Economic Programs are the Census Bureau's primary program commitment during non-decennial census years. These programs cover virtually every sector of the economy, feature unique industry and geographic statistics, and provide information that is critical for understanding the changing economic structure and performance of the United States and its territories. They yield data products from the economic census covering years ending in "2" and "7." For the United States, a variety of current surveys are also conducted on a more frequent basis (monthly, quarterly, and annually). Economic Programs statistics are widely used by policy officials, economic analysts, business decision-makers, and the news media.
The Economic Census of Island Areas is the major source of facts about the structure and functioning of the economy of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. It provides essential information for government, business, industry, and the general public. Title 13 of the United States Code (Sections 131, 191, and 224) directs the Census Bureau to take the economic census every 5 years (covering years ending in "2" and "7") and this same law protects the privacy of businesses that respond to the economic census.
The Economic Census of Island Areas furnishes an important part of the framework for such composite measures, such as gross domestic product/gross island product estimates, input/output measures, and other statistical series that measure short-term changes in economic conditions. Specific uses of economic census data include the following:
The 2012, 2007 and 2002 Economic Censuses present data based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The changes between 2012 and 2007 NAICS have had a much smaller impact on the comparability of data than the change from SIC to NAICS had between the 1997 and 2002 censuses. Additional information about NAICS is available from the NAICS website.
For American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, 2012 fringe benefits are not comparable with 2007 data due to changes introduced in the employer’s cost for benefits question. The fringe benefits question is introduced for Puerto Rico in 2012.
The 2012 economic census questionnaire requested the respondents to provide the cost for payroll taxes and any other legally required employee benefits, as well as the cost for voluntarily provided benefits. Whereas, in 2007 the survey question requested the total cost for fringe benefits for American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Capital expenditures and depreciation charges have also been added to American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and extended to all questionnaires for Puerto Rico. The 2012 economic census requested the respondents to provide the dollar value of capital expenditures for buildings and structures, machinery and equipment, and depreciation charges.
For Puerto Rico, the nine commercial regions will be replaced with eleven planning regions. This change will improve the comparability between demographic and economic data.
The inclusion of government-operated business data in the 2012 Economic Census limits the comparability of several sectors within the island areas. See below a list of the sectors that are affected for each island area:Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
The economic census has been taken at 5-year intervals for the following areas, except where noted below:
The range of industries covered in the economic census for American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico was broadened in 2002. Sectors added for the first time in 2002 include information, finance and insurance, real estate, health care, and other service industries.
Printed statistical reports from the 2002 and earlier censuses provide historical data for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and are available in some libraries. For American Samoa only the 2002 printed report provides historical data. Printed reports from 1997 and earlier censuses provide historical data for Puerto Rico. Reports for 1992, 1997, and 2002 are also available in portable document format (PDF) on the Internet.
Accurate and complete information on the physical location of each establishment is required to tabulate the census data for municipalities, districts, towns, villages, counties, municipios, or islands. Respondents are required to report their physical location (street address or location description and municipality, district, town, village, county, municipio, or island) if it differs from their mailing address. For those establishments that do not provide acceptable information on physical location, location information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax forms or from the previous census is used as a basis for coding.
The level of geographic detail covered varies by island. Data may be presented for:
A detailed overview of the geographies for the 2012 Economic Census can be found in the Geography section in the Economic Census Help Center. The information presented includes geographic area definitions, reference maps, and geographic notes that outline changes within each island since the 2007 Economic Census. Also, it provides a reference lists of places added and dropped for the 2012 Economic Census.
The economic census is conducted on an establishment basis. A company operating at more than one location is required to file a separate report for each store, factory, shop, or other location. Each establishment is assigned a separate industry classification based on its primary activity and not that of its parent company.
The 2012 Economic Census of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are conducted by mail. Descriptions of the sources of data for the island areas follow:
The report forms used to collect information for establishments in the island areas are available at the Get Forms Page.
A more detailed examination of census methodology is presented in the Methodology Page.
The classifications for all establishments are based on the North American Industry Classification System, United States, 2012 manual. The method of assigning classifications and the level of detail at which establishments are classified depends on whether or not a report form was obtained for the establishment.
Data from the 2012 Economic Census is published according to the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The 2012 Economic Census of Island Areas will cover the following NAICS sectors:
(Not covered in the economic census are the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting sector (NAICS 11), Elementary and Secondary Schools (NAICS 6111), Junior Colleges (NAICS 6112), Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools (NAICS 6113), and the Public Administration sector (NAICS 92).
The 18 NAICS sectors are subdivided into 86 subsectors (3-digit codes), 286 industry groups (4-digit codes), and 650 NAICS industries (5-digit codes).
Data from the 2012 Economic Census of Island Areas are published using the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The structure of the NAICS system becomes progressively narrower with successive additions of numerical digits. An establishment is classified in a particular industry on the basis of its self-designation, as well as answers to other survey questions. The 2012 Island Areas Economic Census covers the following NAICS sectors:
The mining sector comprises establishments that extract naturally occurring mineral solids, such as coal and ores; liquid minerals, such as crude petroleum; and gases, such as natural gas. The most common type of mining activity in the island areas comprises stone quarrying. The mining sector distinguishes two basic activities: mine operation and mining support activities. Establishments are grouped and classified according to the natural resource mined or to be mined. Industries include establishments that develop the mine site, extract the natural resources, and/or those that beneficiate (i.e., prepare) the mineral mined.
The utilities sector comprises establishments engaged in the provision of the following utility services: electric power, natural gas, steam supply, water supply, and sewage removal. Activities associated with the utility services provided vary by utility: electric power includes generation, transmission, and distribution; natural gas includes distribution; steam supply includes provision and/or distribution; water supply includes treatment and distribution; and sewage removal includes collection, treatment, and disposal of waste through sewer systems and sewage treatment facilities.
The construction sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in the construction of buildings or engineering projects (e.g., highways and utility systems). Establishments primarily engaged in the preparation of sites for new construction and establishments primarily engaged in subdividing land for sale as building sites also are included in this sector.
Construction work done may include new work, additions, alterations, or maintenance and repairs. Activities of these establishments generally are managed at a fixed place of business, but they usually perform construction activities at multiple project sites. Production responsibilities for establishments in this sector are usually specified in (1) contracts with the owners of construction projects or (2) contracts with other construction establishments.
Establishments primarily engaged in contracts that include responsibility for all aspects of individual construction projects are commonly known as general contractors, but also may be known as design-builders, construction managers, turnkey contractors, or (in cases where two or more establishments jointly secure a general contract) joint-venture contractors. Construction managers that provide oversight and scheduling only (i.e., agency) as well as construction managers that are responsible for the entire project (i.e., at risk) are included as general contractor type establishments. Establishments of the "general contractor" type frequently arrange construction of separate parts of their projects through subcontracts with other construction establishments.
Establishments primarily engaged in activities to produce a specific component (e.g., masonry, painting, and electrical work) of a construction project are commonly known as specialty trade contractors. Activities of specialty trade contractors are usually subcontracted from other construction establishments, but especially in remodeling and repair construction, the work may be done directly for the owner of the property.
Establishments primarily engaged in activities to construct buildings to be sold on sites that they own are known as operative builders, but also may be known as speculative builders or merchant builders. Operative builders produce buildings in a manner similar to general contractors, but their production processes also include site acquisition and securing of financial backing. Operative builders are most often associated with the construction of residential buildings. Like general contractors, they may subcontract all or part of the actual construction work on their buildings.
There are substantial differences in the types of equipment, work force skills, and other inputs required by establishments in this sector. To highlight these differences and variations in the underlying production functions, this sector is divided into three subsectors.
Subsector 236, Construction of Buildings, comprises establishments of the general contractor type and operative builders involved in the construction of buildings. Subsector 237, Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction, comprises establishments involved in the construction of engineering projects. Subsector 238, Specialty Trade Contractors, comprises establishments engaged in specialty trade activities generally needed in the construction of all types of buildings.
Information for the construction sector is not included in the Geographic Area Series data files for Puerto Rico.
The manufacturing sector comprises establishments engaged in the mechanical, physical, or chemical transformation of materials, substances, or components into new products. The assembling of component parts of manufactured products is considered manufacturing, except in cases where the activity is appropriately classified in Sector 23, Construction. Manufacturing establishments from this sector are often described as plants, factories, or mills and characteristically use power-driven machines and materials-handling equipment. The subsectors in the manufacturing sector generally reflect distinct production processes related to material inputs, production equipment, and employee skills. However, establishments that transform materials or substances into new products by hand or in the workers home and those engaged in selling to the general public products made on the same premises from which they are sold, such as bakeries, candy stores, and custom tailors, may also be included in this sector. Manufacturing establishments may process materials or may contract with other establishments to process their materials for them. Both types of establishments are included in manufacturing.
The tabulations for this sector do not include central administrative offices, warehouses, or other establishments that serve retail establishments within the same organization. Data for such establishments are classified according to the nature of the service they provide. For example, separate headquarters establishments are reported in NAICS sector 55, Management of Companies and Enterprises.
The economic census includes, for the first time since 1992, the Petroleum Refineries (NAICS 32411) for the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Information for the manufacturing sector is not included in the Geographic Area Series data files for Puerto Rico.
The wholesale trade sector comprises establishments engaged in wholesaling merchandise, generally without transformation, and rendering services incidental to the sale of merchandise. The wholesaling process is an intermediate step in the distribution of merchandise. Wholesalers are organized to sell or arrange the purchase or sale of goods for resale (i.e., goods sold to other wholesalers or retailers), capital or durable nonconsumer goods, or raw and intermediate materials and supplies used in production. Wholesalers normally operate from a warehouse or office. This sector comprises two main types of wholesalers: those that sell goods on their own account known as wholesale merchants and those that arrange sales and purchases for others generally for a commission or fee.
The retail trade sector comprises establishments engaged in retailing merchandise, generally without transformation, and rendering services incidental to the sale of merchandise. The retailing process is the final step in the distribution of merchandise. Retailers sell merchandise in small quantities to the general public. This sector comprises two main types of retailers: store and nonstore retailers. Store retailers operate fixed point-of-sale locations to attract walk-in customers. Nonstore retailers, also serve the general public by reaching customers and marketing merchandise with methods, such as the broadcasting of "infomercials," the broadcasting and publishing of direct-response advertising, the publishing of paper and electronic catalogs, door-to-door solicitation, in-home demonstration, selling from portable stalls (street vendors, except food), and distribution through vending machines.
The transportation and warehousing sector includes industries providing transportation of passengers and cargo, warehousing and storage for goods, scenic and sightseeing transportation, and support activities related to modes of transportation. The modes of transportation are air, rail, water, road, and pipeline. This sector distinguishes three basic types of activities: subsectors for each mode of transportation, a subsector for warehousing and storage, and a subsector for establishments providing support activities for transportation. In addition, there are subsectors for establishments that provide passenger transportation for scenic and sightseeing purposes, postal services, and courier services.
The Information sector comprises establishments engaged in producing and distributing information and cultural products, providing the means to transmit or distribute these products as well as data or communications, and processing data. The main components of this sector are the publishing industries, including software publishing, and both traditional publishing and publishing exclusively on the Internet; the motion picture and sound recording industries; the broadcasting industries, including traditional broadcasting and those broadcasting exclusively over the Internet; the telecommunications industries; the industries known as Internet service providers and Web search portals, data processing industries and the information services industries.
The finance and insurance sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in financial transactions and/or in facilitating financial transactions. Three principal types of activities are identified: Raising funds by taking deposits and/or issuing securities and, in the process, incurring liabilities; pooling of risk by underwriting insurance and annuities; and providing specialized services facilitating or supporting financial intermediation, insurance, and employee benefit programs. Monetary authorities charged with monetary control are also included in this sector.
The real estate and rental and leasing sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in renting, leasing, or otherwise allowing the use of tangible or intangible assets, and establishments providing related services. This sector also includes establishments engaged in managing real estate for others, selling, renting and/or buying real estate for others, and appraising real estate.
The professional, scientific, and technical services sector comprises establishments that specialize in performing professional, scientific, and technical activities for others. The establishments in this sector specialize according to expertise and provide to a variety of industries and households. Activities performed include: legal advice and representation; accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll services; architectural, engineering, and specialized design services; computer services; consulting services; research services; advertising services; photographic services; translation and interpretation services; veterinary services; and other professional, scientific, and technical services.
The management of companies and enterprises sector comprises establishments that hold the securities of companies and enterprises for the purpose of owning a controlling interest or influencing management decisions or establishments (except government establishments) that administer, oversee, and manage establishments of the company or enterprise and that normally undertake the strategic or organizational planning and decision-making role of the company or enterprise. Establishments that administer, oversee, and manage may hold the securities of the company or enterprise.
The administrative and support and waste management and remediation services sector comprises establishments performing routine support activities for the day-to-day operations of other organizations. Establishments in many sectors of the economy often undertake these essential activities in-house. The establishments in this sector specialize in one or more of these support activities and provide these services to clients in a variety of industries and, in some cases, to households. Activities performed include: office administration, hiring and placing of personnel, document preparation and similar clerical services, solicitation, collection, security and surveillance services, cleaning, and waste disposal services.
The educational services sector comprises establishments that provide instruction and training in a wide variety of subjects. Instruction and training are provided by specialized establishments, such as schools, colleges, universities, and training centers. These establishments may be privately owned and operated for profit or not for profit, or they may be publicly owned and operated. They may also offer food and accommodation services to their students.
The economic census of island areas excludes Elementary and Secondary Schools (NAICS 6111); Junior Colleges (NAICS 6112); and Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools (NAICS 6113).
The health care and social assistance sector comprises establishments providing health care and social assistance for individuals. The sector includes both health care and social assistance because it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the boundaries of these two activities. The services provided by establishments in this sector are delivered by trained professionals. All industries in the sector share this commonality of process, namely, labor inputs of health practitioners or social workers with the requisite expertise. Many of the industries in the sector are defined based on the educational degree held by the practitioners included in the industry.
The arts, entertainment, and recreation sector includes a wide range of establishments that operate facilities or provide services to meet varied cultural, entertainment, and recreational interests of their patrons. This sector comprises establishments that are involved in producing, promoting, or participating in live performances, events, or exhibits intended for public viewing, establishments that preserve and exhibit objects and sites of historical, cultural, or educational interest, and establishments that operate facilities or provide services that enable patrons to participate in recreational activities or pursue amusement, hobby, and leisure time interests.
The accommodation and food services sector comprises establishments providing customers with lodging and/or preparing meals, snacks, and beverages for immediate consumption. The sector includes both accommodation and food services establishments because the two activities are often combined at the same establishment.
The other services (except public administration) sector comprises establishments engaged in providing services not specifically provided for elsewhere in the classification system. Establishments in this sector are primarily engaged in activities such as equipment and machinery repairing, promoting or administering religious activities, grant making, advocacy, and providing dry-cleaning and laundry services, personal care services, death care services, pet care services, photofinishing services, temporary parking services, and dating services.
(Not covered are the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting sector (NAICS 11); Elementary and Secondary Schools (NAICS 6111); Junior Colleges (NAICS 6112); Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools (NAICS 6113); and the Public Administration sector (NAICS 92).
Prior to the 2002 Economic Census of Island Areas, data were published according to the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system. While many of the individual NAICS industries correspond directly to industries as defined under the SIC system, most of the higher-level groupings do not. Particular care should be taken in comparing data for retail trade, wholesale trade and manufacturing, which are sector titles used in both NAICS and SIC, but cover somewhat different groups of industries. Where changes are significant, it may not be possible to construct time series that include data for points both before and after 2002.
Most industry classifications remained unchanged between 2007 and 2012; but NAICS 2012 includes slight revisions within the Manufacturing (NAICS 31-33), Information (NAICS 51), Finance and Insurance (NAICS 52), Real Estate and Rental and Leasing (NAICS 53), Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (NAICS 54), and Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services (NAICS 56) sectors.
All data compiled in these sets of data files originated from a complete enumeration and, therefore, are not subject to sampling variability. However, the data are subject to nonsampling errors. Nonsampling errors can be attributed to many sources including: inability to identify all cases in the actual universe; inability or unwillingness on the part of respondents to provide correct information; definition and classification difficulties; response errors and bias; errors in collection or processing; misinterpretation of questions; and other errors of recording, keying, and estimation for missing or misreported data.
No direct measurement of these effects has been obtained. Precautionary steps were taken in all phases of the collection, processing, and tabulation of the data in an effort to minimize the effects of nonsampling errors. More information on the reliability of the data is included in the Methodology.
All dollar values presented are expressed in current dollars. All dollar values are shown in thousands of dollars.
In accordance with federal law governing census reports (Title 13 of the United States Code, Section 9), no data are published that would disclose the operations of an individual establishment or business. However, the number of establishments in a kind-of-business classification is not considered a disclosure; therefore, this information may be released. Cell values that have a potential for revealing confidential information must be suppressed or have their values perturbed by using the "Noise Infusion" technique described below.
Noise infusion is a method of disclosure avoidance in which values for each firm are perturbed prior to table creation by applying a random noise multiplier to the magnitude data (i.e., characteristics such as receipts, payroll, and number of employees) for each company. Disclosure protection is accomplished in a manner that results in a relatively small change in the vast majority of cell values. For the 2012 Economic Census of Island Areas, each published cell value has an associated noise flag, indicating the relative amount of distortion in the cell value resulting from the perturbation of the data for the contributors to the cell. The flag for low noise (G) indicates the cell value was changed by less than 2 percent with the application of noise, and the flag for moderate noise (H) indicates the value was changed by 2 percent or more but less than 8 percent. Cells that have been changed by 8 percent or more are suppressed from the published tables. Additionally, other cells in the table may be suppressed for additional protection from disclosure or because the quality of the data does not meet publication standards. Though some of these suppressed cells may be derived by subtraction, the results are not official and may differ substantially from the true estimate.
The number of firms in a particular tabulation cell is not considered a disclosure of confidential information about an individual establishment; therefore, this information may be released without the infusion of noise. For an introduction to the noise confidentiality protection method, see Using Noise for Disclosure Limitation of Establishment Tabular Data [PDF 105KB] by Timothy Evans, Laura Zayatz, and John Slanta in the Journal of Official Statistics (1998).
Census report forms include two types of inquiries: general inquiries and industry-specific inquiries. Data for the general inquiries, which include location, kind of business or operation, payroll, and number of employees, are available from a combination of sources for all establishments. Data for industry-specific inquiries, tailored to particular kinds of business, are available only from those establishments that completed the appropriate inquiries on the report form.
For total nonresponse cases (report forms not returned) and missing items, the establishment's administrative records information is used in conjunction with industry averages, prior period data, and outside reference sources to estimate general and industry-specific inquiries. Large nonresponse cases are contacted to obtain information for general and industry-specific inquiries, as appropriate.
When reporting is incomplete or inadequate, product-line data for Puerto Rico wholesale and retail trades are expanded on the premise that data for those establishments not reporting this information are similar to product-line data for those establishments in the same kind of business that reported this information. In the 2012 Economic Census, the method used to account for nonresponse to product-line inquiries was to expand the total of reported data to represent 100 percent of the universe. Data presented for product lines are expanded in direct relationship to total sales of all establishments included in the category. A similar expansion was done using the number of establishments that reported product lines to adjust the establishment count.
Census data are available on the American FactFinder system at the Web site (www.factfinder2.census.gov). The system allows selective retrieval and downloading of the data.
Special tabulations of data collected in the 2012 Economic Census of Island Areas may be obtained, depending on availability of time and personnel, in electronic or tabular form. The data will be summaries subject to the same rules prohibiting disclosure of confidential information (including name, address, kind of business, or other data for individual business establishments or companies) that govern the regular data files.
Special tabulations are prepared on a cost basis. A request for a cost estimate, as well as exact specifications on the type and format of the data to be provided should be directed to the Chief of the Economic Census Branch, Company Statistics Division, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington DC 20233-6400.