Archive for May 1st, 2018

The U.S. Census Bureau is mailing out instructions for businesses filling out the quinquennial 2017 Economic Census to businesses nationwide. Quinquennial means every five years.

Census tracks the business activities at a detailed level in years ending with 2 and 7, obviously after those years are completed, and businesses have the information to be reported.

In April, the Bureau sent out letters to about 3.7 million U.S. businesses nationwide, including those in U.S. territories, big and small, selected single-location companies and all multi-location companies. The mailed information contain instructions on how respondents can create an account and use the authentication code provided in the letter to access their questionnaire.

For the first time, the Economic Census will be conducted almost entirely online, designed to be both data secure and more convenient for businesses to respond. For the 2012 Economic Census, the vast majority of companies were mailed paper forms in early 2013, but had the option to answer online. It turned out that 53 percent of respondents decided to report electronically.

For this iteration, respondents create their own, unique passwords on the Respondent Portal, which provides an added layer of privacy where the respondent can manage their account online and decide if they want to share access with someone else.

The deadline for response to the quinquennial 2017 Economic Census is June 12. The individual responses are confidential. Only aggregated data will be released.

The Bureau says: “Every five years, the Census Bureau collects information about businesses that are essential to understanding the American economy. The economic census serves as the most comprehensive source of data related to business activity and serves as the foundation for the measurement of U.S. businesses and their economic impact.”

While it is true that the Census Bureau conducts other economic surveys, the ones that are more frequent are also less detailed. The Economic Census is considered a “cornerstone of many Census Bureau and other federal statistical programs that provide timely information on the health of the U.S. economy.”

In other words, like the population surveys double check each other for accuracy and completeness, the economic side does much the same thing.

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