Economic Census

AuthorWilliam Prince, Hal Kirkwood
Pages203-205

Page 203

The U.S. economic census provides information about the structure and function of the nation's economy, from the national level to the local level, every five years. The Bureau of the Census is mandated by Title Thirteen of the United States Code (sections 131, 191, and 224) to develop an economic census every five years, covering years ending in two and seven. The 2002 Economic Census covers about 98 percent of the U.S. economy in its collection of establishment statistics. There are also several related census programs, including: censuses for outlying areas of Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; and additional reports on minority- and women-owned businesses (available in 2006), surveys of business expenditures, and nonemployer statistics. In addition, the Census of Agriculture and Census of Governments are conducted at the same time.

COLLECTING, COMPILING, AND ISSUINGTHE CENSUS DATA

With the exception of the Census of Agriculture, which is conducted by the Department of Agriculture, the 2002 Economic Census covered the entire economy of about 20 million business establishments. In December 2002, the Census Bureau mailed 600 versions of the census forms; these forms were tailored to the five-million businesses receiving them. Data for those not receiving forms—generally self-employed individuals with no paid employees—are obtained from other federal agencies.

The 2002 Economic Census consists of general statistics available for the nation, states, metropolitan areas, counties, places with 2,500 or more inhabitants, and zip code areas. All operations of a particular business location are summarized. Product statistics cover products, lines of merchandise, and lines of service provided by business establishments. For example, one can determine how much hardware is sold by all kinds of stores, not just hardware stores.

The Census Bureau compiles the data and issues report series on industry, geographic area, subject, and zip code. These reports are based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The new Advance Report presents economy-wide data at the national level. The Industry Series reports are issued only for individual industries in the goods-producing part of the economy—manufacturing, mining, and construction. They provide data primarily at the national level, although there is some state data. The Geographic Area Series will be issued...

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