U.S. Department of Commerce


Maintenance Notice: Internet reporting for all surveys EXCEPT the Survey of Business Owners and Self-Employed Persons will be unavailable on Sunday, April 27, 2014, from 6:30 a.m. until 8:30 a.m., Eastern time.

2012 Economic Census



Business Help Site
Skip top of page navigation

Due Date

February 12, 2013

Glossary of Terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |
 Press Ctrl-F to search text

 A


Account Manager (AM)
An Economic Census contact responsible for assisting large companies in reporting data for the 2012 Economic Census.

Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM)
A survey which provides sample estimates of statistics for all manufacturing locations with one or more paid employee(s). Among the statistics included in this survey are employment, payroll, value added by manufacture, cost of materials consumed, value of shipments, detailed capital expenditures, supplemental labor costs, fuels and electric energy used, and inventories by stage of fabrication.

Alternative Reporting Unit (ARU) - See Consolidated Reporting Unit

back to top

 B


Basis of reporting
The Economic Census is conducted on an establishment basis. A company operating at a single location or more than one location is required to provide data for each store, factory, shop, or other location. Each establishment is assigned a separate industry classification based on its primary activity and not that of its parent company.

Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
Part of the Department of Commerce. The BEA's goal is to provide a clear picture of the United States economy by preparing, developing, and interpreting the national income and product accounts (summarized by the gross domestic product) as well as aggregate measures of international, regional, and state economic activity.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Part of the Department of Labor. The BLS is the principal fact-finding agency for the federal government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics.

back to top

 C

Census File Number (CFN)
Identifies each business location (or establishment). It is uniquely assigned by the Census Bureau, has eleven digits, and is printed on each official census form (upper right corner, above the address label, following the letters "CFN").

Census Surveyor
Census Surveyor is the downloadable electronic reporting software for companies with multiple operating locations to complete their 2012 Economic Census forms.

Classification Form
Classification Forms are part of the Economic Census and are intended to collect information on the industry in which a business operates. Classification Forms collect the minimum amount of information necessary to properly classify businesses, while at the same time making the reporting process as easy as possible for respondents.

Company
A company (or "enterprise") is comprised of all the establishments that operate under the ownership or control of a single organization. A company may be a business, service, or membership organization; consist of one or several establishments; and operate at one or several locations. It includes all subsidiary organizations, all establishments that are majority-owned by the company or any subsidiary, and all the establishments that can be directed or managed by the company or any subsidiary.

Consolidated Reporting Unit
A Consolidated Reporting Unit, also know as an Alternative Reporting Unit (ARU), is a Census reporting unit that surveys all the domestic establishments for a company that operates in a specified networked industry. ARUs apply to networked industries where the production of goods or services cannot be attributed to a single individual physical location. ARU report forms, designated as "Consolidated," collect consolidated data for revenue/receipts, employment, payroll, kind of business, and other industry-specific data. Establishment listings collect end of year operating status, kind of business, payroll, and employment for individual physical locations.

Contract Manufacturing Services
Contract Manufacturing Services (CMS) is the process through which a company contracts for the manufacture of a product with a manufacturing company or a foreign affiliate. A company which owns or controls the intellectual property or design of a product contracts with a Manufacturing Service Provider (MSP) to manufacture the product under the terms of the contract. The contracting company retains ownership of the intellectual property or design of the product and sells the final product.

back to top

 D

Direct Internet Reporting (DIR)
Direct Internet Reporting is the online electronic reporting option for companies with only one operating location to complete their 2012 Economic Census form(s).

back to top

 E

E-commerce
E-commerce (or electronic commerce) is any business transaction whose price or essential terms were negotiated over an online system such as an Internet, Extranet, Electronic Data Interchange network, or electronic mail system. It does not include transactions negotiated via facsimile machine or switched telephone network, or payments made online for transactions whose terms were negotiated offline.

Economic Census
The Economic Census (or census) is a periodic statistical program that obtains information about virtually every U.S. business and publishes our nation's most used and useful business statistics. The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the census every 5 years. It provides information for calendar years ending in "2" and "7."

Employee leasing service
Employee leasing involves the provision of human resources and human resource management services to client organizations. Employee leasing companies operate in a co-employment relationship with client businesses or organizations and are specialized in providing a wide range of human resource or personnel management services such as payroll accounting, payroll tax return preparation and filing, benefits administration, recruiting, and labor relations management. The employee leasing company shares decision making with the client business relating to its human resource management role. Management accountability for the work of their clients' operations with regard to strategic planning, output, and profitability resides with the client. Establishments providing employee leasing services are also known as Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs). Employee leasing is distinct from temporary help service and payroll service.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Uniquely identifies every tax-paying entity in the United States. EINs are assigned by the Internal Revenue Service to organizations with paid employees. An organization may have one or several EINs, and an EIN may cover one or several locations. The EIN has 9 digits, is printed on census forms (shown to the left of the mailing address, following the letters "EIN"), and can be corrected or updated on Item 1 of the census form.

Enterprise
An enterprise (or "company") is comprised of all the establishments that operate under the ownership or control of a single organization. An enterprise may be a business, service, or membership organization; consist of one or several establishments; and operate at one or several locations. It includes all subsidiary organizations, all establishments that are majority-owned by the enterprise or any subsidiary, and all the establishments that can be directed or managed by the enterprise or any subsidiary.

Enterprise support establishment
An enterprise support establishment is an establishment that primarily provides services to other subsidiaries or establishments of the same enterprise, and does not provide, or provides limited, services to the general public or another company. For example, an enterprise support establishment may provide oversight, management, administrative, or information services. In prior economic censuses, enterprise support establishments were called auxiliary establishments.

Establishment
An establishment is a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed. A company may have one or many establishments. Examples include product and service sales offices (retail and wholesale), industrial production plants, processing or assembly operations, mines or well sites, and support operations (such as an administrative office, warehouse, customer service center, or regional headquarters). Each establishment should receive, complete, and return a separate census form.

Exported Service
An exported service is a service sold or provided by an establishment located in the U.S. to a customer located outside the United States. The U.S. includes all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Commonwealth Territories, and U.S. possessions. Non-U.S. customers may or may not be affiliates (or subsidiaries) of the U.S. seller. Services to customers located in the U.S. are not exported services, even if the customer is a non-U.S. organization.

back to top

 F

FIFO
The first-in, first-out (FIFO) method of valuing inventories. It assumes that first-acquired inventories (and their cost) were used first in production and later-acquired inventories are being held for future use. Inventories data, where applicable, is collected in Items 9, 10 and 11 of the census form.

Form 941
Form 941 is the IRS Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return. Form 941 is used by employers to report wages and other compensation, employment for the pay period including March 12, income and social security tax withholdings, and related information to the IRS.

Franchising
Franchising is the granting of permission to operate a business (the franchisee) under a trademark or brand name of the granting business (franchisor). The franchisee operates the business under a franchise agreement with the franchisor for which it pays a license fee or royalty, or sells the franchisorís products.

Fringe benefits
Fringe benefits are employer's costs for social security tax, unemployment tax, workmen's compensation insurance, state disability insurance, pension plans, stock purchase plans, union-negotiated benefits, life insurance premiums, and insurance premiums on hospital and medical plans for employees.

back to top

 G

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
GDP is the most important current measure of our nation's economic performance. Estimated quarterly by the BEA, GDP is a measure of the total market value of all final goods and services produced in our country during any quarter or year. GDP equals total consumer spending, business investment, and government spending and investment, plus the value of exports, minus the value of imports. GDP estimates are based on current statistics from the Census Bureau and other sources. Every 5 years, GDP estimates are benchmarked to the Economic Census.

back to top

 I

Industry
An industry is the most detailed category available in NAICS to describe business activities. NAICS provides hundreds of separate industry categories, unique categories that reflect different methods used to produce goods and services. Statistical agencies use industry categories to classify, collect, process, publish, and analyze business statistics. The census uses industry categories to customize census forms, combine information from establishments in the same industry, and publish census statistics.

Intellectual Property
Intellectual Property is intangible property, in the form of an idea, invention, or process, that is created from a person's intellect or ingenuity, and has economic or commercial value. Legal instruments that provide protection to this property, such as copyrights, patents, and trademarks, are also considered intellectual property. The Economic Census groups intellectual property into four general types, which may be listed in the "Detail of Sales, Shipments, Receipts, or Revenue" (Item 22) of the census form.

  1. Outright sale of intellectual property- Includes production of intellectual property on own account for outright sale. The sale of the property includes all property rights and the producing establishment does not retain any rights of the future use of the property. Examples are an inventor selling a patent or a songwriter selling a music composition outright.

    Major "Detail of Sales, Shipments, Receipts, or Revenue" (Item 22) categories include:

    • Outright sale of intellectual property protected as industrial property (e.g., patents, trademarks)
    • Outright sale of intellectual property protected by copyright (e.g., software, films, books, etc.)
  2. Contract production services for intellectual property- Includes the production of intellectual property on a contract basis for another entity. The ownership rights are specified in the contract. This applies to all types of property, but probably is most applicable to research and development and film production.

    Major "Detail of Sales, Shipments, Receipts, or Revenue" (Item 22) categories include:

    • Contract production services for intellectual property protected as industrial property
    • Contract production services for intellectual property protected by copyright
  3. Licensing of rights to use intellectual property- Includes granting permission to use intellectual property to other entities for the purpose of commercializing (i.e., using the property in its business operations). This includes the rights to use the intellectual property in product design, manufacturing, or business processes; and/or to publish, reproduce, distribute, rent, adapt, etc.

    Major "Detail of Sales, Shipments, Receipts, or Revenue" (Item 22) categories include:

    • Licensing of rights to use intellectual property protected as industrial property
    • Licensing of rights to use intellectual property protected by copyright

    "Detail of Sales, Shipments, Receipts, or Revenue" sometimes includes a separate product for franchising. Franchising is defined as granting permission to operate a business (the franchisee) under a trademark or brand name of the granting business (franchiser). Franchising is not included in the licensing of rights to intellectual property as industrial property (i.e., trademarks) product.

  4. Sale of products to end users- Includes the sale of intellectual property directly to end users, normally with an end-user license agreement that governs how the property can be used by the purchaser. These products are not typically referred to as intellectual property products, even though they may commonly be considered as such since they are protected by patent, trademark, and copyright laws. Examples would be software, music, videos, books, etc., that an individual or business purchases for own use.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
The U.S. Treasury Department agency responsible for collecting taxes, administering business, and individual tax programs.

Island Areas (IA)
Island Areas, formerly Outlying Area (OA), are defined as islands included in the Economic Census. Islands included are: U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. Puerto Rico is sometimes called an island area.

back to top

 L

LIFO
The last-in, first-out (LIFO) method of valuing inventories. It assumes that last-acquired inventories (and their cost) were used first in production and first-acquired inventories are being held for future use. Inventories data, where applicable, is collected in Items 9, 10 and 11 of the census form.

Leased department
A leased department is a department or concession that operates within an establishment but is not owned by that "host" establishment. It may be owned by another company, or by a subsidiary or parent of the host establishment. Typically, the operator of a leased department leases space from the host establishment, sells its products or services in that space, and receives some support services (like advertising or customer billing) from the host establishment.

Leased employee
A leased employee is a full- or part-time employee of a business or organization that has contracted with an employee leasing company (also known as a Professional Employer Organization) to obtain human resource management services. The employee leasing company provides a wide range of human resource and personnel management services, such as payroll accounting, payroll tax return preparation and filing, benefits administration, recruiting, and labor relations management to the client business. The employee leasing company and client organization operate as co-employers with regard to the human relations responsibilities to the employees covered by their contract. The employee leasing company pays wages and employment taxes for the leased employees out of its own accounts.

back to top

 M

Manufacturing Service Providers
Manufacturing Service Providers (MSPs) provide contract manufacturing services that utilize inputs such as capital, labor, and energy to transform material inputs according to the specifications provided under the contract. MSPs own their own production facilities and perform transformation activities. They do not sell the final product and they do not own or control the intellectual property or design of the final product.

Merchandise Line (ML)
This is also known as a product line. It is a Retail and Accommodation and Food Services inquiry requesting composition of sales by merchandise category. Merchandise categories basically follow a departmental concept and are used in assigning a kind-of-business code to an establishment.

Multiunit Company (MU)
A company in the Economic Census which has more than one location. See also Single Unit Company (SU).

back to top

 N

Networked industry Alternative Reporting Unit (ARU)
An Alternative Reporting Unit (ARU) is a Census reporting unit that surveys all the domestic establishments for a company that operates in a specified networked industry. ARUs apply to networked industries where the production of goods or services cannot be attributed to a single individual physical location. ARU report forms, designated as "Consolidated," collect consolidated data for revenue/receipts, employment, payroll, kind of business, and other industry-specific data. Establishment listings collect end of year operating status, kind of business, payroll, and employment for individual physical locations.

Nonprofit organization
A nonprofit (or not-for-profit) organization is an organization that is not operated for the purpose of making a profit for its owners or shareholders. It may or may not also be a tax-exempt organization.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
An industry classification system used by statistical agencies to facilitate the collection, tabulation, presentation, and analysis of data relating to establishments. NAICS is erected on a production-oriented conceptual framework that groups establishments into industries according to similarity in the process used to produce goods or services. Under NAICS, an establishment is classified to one industry based on its primary activity. NAICS was developed jointly by Canada, Mexico, and the United States to provide comparability in economic statistics. It replaced the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system in 1997.

North American Product Classification System (NAPCS)
A multi-phase effort by Canada, Mexico, and the United States to develop a comprehensive list of products, product definitions, and product codes that will be organized into an integrated demand-based classification framework that classifies both goods and services according to how they are principally used. It is intended that NAPCS will be used throughout the statistical community to coordinate the collection, tabulation, and analysis of data on the value of products produced by both goods- and services-producing industries and on the prices charged for those products. The focus in the initial phases of NAPCS was directed at identifying and defining the products of services-producing industries. Currently the focus is on goods-producing industries. NAPCS will be a complementary but independent classification system to NAICS.

back to top

 P

Payroll service
Payroll service involves obtaining information on hours worked, pay rates, and other payroll-related data from client organizations on their workers and using that information to generate paychecks, payroll reports, and payroll tax filings.

Producer Price Index (PPI)
A family of indexes developed and published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that measures the average change over time in selling prices received by domestic producers of goods and services. PPIs measure price change from the perspective of the seller. This contrasts with other measures, such as the Consumer Price Index (CPI), that measure price change from the purchaser's perspective. Sellers' and purchasers' prices may differ due to government subsidies, sales and excise taxes, and distribution costs.

back to top

 S

SSN
Designation for Social Security Number.

Sector
A sector is the broadest category available in NAICS to describe business activities. NAICS provides 20 separate sector categories. Different sectors describe different groupings of related and more detailed NAICS categories. The activities included in each sector contribute to U.S. economic output. Statistical agencies use sector categories to collect, publish, and analyze business statistics. For example, the census uses sector categories in organizing, customizing, and describing census forms.

Sector classification
Sector classification is the use of NAICS sector categories to describe groups of similar businesses. A sector classification consists of the NAICS Short Title text that is a description and accompanying 2-digit NAICS industry code number. Sectors group many more detailed NAICS categories according to similarities in their business activities. Groupings are hierarchical and detailed in NAICS code numbers. For example, the NAICS Retail Trade Sector is NAICS Code 44-45. It includes more detailed industry classifications, such as Home Centers (NAICS 444110) and Fish and Seafood Markets (NAICS 445220).

Single Unit Company (SU)
A company in the Economic Census in which the location and the company are one and the same. See also Multiunit Company (MU).

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)
A numerical code scheme previously used for classifying industries and products. In January 1997 the SIC was replaced by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

Subsidiary
A subsidiary is a company which is owned or controlled by another firm or company. Subsidiaries include firms in which your company owns more than 50 percent of the outstanding voting stock, as well as firms in which your company has the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies.

back to top

 T

Tax-exempt organization
A tax-exempt organization is one whose operations are not subject to taxation under provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. Examples include charitable, social welfare, educational, and research organizations.

Temporary help service
Temporary help service involves supplying workers to client businesses for limited periods of time to supplement the permanent workforce of the client.

Temporary staff
Temporary staff are workers supplied by one company (called a staffing service) for the temporary use of another company. Temporary staff are supplied for limited periods to supplement the workforce of the using company. Temporary staff are employees of the supplying company, although their worksite activities are supervised by the using company.

Title 13
Title 13 is the title of the United States Code that authorizes the census and assures the confidentiality of census information. It requires the Census Bureau to conduct the census, requires businesses and individuals to complete and return their census forms, requires the complete confidentiality of information provided for the census, and authorizes criminal penalties for any confidentiality violations.

back to top

 Z

ZIP Code
A Zone Improvement Plan (ZIP) Code is the numerical code assigned by the U.S. Postal Service to designate a local area or entity for the delivery of mail.

back to top
Source: U.S. Census Bureau | EC2012 BHS Team |   Last Revised: July 30, 2013 12:36:17