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.
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.
Last Modified Date: October 19, 2021