Business and Professional Classification Survey

Skip top of page navigation
You are here: About the SurveysMulti-Sector Programs › Business and Professional Classification Survey


To identify and classify businesses to update the samples for current business surveys and to assist in ensuring the proper five-year Economic Census form is mailed to those businesses. The United States Code, Title 13 and 26, authorize this survey and provides for mandatory responses.


Firms or establishments with Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) that are newly assigned or recently reactivated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).


Data collected include sales, receipts or revenue; primary merchandise, product, or service lines; percent of total receipts for each primary line; company organization; North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) code; wholesale inventories; and other industry related data.


Data has been collected quarterly since 1976. This survey began as a monthly data collection in 1968. A new sample is selected each quarter. Selected firms are contacted once and report 2 months of data.


A two-phase survey and sampling process; a mail-out/mail-back survey of sampled EINs, followed by a selection procedure using the mail survey data. From a list of new or reactivated EINs updated frequently with data from the IRS, each quarter a first phase sample of approximately 14,000 numbers is selected using a stratified sample procedure. Strata are based on NAICS code and quarterly payroll. Selected EINs receive a form that requests two months of sales or receipts data and establishment and company structure information to ensure proper NAICS classification at the 5- or 6-digit level. Sales data are used as a measure of size for second phase sampling.

Based on the collected data, EINs eligible for inclusion into a current business survey are subjected to a second phase sampling. Probability of selection within strata is proportional to first phase weight. Following the second phase sampling, the selected EINs are added to appropriate current business and service industry survey registers.


The information collected allows us to update our industry codes for these establishments. This allows our current surveys to be updated with a sample of new businesses entering the business sector. Additionally, businesses will be mailed five-year Economic Census forms specifically tailored to their industry based on the classification information collected using this survey.


Economic Census

Advance Monthly Retail Sales Survey

Monthly Retail Trade Survey

Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey

Annual Retail Trade Survey

Annual Wholesale Trade Survey

Service Annual Survey




Next Program

U.S. Economy

Economy Overview