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Weights and Measures Economic Index

Economic Indicators
Credit: Adobe Stock

The basic principle of regulatory weights and measures activities is to minimize errors in commercial measurement so that the potential for economic loss to buyer or seller is minimized.  Therefore, the importance of weights and measures enforcement in the marketplace can be recognized when the dollar value of the total sales of different commodities and services is known.  

In 1999, OWM conducted an analysis of the impact of weights and measures regulations on the commercial transactions of U.S. products and services sold on the basis of weight or measure or subject to price verification inspections. This amounted to $4.5 trillion (53 %) of the $8.5 trillion U.S. Gross Domestic Product (1998).  The table below provides estimated dollar values (in billions) for the various groups of products and services. 

OWM is current conducting an new analysis based on the 2023 U.S. GDP with the NIST Research Library. The results and supporting data will be published on this page.

CategoryProduct and Services

Billions ($)

1Food Sales (wholesale and retail)


2Retail Sales (not including food) 


3Petroleum Products


4Other Industries
4a        Metals and Industrial Minerals


4b        Coal Mining


4c        Lumber and Wood Products 


4d        Construction Material 


4e        Textiles


4f        Paper Products


5Fruits, Nuts, Vegetables, Grains, and other crops.


6a         Air cargo


6b        Railroad Freight


6c        Truck Freight




Data Sources:       

  • Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce (1998)
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States - The National Data Book (1998)
  • U.S. Industry and Trade Outlook 1999, U.S. Department of Commerce 
  • U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Agency (1998)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Statistics Board (1999)
  • American Petroleum Institute – Statistics (1998)

Data table updated on June 1, 1999

Created June 22, 2024, Updated June 24, 2024