An establishment is a single physical location at which business is conducted and/or services are provided. It is not necessarily identical with a company or enterprise, which may consist of one establishment or more.

Economic census figures represent a summary of reports for individual establishments rather than companies. For cases where a census report was received, separate information was obtained for each location where business was conducted. When administrative records of other federal agencies were used instead of a census report, no information was available on the number of locations operated. Each economic census establishment was tabulated according to the physical location at which the business was conducted. The count of establishments represents those in business at any time during 2002.

When two activities or more were carried on at a single location under a single ownership, all activities generally were grouped together as a single establishment. The entire establishment was classified on the basis of its major activity and all data for it were included in that classification. However, when distinct and separate economic activities (for which different industry classification codes were appropriate) were conducted at a single location under a single ownership, separate establishment reports for each of the different activities were obtained in the census.


Accommodation and Food Services

Leased departments are treated as separate establishments and are classified according to the kind of business they conduct. For example, a leased department selling gifts/souvenirs within a hotel would be considered a separate establishment under the "gift, novelty, and souvenir stores" classification in the Retail Trade sector.

Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services; Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation; Educational Services; Health Care and Social Assistance; Information; Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services; and Other Services (Except Public Administration)

An establishment is included in the census if it is an employer, the establishment has $1,000 in payroll, and was in operation at any time during 2002. Leased service departments (separately owned businesses operated as departments or concessions of the other service establishments or of retail businesses, such as a separately owned shoeshine parlor in a barber shop, or a beauty shop in a department store) are treated as separate service establishments for census purposes. Leased retail departments located in service establishments (e.g., a gift shop located in a hotel) are considered separate retail establishments.


All establishments that were in business at any time during the year are included. Construction establishments that were inactive or idle for the entire year were not included.


All manufacturing establishments (plants) with one employee or more, in operation at any time during the year, are included.


For the crude petroleum and support activities for mining industries, the basis for reporting is different from the establishments basis used for other types of mining. Firms operating oil and gas wells, drilling wells, or exploring for oil and gas for their own account were required to submit a separate report for each state or offshore area adjacent to a state in which it conducted such activities. Firms that performed contract services for oil and gas field operation or for mining establishments were required to submit one report covering all such activities in the United States and to include information on receipts for services and production-worker wages and hours by state. These consolidated reports were then allocated to state establishments based on the data reported at the state level.

Real Estate and Rental and Leasing

Data for individual properties leased or managed by property lessors or property managers are not normally considered separate establishments, but rather the permanent offices from which the properties are leased or managed are considered establishments. Data for separate automotive rental offices or concessions (e.g., airport locations) in the same metropolitan area, for which a common fleet of cars is maintained, are merged together and not considered as separate establishments.

Retail Trade

Leased departments are treated as separate establishments and are classified according to the kind of business they conduct. For example, a leased department selling shoes within a department store would be considered a separate retail establishment under the "shoe stores" classification.