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Economic Census Library Guide: 2012 Economic Census

2012 Economic Census

What is the Economic Census?

The Economic Census is the U.S. Government's official five-year measure of American business and the economy. It provides comprehensive details about the United States economy, from the National to the local level. It provides official measures of output for industries and geographic areas, and serves as the cornerstone of the nation's economic statistics, providing key source data for the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and other indicators of economic performance. Detailed statistics are providced that are important for industries and communities. Trade associations, chambers of commerce, and businesses rely on this information for economic development, business decisions, and strategic planning.

The Economic Census collects information from individual business establishments on physical location, type of business activity (industry), employment, payroll, and revenue by type of service or product.

The most detailed data are provided for the U.S. as a whole. Key statistics, albeit progressively fewer, are available for states, metropolitan and micropolitan areas, counties, and places with 2,500 or more inhabitants. Only limited data are provided for ZIP Codes. Statistics for smaller areas are more frequently withheld to avoid disclosing information about individual firms.

In October through December 2012, forms were mailed to nearly 4 million businesses, including large, medium and small companies representing all U.S. locations and industries. Respondents were asked to provide a range of operational and performance data for their companies. Response is required by law.

The first census results for the 2012 Economic Census will be available in December 2013 when the "Advance Report" provides preliminary totals for all economic sectors. Additional results will be published over the next few years.

 Earlier Economic Census results available online:

Information for this site taken from the U.S. Census Bureau: Economic Census website.