Business Dynamics Statistics

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  • What is the most current year of data available?

    Currently the BDS covers the years 1976 through 2013.
  • How often is the BDS updated?

    The BDS is updated once a year.
  • Are there more detailed industry and geography tables?

    Starting in 2012 the BDS includes tables for Metropolitan Statistical Areas and metro area within state along with tables at the state and sectoral level.
  • Adding net flows and current employment does not yield the following year's employment. Why?

    The discrepancies result from processing decisions required when working with longitudinal administrative data (or in this case linked cross sections). A decision must be made as to which entries/exits (job creation/destruction) to take into consideration. For example, it may be determined that an establishment’s entry/exit as shown by the data is not credible. These establishments are excluded from the change calculations in a given year.
  • What are some examples of non–credible entries/exits?

    An establishment might fail to report one year; this should not be treated as an exit followed by an entry. Or, the values reported by the establishment may not be believable and the change may be smoothed out. Similarly, an establishment may be deemed to be out of scope in a given cross section but not in another based on the information available for those years. Put another way, the longitudinal edits are such that they smooth out anomalies in the data believed to be problematic. As a result of these edits, we believe our longitudinal (change) data is more credible and of higher quality than what is typically published.
  • What is the difference between the BDS Establishment Characteristics Data Table and the BDS Firm Characteristics Data Table?

    The difference between the BDS Establishment Characteristics Data Table and the BDS Firm Characteristics Data Table results from the way establishments are classified in the BDS. In the BDS Establishment Characteristics Data Table, establishments are classified according to the size and age of the establishments themselves. By contrast, the BDS Firm Characteristics Data Table classifies establishments according to the size and age of the firm with which they are associated.
  • What is the difference between metro and metropolitan statistical area (MSA)?

    Metro is a designation applied at the county level, while an MSA is a grouping of one or more metro-designated counties. Metro counties from multiple states may be included in an MSA, while the metro tables observe state boundaries. For example, the Kansas City MSA is composed of 15 counties from Kansas and Missouri, but the counties in Kansas are not tabbed into the Missouri metro tables.
  • How are startups defined? How can I identify them in the data?

    Startups are firms with the age of 0. No previous activity is associated with these firms and all its establishments are de novo establishments.
  • How can I identify establishment entry in the data?

    Age 0 establishments are de novo establishments in the economy. They are establishments classified under Establishment Age = 0.
  • What is a firm exit?

    Firm exit identifies events where all the establishments associated with a particular firm and the firm itself cease all operations. Note firm legal entities that cease to exist because of merger and acquisition activity are not classified as firm exits in these data.
  • Why do I get different numbers for the same statistic (e.g., number of firms in the economy) depending on the table I look at?

    Missing or incomplete data (e.g., missing industry codes or location information) can result in discrepancies in statistics across tables.
  • Can I visualize all the information available in the BDS?

    No. At this time, the visualization tools do not allow for visualization of the MSA and Metro/Non-Metro tables.
  • Why are there differences between the numbers I obtain from the visualization tools and the BDS tables?

    Small differences may arise due to missing or incomplete data items (e.g., missing industry codes or location information).
  • What are "Left Censored" Firms?

    These are firms born before 1976 and for which we do not know their true age.
  • Can the number of left censored firms increase?

    It is not a given that the number of left censored firms and the number of establishments owned by such firms in a given year will be lower than those in the previous years. This is not hard to see once we understand that firms are legal units that can be rearranged, merged, or split into separate legal entities. Put simply, a left censored firm can be split into two left censored firms. Similarly, the acquisition or creation of new establishments by a left censored firms can result in a higher number of establishments belonging to left censored firms. Merger and acquisition activity can in principle then increase the number of left censored firms and the number of establishments owned by such firms. Note that this is not true for statistics on the number of establishments using establishment age. That is, the number of left censored establishments using establishments age must decline over time and this is true in the BDS data.

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 What is the BDS?

The Business Dynamics Statistics (BDS) is a public use data set of annual aggregate statistics describing establishment openings and closings, firm startups, job creation and destruction by firm size, age, industrial sector, and state.

 BDS Codebook

BDS 2013 Codebook

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  BDS 2013 Codebook PDF (36 KB)

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Center for Economic Studies | (301) 763-6460 | E-mail CES |  Last Revised: September 23, 2015