The Census Bureau requires businesses to complete the Economic Census to report on years ending in 2 and 7. With that in mind, watch out for this deadline: March 15, 2023.
The survey is one way to measure the economy – and what Finance pro wouldn’t like some solid data on the economy right about now?
That said, you’ll have to wait until March 2024 for a first look at the results. That’s when you’ll be able to get a glimpse into what 8 million other businesses did during 2022. In the meantime, you can access data from the 2017 Economic Census.
Overall, the point of the Economic Census, which has been conducted every five years since 1967, is to gather data regarding kind of business, geographic location, type of ownership, total revenue, annual and first quarter payroll and employees in a pay period.
Changes you’ll find
For the 2022 Economic Census you can expect some changes. Here’s what’s new:
As in the past, businesses will be asked about their classifications under the:
- North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), and
- North American Product Classification System (NAPCS).
Plus now, businesses will be steered to different questions based on their NAICS and NAPCS codes.
Another difference: Some questions have been added or tweaked in an effort to reflect the changing economy. For example, the 2022 Economic Census includes questions on business technologies and telemedicine, when relevant depending on classifications. Some questions have been removed because they’re obsolete.
Regardless of your sector, given that business technologies is a key component of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and GDP is a comprehensive measure of economic activity, you can expect questions on the following topics when completing the 2022 Economic Census:
- use and acquisition of touchscreens and kiosks
- additive manufacturing (aka, 3D printing)
- use of robotics, and
- Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) – e.g., RFID can be found in security access cards.
All sectors will also be asked if they sold services to or purchased services from clients outside the U.S.
Communication on 2022 Economic Census
Letters to businesses will start going out January 31, 2023.
This invitation to respond will be mailed to 4 million businesses. For another 4 million businesses, the Census Bureau will obtain data through administrative records – no direct reporting required.
That’s according to Kari Klinedinst, a statistician with the Census Bureau’s Respondent Outreach and Promotion Economic Management Division. She and other representatives from the agency are featured in the video, Overview of the 2022 Economic Census.
If you’re contacted by the Census Bureau, you won’t receive the survey itself, just a letter with information on completing the mandatory survey online.
Exception: Businesses located in the Island Areas can choose to complete a paper survey.
If your business has more than one location, the letter will be sent to your company headquarters or other appointed contact, says Klinedinst.
The Census Bureau plans to make more use of reminders via email. However, if a business prefers paper correspondence, that alternative is available.
Ways to verify
Many data users and respondents reach out to the Census Bureau for reassurance about the legitimacy of surveys, notes Klinedinst. She explains you can go to www.census.gov/verify for information about whether a survey, mailing or contact is truly from the agency.
For example, a letter from the Census Bureau should come in an envelope with a return address containing:
- “U.S. Census Bureau” or U.S. Department of Commerce,” and
- “Jeffersonville, IN.”
As for emails, you can doublecheck that they’re sent from the official @census.gov domain. Plus, any links in an email would end in .gov, directing you to an official federal government website.
Also, the Census Bureau warns it’ll never ask for a full Social Security number, a bank account number or passwords.