2012 Economic Census data collection has begun!

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Written By: Acting Director Tom Mesenbourg

Since my last update, 2012 Economic Census operations are now under way. By now, nearly 4 million economic census forms will have landed on the desks of businesses across the country.

Economic census forms are sent to a little over 4 million of the 7 million business locations with paid employees in the U.S., as well as to businesses in Puerto Rico, Northern Marianas, American Samoa, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. These business locations have received report forms tailored to their particular industry, making filing easier than ever.

The information collected in the economic census is critical to measuring the health of the U.S. economy. We recognize that reporting this information imposes a burden on the business community, but we have taken steps to minimize the burden and facilitate reporting. Businesses with four or fewer paid employees will have information collected from a small sample, excusing almost 3 million small locations from having to file. However, if your small business received an economic census report form, it is important that you complete and return it because your response represents 10 other small businesses.

Businesses with multiple locations will receive a form for each location, mailed generally to company headquarters. It is important that you return each completed form so we can publish detailed industry statistics for small geographic areas, such as towns, cities, and places.

Economic census forms are due Feb. 12, 2013. If you respond to the economic census by the due date, you will avoid being mailed a replacement form or receiving a follow-up phone call. This saves you, the taxpayer, money and permits us to get the 2012 Economic Census results out earlier.

Responding to the economic census is easier than ever, as businesses of all sizes are now able to report electronically. Businesses with only one location can report directly through an online questionnaire. Those with more than one location can use downloadable software with a spreadsheet-style option and use it to return their data by uploading a file to a secure Census Bureau website. Check out www.econhelp.census.gov to learn how to file your form electronically.

For detailed information about the value of the economic census, visit business.census.gov. The site includes video testimonials from business owners, government officials and other key individuals. It also provides examples of how economic census statistics are used.

So if you receive an economic census report form, go online, complete it, and submit it. Your response makes a difference!

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