U.S. Department of Commerce

Statistics of U.S. Businesses

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Definitions in Alphabetical Order

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Annual Payroll - Total annual payroll includes all forms of compensation, such as salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, vacation allowances, sick-leave pay, and the value of payments inkind (e.g., free meals and lodgings) paid during the year to all employees.

Business Information Tracking Series (BITS) - A file which links establishments in the annual County Business Patterns data from year to year. We use a series of matches to link establishments across years. The primary match links establishments having the same census identification number in both the initial and subsequent years. These are establishments which have undergone no ownership or organizational changes.

The remainder of the matches use establishment identification numbers such as the employer identification number, as well as, establishment attributes like business name and address, ZIP code, and industry code to create links for establishments that have remained in existence but have undergone ownership or organizational changes which lead to changes in the census file numbers across years.

Using this file, we are able to create longitudinal tabulations. A longitudinal tabulation is a tabulation that provides a study of business entities across a span of years. A longitudinal tabulation measures the change in business entities, such as establishment births, deaths, expansions,and contractions for an industry and/or enterprise size. In contrast, non-longitudinal tabulations show aggregate totals for an industry and/or enterprise size. Comparison of non-longitudinal tabulations of two-year time periods do not provide explanations for changes in business entities.

Employment - Paid employment consists of full and part-time employees, including salaried officers and executives of corporations, who were on the payroll in the pay period including March 12. Included are employees on sick leave, holidays, and vacations; not included are proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses.

Employment Size Class Symbols - For all suppressed totals, employment has been replaced by an employment size class symbol. The employment for all suppressed totals has been replaced with the employment size symbols as listed below.

[2007+]
Employment Size Symbol    Employment Size Range

             A                           Less than 20
             B                           20 to 99
             C                           100 to 249
             E                           250 to 499
             F                            500 to 999
             G                           1,000 to 2,499
             H                           2,500 to 4,999
             I                            5,000 to 9,999
             J                            10,000 to 24,999
             K                           25,000 to 49,999
             L                            50,000 to 99,999
             M                          100,000 or more

[1989-2006]
Employment Size Symbol    Employment Size Range

             [a]                           Less than 20
             [b]                           20 to 99
             [c]                           100 to 249
             [e]                           250 to 499
             [f]                            500 to 999
             [g]                           1,000 to 2,499
             [h]                           2,500 to 4,999
             [i]                            5,000 to 9,999
             [j]                            10,000 to 24,999
             [k]                           25,000 to 49,999
             [l]                            50,000 to 99,999
             [m]                          100,000 or more

Enterprise - An enterprise is a business organization consisting of one or more domestic establishments that were specified under common ownership or control. The enterprise and the establishment are the same for single-establishment firms. Each multi-establishment company forms one enterprise - the enterprise employment and annual payroll are summed from the associated establishments.

Enterprise Size - Enterprise size designations are determined by the summed employment of all associated establishments. The enterprise size group `0` includes enterprises for which no associated establishments reported paid employees in the mid-March pay period but paid employees at some time during the year.

Establishment - A single physical location where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed.

Establishment Births - Births are establishments that have zero employment in the first quarter of the initial year and positive employment in the first quarter of the subsequent year.

Establishments Contractions - Contractions are establishments that have positive first quarter employment in both the initial and subsequent years and decrease employment during the time period between the first quarter of the initial year and the first quarter of the subsequent year.

Establishment Deaths - Deaths are establishments that have positive employment in the first quarter of the initial year and zero employment in the first quarter of the subsequent year.

Establishment Expansions - Expansions are establishments that have positive first quarter employment in both the initial and subsequent years and increase employment during the time period between the first quarter of the initial year and the first quarter of the subsequent year.

Firm - A firm is a business organization consisting of one or more domestic establishments in the same state and industry that were specified under common ownership or control. The firm and the establishment are the same for single-establishment firms. For each multi-establishment firm, establishments in the same industry within a state will be counted as one firm- the firm employment and annual payroll are summed from the associated establishments.

Legal Form of Organization (LFO) -

[2008 +]
1. Corporation - An incorporated business that is granted a charter recognizing it as a separate legal entity having its own privileges, and liabilities distinct from those of its members.
2. S-Corporation - A form of Corporation where the entity does not pay any federal income taxes. The corporation's income or losses are divided among and passed to its shareholders. The shareholders must then report the income or loss on their own individual income tax returns.
3. Partnership - An unicorporated business where two or more persons join to carry on a trade or business with each having a shared financial interest in the business.
4. Sole Proprietorships - An unincorporated business with a sole owner.
5. Non-profits - An organization that does not distribute surplus funds to its owners or shareholders, but instead uses surplus funds to help pursue its goals. Most non-profit organizations are exempt from taxes.
6. Government - A business that taxpayers primarily fund. Most government businesses are out of scope to the Statistics of U.S. Businesses (SUSB) program.
7. Other (trusts, estates, cooperatives with undetermined tax status, etc.)

[2007]
1.Corporations (subject to taxes) - Enterprises legally incorporated under state laws.
2. Tax-Exempt Corporations - Enterprises legally incorporated under state laws, not subject to taxes.
3. S-Corporations - Corporation with 75 or fewer shareholders, that has elected and qualified for a special tax status.
4. Partnerships - Unincorporated enterprises owned by two or more persons having financial interest in the business.
5. Sole Proprietorships - Unincorporated enterprises owned by one person.
6. Government
7. Other (trusts, estates, cooperatives with undetermined tax status, etc.)
8. Tax-Exempt Other (religious organizations, etc.)

[2002-2006]
1. Corporations (subject to taxes) - Enterprises legally incorporated under state laws.
2. Tax-Exempt Corporations - Enterprises legally incorporated under state laws & not subject to taxes.
3. Partnerships - Unincorporated enterprises owned by two or more persons having financial interest in the business.
4. Sole Proprietorships - Unincorporated enterprises owned by one person.
5. Other (trusts, estates, cooperatives with undetermined tax status, etc.) - Enterprises that are formed by other legal form of organization.
6. Tax-Exempt Other (religious organizations, etc.) - Enterprises that are formed by other legal form of organization & not subject to taxes.
7. Unknown - Enterprises with unknown legal form of organization.

[1988-2001]
1. Corporations - Enterprises legally incorporated under state laws.
2. Partnerships - Unincorporated enterprises owned by two or more persons having financial interest in the business.
3. Sole Proprietorships - Unincorporated enterprises owned by one person.
4. Nonprofit Organizations - Enterprises with non-profit status (tax-exempt).
5. Other (Associations, Trust, Joint Ventures, Estates, etc.) - Enterprises that are formed by other legal form of organization.
6. Unknown - Enterprises with unknown legal form of organization.


Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) -

[2007-2011] Based on OMB definitions effective December 2006.

[2003-2006] Based on OMB definitions effective June 2003.
A core area with a substantial population nucleus, together with adjacent communities having a high degree of social and economic integration with that core.
  • Metropolitan Statistical Areas have at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more population, plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured by commuting ties.
  • Micropolitan Statistical Areas have at least one urban cluster of at least 10,000 but less than 50,000 population, plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured by commuting ties.
[1988-2002] A MSA is an integrated economic and social unit with a large population nucleus. Each MSA consists of one or more counties or statistically equivalent area meeting published standards of population and metropolitan character; in the six New England states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont), cities and towns (rather than counties) are used as the component geographic units. MSA's are based on OMB definitions effective June 1999.

Noise Range Flags

D  -   Data withheld and value set to 0 to avoid disclosing information of individual businesses; data are included in higher level totals.
G  -  Low noise applied to cell value (less than 2%)
H  -  Medium noise applied to cell value (2% or more but less than 5%)
S  -  Data withheld and value set to 0 to avoid releasing information that does not meet publication standards; data are included in higher level totals.


Receipts - Receipts (net of taxes) are defined as the revenue for goods produced, distributed, or services provided, including revenue earned from premiums, commissions and fees, rents, interest, dividends, and royalties. Receipts excludes all revenue collected for local, state, and federal taxes. Receipts are acquired from the Economic Census data for establishments in industries that are in-scope to the Economic Census; receipts are acquired from IRS tax data for single-establishment businesses in industries that are out-of-scope to the Economic Census; payroll-to-receipts ratios are used to estimate receipts for multi-establishment businesses in industries that are out-of-scope to the Economic Census. Statistics of U.S. Businesses tabulations provide summed establishment receipts which creates some duplication of receipts for large multi-establishment enterprises. Receipts data are available for years ending in 2 and 7.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Statistics of U.S. Businesses | (301) 763-3321 or Email |  Last Revised: April 03, 2013