Think your business doesn’t need to answer the Five-Year Economic Census? Think again.
Imagine trying to secure a bank loan, develop a strategic business plan or land a good company for your small town with no data to back up your proposal.
What many businesses and organizations don’t know is much of the information they used to land lucrative contracts or lure good, high-paying jobs to their areas comes from the Economic Census – a key source of statistics and information about business and industry.
Issued once every five years (for years ending in 2 and 7), the economic census is currently underway for 2017 and is the first time the entire survey will be conducted almost entirely online via a secure portal.
What’s in it for my Business?
U.S. Census Bureau officials point to the five-year economic census as “the most comprehensive source of data related to business activity; the foundation for an accurate picture and understanding the U.S. economy; and absolutely necessary for measuring the economic impact of U.S. businesses.”
Here’s what the data is used for:
- Calculating key economic indicators such as Gross Domestic Product, National Income and Product Accounts and the Producer Price Index;
- Strategic business planning and market research;
- Comparing a business to an industry average;
- Making decisions about operating sites, capital investments and product development;
- Loan applications with local banks and national small business lenders;
- Business recruitment or retention proposals by local economic development groups; and
- Gauging organizational structure and product trends by business trade associations and chambers of commerce.
Do I Have To?
Yes. Response is required by law according to Title 13, United States Code (U.S.C.), Sections 131, 224 and 225.
Section 9 of the same law stipulates the information provided is confidential, can only be used only for statistical purposes and are immune from the legal process.
Ready, Set… Links You Can Use
Instructions and a unique company code have been mailed to nearly 4 million business respondents. These businesses are being asked to set up an online account on a secure website and complete a survey tailored to their primary business activity.
Information collected includes the businesses’ Employer Identification Number (EIN), physical location, primary business activity, employment and payroll and industry-specific questions.
- You want an overview? https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/economic-census/information.html
- Here’s how to get started: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/economic-census/information/get-started.html
- Curious about the online portal: https://portal.census.gov/portal
- Yes Virginia, there’s a survey just for you: https://bhs.econ.census.gov/ombpdfs/
- Check out the 2012 results: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/economic-census/year.html
And the Deadline is…
Businesses need to respond by June 12.
The first round of data will be released in September 2019, with all data released by December 2021.
For more information, visit the economic census page or the Census Bureau’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.
– Idaho Department of Labor