strsubcodechain National Accounts - Data and Methods
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Subjects > National Accounts

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Subject: National Accounts (USA special series)

Key statistical concept
OECD Quarterly National Accounts provide comparable macroeconomic data for countries on a quarterly basis. They are more timely than annual accounts and have a very important role in economic policy making. They provide timely indicators of economic developments and enable detailed analysis of the behaviour of economies around turning points in the business cycle. Annual accounts tend to hide the pattern of growth around turning points because peaks or troughs in economic activity generally cut across years.

Quarterly national accounts (QNA) feed directly into OECD's modelling, forecasting and analytical work and are widely used by outside researchers for the same purpose. They are, however, less detailed than annual accounts and not all series are available for all member countries. QNA are collected from countries on the basis of a standard questionnaire for European Member countries and on the basis of countries' own definitions and classifications for non-European Member countries. Most countries' quarterly accounts by 2015 should be consistent with the 2008 System of National Accounts (2008 SNA).

OECD quarterly national accounts comprise some area totals and a set of volume and price indices as well as time series from countries' quarterly national accounts for the following accounts:
- GDP by type of expenditure, by cost structure and by industry
- Gross fixed capital formation by product and by institutional sector
- Components of disposable income
- Saving and net lending/borrowing.

Recommended uses and limitations
National accounts data are taken from the OECD Quarterly National Accounts: They are based on each country's own system of national accounts. All OECD member countries compile data according to the SNA 1993, and by 2015 should have moved to SNA 2008.

Data for individual countries are seasonally adjusted growth and volume indices. Data are at market prices in national currency. Area total estimates are calculated by aggregating country data at price levels for a common year converted from national currencies by Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). Estimates are made by the Secretariat as part of the aggregation process.

Glossary Terms: National accounts