A government report — the Census Bureau’s Quarterly Services Survey (QSS) — that is becoming more and more consequential as a reliable indicator of the health of the U.S. economy was released Thursday morning. Here’s thefull report.
The report, which provides hard data on service spending and gives estimates of revenues at service-providing companies, found revenue up 0.8% in the U.S. information sector; 1.4% in professional, scientific, and technical services revenue; and 1.9% in U.S. administrative and support and waste management and remediation services revenue.
The QSS is starting to get notice as a must-follow in the world of economic data. In the first quarter of 2014, the report provided a key revision that dramatically shifted estimates of healthcare spending and GDP, while defying predictions the Affordable Care Act would lead to a massive increase in healthcare spending.
In the second quarter, the QSS forecasted a healthcare spending growth a 3% annual from the first quarter and increase of 3.7% year over year. That was a rebound from a -2% drop in the first three months of the year. Through the first two quarter of 2014, spending on healthcare and social assistance has increased 3.3% year-over-year, according to the Census Bureau’s data.
Hospital revenue, which accounts for nearly half of all healthcare spending, grew at a seasonally adjusted 2.8% annual rate, according to the data, compared with a -0.8% drop in the first quarter.
The new data could lead to an even further upward revision in second-quarter GDP, which was revised upward to 4.2% last month.
The QSS data in the first quarter provided a better estimate of healthcare spending than the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ advance estimate of first-quarter GDP, which had forecast a 9.9% explosion in healthcare spending. But healthcare spending ended up plunging — something the QSS caught and the BEA missed.
It is still likely that second-quarter GDP and healthcare spending won’t undergo as big of revisions as last time — the first advance estimate forecast just a 0.5% increase in health spending this quarter. Or the estimate could actually increase — last week, the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it expected about a 5.6% increase in healthcare spending this year.
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