2012 Economic Census – Learn why Business-Owner Response Makes a Difference

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Written by: Acting Director Tom Mesenbourg

econ census image of business ownersWhile many of you may be familiar with the decennial census, are you aware that 2012 is the year of the next economic census? At the Census Bureau, we have been busy making preparations for this important event.

The 2012 Economic Census is under way. On October 24, approximately 500,000 classification forms were mailed to small businesses where we had incomplete information about their business operations.  These responses are used to determine the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code for single-unit establishments where the Census Bureau does not have a complete NAICS code.  On October 31, we mailed economic census forms to 2,000 of our largest businesses, operating almost 750,000 individual locations. The remaining economic census forms will be mailed in mid-December.

What is the economic census?

The economic census is the U.S. Government’s official five-year measure of American business and the economy. Collected for years ending in “2” and “7,” economic census results serve as the foundation for the gross domestic product (GDP) and other indicators of economic performance. This cornerstone of  U.S. business activity  provides an essential benchmark for our nation’s economic indicators.

Many people rely on economic census data. Chambers of Commerce rely on statistics from the economic census to promote economic development in their industries and local areas. Business associations use economic census statistics for strategic planning. Businesses also use the information to research and identify new markets for their products or services. Government offices, at every level, also rely on economic statistics for making important decisions affecting cities, counties and states.

To help you learn more about the economic census, we have an updated website available that helps answer what the economic census is, why it is important, and how the data are used. Business.census.gov is a valuable resource for business owners and business leaders to understand the vital role they play in the 2012 Economic Census. The site contains resources for respondents, such as examples of economic census forms, videos, key dates, and FAQs, and a link to our Business Help Site, with access to our electronic reporting software.

Business.census.gov also offers industry and local area snapshots with statistics from the 2007 Economic Census and links to other data tools.  By using economic census data now, you will learn why your response makes a difference for the 2012 Economic Census. And finally, for organizations interested in promoting response among their membership or readers, the site provides fact sheets, story ideas, talking points, and promotional materials to help us get the word out.

Throughout the 2012 Economic Census, I will provide updates on key milestones. Please visit business.census.gov and watch this blog for the latest information.

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