Beginning in October, more than 4 million businesses will receive 2012 economic census forms representing all U.S. communities and industries. All forms will be delivered by the end of the year and must be returned to the U.S. Census Bureau by Feb. 12, 2013.
The economic census is the federal government’s official five-year measure of American business and the economy. It is intended to provide accurate benchmark statistics of economic indicators such as the gross domestic product, monthly retail sales and the Producer Price Index.
Business owners are legally required to submit a response, either online or by returning a paper form.
“The response is important because data from the census are relied upon by a wide cross section of users … for strategic planning and forecasting,” said Kari Klinedinst, survey statistician, Economic Planning Coordination Division, U.S. Census Bureau, during a live webcast held Oct. 11 to discuss the census.
Klinedinst also said the statistics are useful to businesses for researching and identifying new markets for products.
“It’s important because it is a key component to having an accurate picture of the U.S. economy,“ she said.
To encourage response, the Census Bureau has launched business.census.gov. The site includes videos, fact sheets, story ideas and talking points that business associations, chambers of commerce, media and public agencies can use to get the word out about the economic census. Information on how communities and business owners can use the statistics in economic development, business decisions and strategic planning is also provided.
A wide variety of resources are available on the website, said Andy Hait, data products and data user liaison, Economic Planning Coordination Division, U.S. Census Bureau, including tips on what business owners can do to prepare to report.