Frequently asked qUestions


  • I've installed IO-Snap, but when I launch, the application tries to start but then stops with an error message something like "BEA Annual Input-Output...."  

This problem only happens when a user tries to launch the wrong executable.  The correct one is in the same IOSnap folder, but is called IOSNAP.exe.  A still better way to launch is from the desktop icon or from the IO-Snap listing on the Start Menu.

  • What will happen when my current version expires?

We are continually improving and updating IO-Snap, and want you to have the best possible experience with the software.  Normally, we will release an update no less than 30 days prior to the current expiration date, so it's best to launch the program at least once during the month before your current version expires.  When you do, the app will check for the update and give you the opportunity to download, which will extend the Demo period.  If your Demo expires and you are unable to launch it, you can always download a new version.  

  • What data come with the software application?

The data for the US and for all states for the years 1998-2014 are included with IO-Snap. We will make additional data available as we compile and prepare data for future years.

  • Why are the data limited to 1998 - 2014?

The base data that we use as the foundation for IO-Snap are the Annual Input-Output Accounts data after redefinitions along with employment and gross domestic product data by state. Prior to 1998, the Annual Input-Output Accounts data were reported in terms of Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) sectors rather than North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) sectors. As these sectors are not directly comparable, IO-Snap does not use data prior to 1998. The 2014 data are the most recent available for all national and state variables. As data for future years are published, they will be available for purchase and download on the IO-Snap website.

We rely on the most recently published data and distribute new data within about a month of the last needed public database released.  You will note that some other vendors provide accounts for more recent years.  However, those sources are rely on estimates founded on limited published data.  For example, as of this writing in February of 2014, the 2015 state gross product data have been released, but a closer look reveals substantial missing data for most states.  We also could extrapolate or otherwise fill in the missing data, but we've also observed that the reported values early releases will often change by the time the series are more fully populated.  This suggests that building estimates around the early published data runs a substantial risk of fairly large margins of error.  We prefer to wait until the data are more complete and stable.  If you have a specific need for more recent accounts and are willing to accept these risks, contact us and we will construct a custom database for you.

  • How often will data be updated?

The base data will be updated as quickly as we are able to process new BEA updates of Annual Input-Output Accounts, regional employment, and gross domestic product data. We will not provide updates of one without the others.

  • Is there a more disaggregated version of the software available that is based on benchmark year data?

The full version has the same classification as the annual BEA input-output accounts.  We plan to make available U.S. benchmark accounts with full detail in IO-Snap format by the end of March, 2017.  

  • Can I use the software on more than one computer?

One license authorizes use by one individual, with installation on up to three computers. Use is restricted to one computer at a time per license.  Multiple seat licenses are available.

  • What will IO-Snap cost?

We haven't finalized IO-Snap pricing, but we will strive to keep it affordable. We expect to provide academic and student discounts. Register for the site on the Contact Us page and we'll be sure to notify you when pricing is finalized!

  • Are the base tables before or after redefinitions?

We use the Make and Use tables after redefinitions. There is a very nice paper that we recommend, called "From Make-Use to Symmetric I-O Tables: An Assessment of Alternative Technology Assumptions."  

  • Can I group states in my choice of geographical aggregation?

Absolutely. We provide some standard multi-state aggregation schemes (Census Bureau Regions and Divisions, Bureau of Economic Analysis Regions, etc.), but you have the option of combining any set of state into a single region. You can even construct multi-state regions from non-contiguous state if you can think of a justification for doing so, though we haven’t been able to come up with one.

  • Can I create models for sub-state regions?

National table regionalization is driven by regional personal income and value added data by industry. You can enter employment or income data for a sub-state region if you have them, or even if you simply want to make them up for a hypothetical region of some idealized type. Once you've entered the driver data, you can proceed to regionalization.

By mid-summer 2017, you also can special order IO-Snap data for custom regions, at a level of detail that aligns closely with the benchmark IO accounts.

  • Can I generate tables and conduct analyses at more aggregated levels?

Yes, you can. However, aggregated national tables cannot be regionalized, and aggregated regional tables cannot be un-aggregated.

  • Will more analytical features be added?

Yes, we will be adding more analytical features, and we will also have an option to "Export to IOW" that will open all of its advanced features to you!  More on IOW soon!

  • Why don’t I don't see a Scrap commodity in the requirements tables?

BEA describes methods for dealing with Scrap in the generation of total requirements tables. We take care of these adjustments behind the scenes.

  • How does IO-Snap deal with missing data in BEA’s gross domestic product and employment series?

We do our best to impute data using national relationships. So, for example, if we have employment but no employment compensation for a given industry in a region, we would use the national employment / employment compensation ratio to estimate the missing value. More importantly, we mark all imputed data so that the user has the option to apply their own imputation methods if and as preferred. We trust in the judgment and ability of our users, who oftentimes will have greater local or regional expertise to apply to the imputation process.

  • How does IO-Snap compare with IMPLAN?

Great question! We don't see IO-Snap as competing directly with IMPLAN, which can be a terrific solution for a wide variety of analytical purposes. We've used it often ourselves and highly recommend it. The folks at M.I.G. go to great lengths to generate and provide highly detailed, disaggregated IO accounts for not only states, but also counties and even Zip codes, whereas we only provide state level summary data. And let's not forget that IMPLAN also has the ability to generate estimated interregional IO accounts.

IO-Snap will be a useful tool for those who wish to have data for all states at this more highly aggregated level of reporting. Many applications don't require highly disaggregated IO accounts, and the fact that we provide all data for all states over a series of years -- and in a friendly format -- facilitates interregional and inter-temporal comparisons. We also think there is a group of users who would prefer to effectively construct their own IO accounts. IO-Snap provides a good foundation for these analysts, with a high level of control over what goes into the process.

We admit to putting far less effort into regionalizing final demand than does IMPLAN. We make some basic assumptions, but leave the refinement of regional final demand estimates to the user. Prior to generating direct requirements and multipliers, final demands, industry production functions and output distributions can be directly edited by the user.

IO-Snap will be useful for the classroom. We hope that the simple and intuitive IO-Snap interface will make input-output data and analysis more accessible to students.

So the bottom line is that those who need high levels of detail and those who have become accustomed to IMPLAN's functionality will probably continue to find IMPLAN very well suited to their purposes. But we also think there is room for a product that fills a different set of needs, and IO-Snap is that product!

  • Does IO-Snap adjust for cross hauling?

The basis for IO-Snap regionalization is the supply-demand pooling method described by Randy Jackson in Regionalizing National Commodity-by-Industry Accounts. Economic Systems Research, 1998, Volume 10, Number 3, pages 223-238. We use a default estimate of cross hauling in IO-Snap and implement it as described in the Jackson article.  


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