Every five years, the U.S. Census Bureau collects extensive statistics about businesses that are essential to understanding the American economy. This official count, better known as the Economic Census, serves as the foundation for the measurement of U.S. businesses and their economic impact.
As part of the Census Bureau’s mission to provide timely information on the health of the U.S. economy, this “business” census serves as the most extensive collection of data related to business activity.
Nearly 4 million businesses, large, medium and small, covering most industries and all geographic areas of the United States will receive surveys tailored to their primary business activity.
Response to the Economic Census is due on June 12, 2018 and is required by law
Starting with the 2017 Economic Census, response will be entirely paperless. The Economic Census will mail out information on how to access the electronic instrument in May 2018 to the nearly 4 million businesses, including large, medium, and small companies representing all U.S. and Island Area locations and industries. Respondents will be asked to provide a range of operational and performance data for their companies using an online, secure portal to respond, making filing easier while at the same time improving data quality and reducing costs. Small companies located in the U.S. territories will have a paper option available, including a Spanish version for Puerto Rico.
Legal Authority and Confidentiality
Response is required by law. Title 13, United States Code (U.S.C.), Section 131, authorizes the survey by requiring businesses and other organizations included in the survey to answer the questions and submit a response. Sections 224 and 225 require businesses and other organizations that receive this questionnaire to answer the questions and return the report to the U.S. Census Bureau.
By Section 9 of the same law, the information that businesses and other organizations provide is confidential. It may be seen only by persons sworn to uphold the confidentiality of Census Bureau information and may be used only for statistical purposes. Further, copies retained in respondents’ files are immune from legal process.
Why Is the Economic Census Important?
The data produced from the Economic Census are important for your industry, your community and your business:
Statistics from the Economic Census provide policymakers with the evidence based information used to make sound programmatic decisions.
Federal agencies rely on the data as the basis for key measures of economic activity, such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs), and the Producer Price Index (PPI).
Trade and Business associations, along with Chambers of Commerce, rely on Economic Census data to measure key business facts they can use to gauge organizational structure and product trends.
Individual businesses use the data from the Economic Census to make decisions about operating sites, capital investments, and product development.
When is the Deadline?
Response to the Economic Census is due on June 12, 2018 and is required by law. The data businesses provide is compiled into official statistics that are available for companies to use for planning and decision making. The Economic Census asks for the following information by location:
- Employer Identification Number
- Physical location
- Primary business activity
- Sales, receipts, or revenue
- Employment and payroll
- Industry-specific questions
How Can I Learn More?
For additional information:
US Census home page: https://www.census.gov/EconomicCensus
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/economic-census/about/faq.html
Contact information: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/economic-census/about/contact-us.html