Frequently Asked Questions

Guidelines for Citing BEA Information | ID: 130 | Created: Jan-17-2006

How do benchmark estimates differ from annual revisions or monthly "current" estimates?

The scope of the changes incorporated and the time span open to revision increases over the sequence of revisions to BEA’s GDP estimates—current estimates, annual revisions, and benchmarks.

  • Current estimates provide new or revised estimates for the prior quarter and incorporate newly available and revised source data as well as updated seasonal factors for some components.
  • Annual revisions focus primarily on statistical changes, which typically include new and revised source data for at least the prior 3 years and introduce new or improved estimating methodologies. Annual revisions may also include changes in definitions, classifications, and presentations, but these changes are more limited in scope than in a comprehensive revision. 
  • Benchmark, or comprehensive, revisions typically encompass a longer time span, incorporate the benchmark input-output accounts, and usually update the reference year used to calculate real estimates and price indexes. Comprehensive revisions incorporate the best and final source data for all of the components in the accounts and include changes in definitions, classifications, and presentations.

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