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American Businesses Enter Major Phase of Economic Census

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Census Bureau is mailing nearly 4 million forms to American businesses, as the official twice-a-decade measure of the economy continues rolling out. Economic census forms began being mailed in October. The majority of the forms will be mailed beginning today. Most U.S. businesses with paid employees will receive a form in the coming weeks. The Census Bureau will collect responses until the Feb. 12 deadline, unless an extension is filed.


"The economic census provides accurate benchmark statistics that are fundamental building blocks of economic indicators, such as the gross domestic product, monthly retail sales and the producer price index," said Thomas Mesenbourg, acting director of the Census Bureau. "Information about the economy available only from the economic census helps businesses plan and grow, and helps guide government policies."

The 2012 Economic Census covers more than 1,000 industries in all sectors of the private, nonfarm economy. To create a snapshot of the American economy, the census asks businesses to provide basic information on revenue, employment and payroll, and industry-specific topics such as the products and services they provide.

Every five years — in years ending in "2" and "7" — the economic census collects reliable business statistics that are essential to understanding the American economy. The economic census is the only source providing information on industry revenues and other measures of American business performance that are consistent, comparable and comprehensive across industries and geographic areas.

Operational Details

The 2012 Economic Census results will be the earliest ever.  Major innovations, such as enhanced electronic reporting software and a Web-based reporting option for smaller businesses, will make reporting easier. These innovations also will shorten the processing time, which in turn will allow the Census Bureau to release statistics in a timelier manner.

Editor's note: More information can be found at

"For the first time, we intend to release preliminary results from the economic census within a year of the collection," said William Bostic, associate director for economic programs at the Census Bureau. "Along with our monthly and quarterly economic indicators, the economic census will provide timely and relevant statistics that will give a good picture of American businesses."

The Census Bureau will continue publishing the economic census results, with more detailed industry and geographic-level reports, through 2016. Complete information on the operational schedule of the economic census can be found at

The Census Bureau has set up a help site to answer respondents' questions about the economic census.

For More Information

Earlier this year, the Census Bureau launched a new website,, dedicated to informing the public about the economic census. The website features testimonials from business owners, government officials and other key individuals. The website also provides examples on how economic census statistics are used, including products such as business snapshots that provide quick overviews of numerous business statistics by industry and state.

Want to know more about the U.S. economy?  America's Economy is the first mobile app from the Census Bureau that provides smartphone and tablet users with the real-time government statistics that drive business hiring, sales and production decisions and assist economists, researchers, planners and policymakers. The economic indicators track monthly and quarterly trends in industries, such as employment, housing construction, international trade, personal income, retail sales and manufacturing. 

For more information on how to download the America's Economy app, visit either the Apple page or the Android page.


Press Kit

America's Economy Mobile App

Brian Lavin
Public Information Office
E-mail: [email protected]

SOURCE U.S. Census Bureau

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