The U.S. Census Bureau is in the process of conducting its Economic Census, taken every five years to look at the American businesses and the economy. Forms, which are required by law by those who received them, are due February 12.
The census looks at a range of information, such as operational and performance data—including physical location, type of business activity (industry), employment, payroll, and revenue by type of service or product.
Forms are sent to “all but the smallest businesses in nearly every industry in the private, non-farm economy, and every geographic area of the U.S., Puerto Rico, and other U.S. Island Areas,” according to information from the Census Bureau. Forms were sent out in the middle of December. The Census also provides information about specific industries, their outputs and inputs, and how they relate to each other.
“Although the precise cutoff varies from industry to industry, most businesses with four or more paid employees, and a sample of smaller ones, will receive a census form,” writes the Census Bureau.
Additionally, for companies with multiple locations, the forms are only sent to the company headquarters.
Forms can be completed online through the Census Bureau website for businesses with only one location. Information reported in the Census is kept confidential.
“Individual responses are added together to produce summary statistics which do not divulge data about individual companies,” writes the Census Bureau. “Confidential information on census forms is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. No business competitor can obtain the responses of another company, and even copies retained in respondents’ files are immune from legal process.”
The penalty for not responding can be up to $5,000, and $10,000 for intentionally providing false information.
The results of the Census will be available next December.