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Tracking Firm Use of AI in Real Time: A Snapshot from the Business Trends and Outlook Survey

Kathryn Bonney, Cory Breaux, Catherine Buffington, Emin Dinlersoz, Lucia Foster, Nathan Goldschlag, John Haltiwanger, Zachary Kroff () and Keith Savage

No 32319, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Timely and accurate measurement of AI use by firms is both challenging and crucial for understanding the impacts of AI on the U.S. economy. We provide new, real-time estimates of current and expected future use of AI for business purposes based on the Business Trends and Outlook Survey for September 2023 to February 2024. During this period, bi-weekly estimates of AI use rate rose from 3.7% to 5.4%, with an expected rate of about 6.6% by early Fall 2024. The fraction of workers at businesses that use AI is higher, especially for large businesses and in the Information sector. AI use is higher in large firms but the relationship between AI use and firm size is non-monotonic. In contrast, AI use is higher in young firms although, on an employment-weighted basis, is U-shaped in firm age. Common uses of AI include marketing automation, virtual agents, and data/text analytics. AI users often utilize AI to substitute for worker tasks and equipment/software, but few report reductions in employment due to AI use. Many firms undergo organizational changes to accommodate AI, particularly by training staff, developing new workflows, and purchasing cloud services/storage. AI users also exhibit better overall performance and higher incidence of employment expansion compared to other businesses. The most common reason for non-adoption is the inapplicability of AI to the business.

JEL-codes: L23 O31 O33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2024-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-bec, nep-sbm and nep-tid
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