The Economic Census is the U.S. Government's official five-year measure of American business and the economy. It is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Economic Census is the most comprehensive source of information about American businesses from the national to the local level. Published data cover more than 1,000 industries, 15,000 products, every state, the District of Columbia, over 3,000 counties, 10,000 cities and towns, and Puerto Rico and other U.S. Island Areas. The 2012 Economic Census is currently underway; the most recent completed census provides information for calendar year 2007 at American Fact Finder. See Business.census.gov for what businesses need to know about the 2012 Economic Census. See Business Classification for how businesses are coded and classified, and product classification.
Economic Census statistics are more complete, specific, reliable, and useful than any other single set of economic information. The 2012 Economic Census will feature all-new economic classifications, new nationwide data by economic sector, and fresh details for more than 1,000 separate industries and over 40,000 geographic areas. All 2012 Economic Census results will be released intermittently on the Internet at American Fact Finder, starting with the Advance Report in March 2014.
The Economic Census provides official measures of output for industries and geographic areas and serves as the cornerstone of the nation's economic statistics, providing key source data for the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and other indicators of economic performance used by trade associations, business organizations, economic development agencies, and individual businesses to assess and improve business performance. See Industry Snapshots for examples of the kinds of data available.
Economic Censuses have been taken periodically since 1810. Over the years, the U.S. economy has grown and changed, demand for and use of economic statistics has burgeoned, and Economic Census responsibilities and methods have evolved. Economic Censuses were taken separately from the population census starting in the 1930s. Title 13 of the United States Code, enacted in the 1950s, established a regular five-year cycle for the Economic Census. The 2012 Economic Census is the first to provide single-establishment companies, including companies receiving a classification form, the ability to report online without having to download electronic reporting software.