Getting a Macro View of the U.S. Economy Through the Micro Lens of XBRL Filings

by FEI Daily Staff

The utility of eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) goes beyond financial reporting, and properly measured can reveal some surprising facts about the trajectory of the U.S. economy.

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For the quarter ending June 30, 2014 Calcbench compiled a small sample of our metrics that we believe highlight the strength of the information provided through XBRL.We analyzed eight metrics by sampling over 5,000 firms that had reported information both in the second quarter of 2013 and in the second quarter of 2014.

The results observe strong growth in the U.S. economy as demonstrated by revenues. While dividends are increasing to shareholders, firms are still stockpiling cash indicating that they are still somewhat cautious.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the analysis was when we looked at capital expenditures across firms.

The results found that overall capital expenditure (CAPEX) grew by 2.2 percent, but most of the growth came from our second and third quintile of firms.

This is after breaking the universe into quintiles as measured by total assets, but you might also refer to this group as “Mid-Cap” type firms.

Metal Mining and Recreation were two industries with the largest CAPEX growth, while Miscellaneous Services and Water Transport contracted the most.

Cash on the balance sheet continued to grow as firms amassed over 9 percent more cash this year than last led by Natural Gas, Grocers and the Movie Industry. Laggards included Metal Mining, Trucking and Freight and Furniture.

Operating expenses also grew in the same period.

It looks very much like firms were expanding their businesses from one year ago- a very positive sign for the future.

Click here for more reports from Calbench.

Ariel Markelevich, Ph.D., CMA is  Chief Product Development Officer for Calcbench,