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2012 Economic Census

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2012 Economic Census Program

This section summarizes information about why, how, and which businesses are covered in the Economic Census, provides links to more specific coverage information, and includes other census-related information.

Economic Census Coverage

Economic Census coverage is virtually economy-wide. It includes businesses that produce 84 percent of all U.S. goods and services. These business activities take place at some 23 million separate locations, and in more than 50,000 localities, nationwide.

In conducting the Economic Census, the Census Bureau obtains information about each of these businesses every 5 years, summarizes it by kind of business and geographic area, and publishes the results in more than 1,700 printed and electronic reports.

Coverage Framework

Conducting the Economic Census requires a complete and consistent framework to describe (classify) each covered business. Such a framework lets the Census Bureau adapt its forms for different kinds of business and treat businesses that are similar but in different locations comparably. It also allows Economic Census statistics to be used with business statistics from other sources.

The framework used to classify businesses in the Economic Census is the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). NAICS (used for official business statistics in the United States, Canada and Mexico) provides over 1,100 detailed industry classifications, and a hierarchy of classification groups that aggregate detailed classifications into 20 broad business groups or sectors.

Related Programs

In addition to providing virtually complete and comparable U.S. business statistics, the Economic Census includes other related and integral 5-year data collections. These programs supplement basic Economic Census statistics on topics or areas of special interest. These census-related programs are listed and summarized below:

  • Censuses of Puerto Rico and the Island Areas (U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa) are separate and complete 5-year censuses of each island economy. They provide island-wide statistics on traditional, emerging, and changing economic activities.

  • The Survey of Business Owners covers selected minority and nonminority business owners, and obtains information about owner characteristics, business acquisition and financing methods. Specialized data products provide useful supplements to economy-wide Economic Census statistics.

  • The Business Expenses Survey (BES) compiles national data on detailed operating expenses by the kind of business, such as labor costs, depreciation, rent, utilities, and purchased services. In addition to wholesale, retail, and service businesses covered in the survey, the BES publication on the Internet also presents expenses data for manufacturing, mining, construction, and communications industries.

  • The Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) is a joint effort by the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. This survey produces data on the movement of goods in the United States. Data from the CFS are used by policy analysts, transportation planners, and decision-makers to assess the demand for transportation facilities and services, energy use, and safety and environmental concerns.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau | EC2012 BHS Team |   Last Revised: March 10, 2016 10:47:44