Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Census business data

I went to a workshop on Census data this summer, and I foiund some things that may not be clear to you or your clients:

Census does economic surveys on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis, depending on the survey. These tend to be of limited detail, and mostly national.
Census conducts the Economic Census every 5 years, the years ending with 2 and 7. The data are industry specific and addresses a detailed geography, often down to the county level. While the Economic Census does get sent out to businesses, the Census Bureau also relies on administrative records, such as filings of federal tax schedules relating to businesses.
The Economic Census does NOT cover Agriculture or Government. The Census of Agriculture is run by the USDA. while the Census Bureau does a separate Census of Governments.

A reminder: Census Bureau surveys are CONFIDENTIAL, which means that it does not give individual or business data to the IRS, or USCIS (the former INS). This allows more effective gathering so that the data may be analyzed for public and private sector uses.
Public sector: benchmarking, tracking economic change, attracting new businesses, assisting development
Private sector: study the industry for market share and product trends, study business markets for site locations and sales forecasts, evaluate estimates

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