Introduction to IMPLAN Data and Data Sources


IMPLAN's annual datasets provide a complete set of balanced Social Accounting Matrices (SAMs) for every zip-code, county, and state in the U.S. These SAMs provide a complete picture of the economy and can be used to generate predictive input-output (I-O) multipliers for estimating economic impacts.

Generating the annual IMPLAN data involves many raw data sources at varying levels of Industry and geographic detail, sometimes with differing definitional frameworks, and most with non-disclosures. Constructing a complete IMPLAN dataset therefore entails gathering data from the various sources, estimating non-disclosed values, disaggregating into finer Industry and geographic detail, adjusting for undercoverage, and projecting lagged values, all the while controlling estimated values to known totals or other more accurate or recent data to maintain accuracy. IMPLAN adds value to publicly available data by:

  1. Providing estimates for non-disclosed data
  2. Providing estimates for non-census and non-survey years
  3. Disaggregating to finer geographic scales
  4. Disaggregating into finer Industry detail
  5. Projecting lagged raw data

Additionally, IMPLAN provides inter-county Trade Flow data, for which there is no comprehensive raw data source. This is done using a calibrated and doubly-constrained gravity model. These trade flow data (along with commuting data) allow for estimating local purchasing behavior - a critical component of impact analysis and identifying market opportunities, among other uses.

This article describes the timeline for IMPLAN data releases and provides a high-level overview of the data sources used to construct each annual IMPLAN dataset. Read Constructing the IMPLAN SAM for more information about how IMPLAN constructs balanced SAMs for these various geographies.


IMPLAN data is updated annually, but the 'current' data year lags behind the current calendar year. New data sets are released around the end of each calendar year and are a little more than a year behind that calendar year (e.g. 2021 was available at the end of 2022 and 2022 data was available around the end of 2023).

The reason for this lag is that the raw data sources used to generate IMPLAN annual datasets do not become available until early June of the following year. Once the data sources become available, our Ph.D. economists and data developers begin compiling and converting this information into our unique IMPLAN data products.


The Bureau of Economic Analysis’ (BEA) Benchmark I-O Tables are the primary source for IMPLAN’s Industry Scheme. However, IMPLAN has developed techniques to maintain a larger list of Industries than currently available from BEA data.

The BEA I-O tables are released every 5 years and provide detailed statistics on economic processes and relationships and essential information for other economic accounts. Specifically, the BEA I-O tables provide information about the inputs that Industries use to produce their Output as well as the Commodities that are produced by each Industry.


The Commodities that an Industry buys per dollar of Output is known as the production function or the Absorption Matrix. The Absorption Matrix contains coefficients of inputs used in making one unit of output. Given that the BEA I-O table provides information about the inputs that Industries use to produce their Output, they are also the primary source for IMPLAN’s Intermediate Input data.

Although the Absorption Matrix of a given Industry will only be revised using new BEA Benchmark data (which occurs only every 5 years), the value of the absorption coefficients change slightly from year to year as they are forced to new Industry Output and Value Added totals each year. More information about this process can be found in Intermediate Input Data. IMPLAN developed a few industries utilizing other sources of data for which the BEA did not have data.


In IMPLAN, Output or Total Industry Output (TIO) is the value of production that occurred during the calendar year. For Industries other than wholesale and retail, TIO can also be described as annual revenues plus net inventory change. Most Output data is from the BEA's Annual Industry Accounts and the Annual Survey of Manufactures. Depending on the Industry, IMPLAN uses a variety of other data sources to estimate Output. These include data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Retail Trade, the USDA's NASS, ERS, and Census of Agriculture, and the Energy Information Administration, among others. More detailed information can be found in Industry Output Data.


Industry Value Added (VA) is a measure of an Industry’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is the difference between an Industry’s total Output and the costs of its Intermediate Inputs. VA has four components: Employee Compensation (EC), Proprietor Income (PI), Other Property Income (OPI), and Taxes on Production and Imports net of subsidies (TOPI).

At the national-level, annual Value Added control values (i.e., without Industry specificity) come from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA) tables. This data serves as the governing controls for all IMPLAN Industry-level and sub-national Value Added data. More detailed information can be found in Industry Value Added Data.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Census of Employment and Wages (CEW) data serve as the primary source for Wage and Salary Employment and Income estimates for most IMPLAN Industries. The CEW data, however, do not fully cover some industries, in which cases IMPLAN turns to other data sources. In some cases, IMPLAN uses other data sources to boost the CEW data to account for undercoverage and in other cases IMPLAN uses an entirely different data source. More information about the data sources and processes can be found in Employment and Labor Income Data Sources.

For Proprietor Employment and Income, the BEA's Regional Economic Accounts (REA) data serve as the primary data source. The BEA REA data also provides ratios of Employee Compensation to Wage and Salary Income, which is then applied to IMPLAN CEW Wage and Salary Income estimates to yield current Employee Compensation estimates. More information about the data sources and processes related to proprietors can be found in Proprietor Income Data.


Taxes on Production and Imports Net of Subsidies (TOPI) is a component of Value Added that consists of the sales taxes, excise taxes, customs duties, property taxes, motor vehicle licenses, severance taxes, other taxes, and special assessments remitted to the Government by Industries.

IMPLAN’s TOPI by Industry estimates rely on several data sources, including the USDA ERS’ Agriculture Resource Management Survey (ARMS), the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ (BEA) Regional Economic Accounts (REA), the BEA’s National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA) tables, and the BEA’s Benchmark Input-Output (I-O) tables. More information about the data sources and processes related to TOPI can be found in Taxes on Production and Imports Net of Subsidies Data.


Other Property Income (OPI) is a component of Value Added (VA) that represents gross operating surplus less proprietor’s income. Even at the national-level , there is no raw data source for OPI separate from PI; rather, it is published only within the more-aggregate measure known as Gross Operating Surplus (GOS), which is the sum of OPI and PI. Nonetheless, because OPI is a component of Value Added and IMPLAN has estimates for the other components of VA, as well as for Intermediate Inputs (II) and Output, IMPLAN is able to estimate OPI by way of subtraction. Read more about this process in Other Property Income Data.



Household income and expenditure data come from a wide variety of sources, including the BEA National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA), BEA Regional Economic Accounts, BEA NIPA Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE), BLS Consumer Expenditures Survey (CES), the BEA Benchmark. among others. Read more about the data sources and the estimation process in Estimating Household Income and Expenditures.


Federal Government sales and expenditures data are estimated using NIPA control totals and the Benchmark I-O distribution, with the exception of the timber sales data, which come from the U.S. Forest Service.

Data for State and Local Government sales and revenues are obtained from a combination of the five-year Census of State and Local Government Finances, the Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances, and the Annual Survey of State Government Tax Collections. State and Local Government expenditures are estimated using NIPA control totals and the Benchmark I-O distribution.

More information about the data sources and procedures for Government data can be found in Estimating Administrative Government Sales and Revenue and Estimating Administrative Government Expenditures.


For the U.S., data for the foreign trade of commodities come from the Department of Commerce import and export trade data, which includes a concordance that maps the data to NAICS. Service trade is based on the BEA Benchmark I-O tables and controlled to current NIPA values. For sub-national regions, foreign imports are assumed to make up the same proportion of the region's demand as for the U.S.

There is no raw data source for county-to-county trade of goods and services on an origin-of-production basis. While some raw data exist on the domestic trade of some shippable commodities, these data are on an origin-of-movement basis1 and do not include the domestic trade of services. IMPLAN has developed a Gravity Model to estimate domestic trade flow data.

More information about the data sources and procedures for Trade data can be found in Estimating Trade Flows.



For manufacturing, the Annual Survey of Manufacturers provides the inventory data. Other Industries are derived from Benchmark I-O ratios.


IMPLAN uses current-year Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA) investment data by industry (aggregated at a high-level) making the investment and allocate that to more detailed industries according to the latest Benchmark I-O tables.


Enterprise is distributed based on estimated output for the region.

More information about the data sources and procedures for the Other Components of Final Demand can be found in Estimating Other Final Demand: Capital, Inventory, and Private Enterprise.


Video: IMPLAN Data Sources

BEA Article: Where do those numbers come from?


1The origin of movement can differ from the origin of production. For the purposes of economic impact modeling, the origin of production is of prime importance.


Written April 12, 2024