from a BLS Perspective (PDF)

  • Last Modified Date: May 17, 2022