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Report of Organization and
Annual Survey of Manufactures

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About the Survey - Report of Organization (COS)


To obtain current organization and operating information on multi-establishment firms in order to maintain the Business Register (BR). The United States Code, Title 13, authorizes this survey and provides for mandatory responses.


All companies with payroll, and their establishments, except companies engaged exclusively in agricultural production.


Companies identify establishments that have been sold, closed, continued, started, and acquired; report first quarter and annual payroll, and employment during the pay period that included March 12, for each establishment; indicate any large foreign equity positions; and indicate controlling interests held by other domestic or foreign-owned organizations.


The COS is conducted annually, except for years ending in 2 and 7, at which time COS data are included with the Economic Census.


An annual mail-out survey of selected companies. Large multi-establishment companies with 500 or more employees are selected with certainty. Small multi-establishment and single-establishment companies are selected based on administrative data indicating a probable organizational change. All selected companies are identified from those maintained on the Business Register.

Data is collected from the Report of Organization Survey, the Annual Survey of Manufactures, and added to administrative records. For years ending in 2 and 7 (census years), companies report only on basic company affiliation and operations of establishments not within scope of the economic censuses.

Forms include a pre-filled list of establishments previously identified as owned by the company and space for the company to report additional establishments. Forms for single-establishment companies collect information on each location operated to determine if the companies actually have more than one establishment. Reports submitted by electronic methods have grown to cover some 40 percent of all surveyed establishments.


This survey is taken primarily to assure full coverage and high quality of other statistical programs, and does not routinely provide data products for public use. Survey results are available to the Census Bureau about 8 months after each reference year and are used throughout Census Bureau economic data program operations, as a major source of information for County Business Patterns reports, and as a resource in responding to requests for a variety of special reports and reimbursable tabulations.


The Bureau of the Census uses the data to maintain up-to-date company affiliation, location, and operating information for establishments of multi-establishment companies in the Business Register (BR). This information allows full coverage of companies which account for a disproportionately large share of business activity. The Business Register is integral to conducting, processing, and completing most Census Bureau surveys and censuses of U.S. business organizations.

The Census Bureau uses the survey data and other information contained in the BR (such as data for single-establishment companies) to produce annual County Business Patterns reports. These reports provide summary statistics by state, county, some ZIP Codes, and 6-digit NAICS, including number of establishments, payroll, and employment.


Provides the only direct source of information on changes in multi-establishment company organization and industry classification at the establishment level.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | BHS Team |   Last Revised: January 04, 2018 14:14:34