Economic Census main page

Census Bureau

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Navigation

  1. How do I navigate the drill-down tables?
  2. Where can I find the data that are not in drill-down tables?
  3. How can I find data quickly in a large document?
  4. How can I quickly navigate a long list in a pull-down menu?
  5. How can I compare the data for two areas side-by-side?
  6. How can I get a list of the places published within each county?

Downloading data

  1. How do I export data from drill-down pages to my spreadsheet?
  2. How can I export data from a PDF document to my spreadsheet?

Industries and totals

  1. Where can I find totals across all industries, not just the sector-by-sector figures shown in the Economic Census?
  2. Why don't the NAICS categories within a sector add to sector totals?
  3. How can I convert NAICS-based data into the SIC categories I am familiar with?

Ranking

  1. Where can I find rankings showing the largest states or counties?

Data sources beyond the Economic Census

  1. What sources are available to update the 1997 data shown in these pages?
  2. How can I get county or metro area data for sectors not published at that level in the Economic Census.
  3. Can I get industry data for census tracts, block groups, American Indian reservations or other small areas shown in the population census?
  4. Where can I get data about public sector jobs to complement the data in the Economic Census?
  5. Where can I get characteristics of the people working in an area, like occupation, sex, race, and age?

Company data

  1. Where can I find data classified by the size of the company?
  2. Can I get a list of the companies enumerated in the Economic Census?


Navigation

  1. How do I navigate the drill-down tables?
    1. To navigate to a particular geographic area, use the drop-down menus in the upper right corner of each page.
      • After you select an option, you must click the GO button next to it. (The use of GO buttons facilitates accessibility of the data to screen readers for the blind.)
    2. down arrowDown arrows take you to more detailed data, most often to finer breakdowns of the industry category shown.
    3. Underlined industry descriptions (and column headings) take you to definitions, not additional detail. (Use your browser's back button to return to the data.)
    4. A NAICS search is in the upper right corner of US pages only (since it takes you to US level data.)
      • You can enter a word or code. If you don't get entries, consider shortening your search term. SIC xxxx also works.
    5. There are 8 types of drill-down tables from the 1997 Economic Census, Nonemployer Statistics and Statistics of US Business (by employment size).
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  2. Where can I find the data that are not in drill-down tables?
    • See the comparison between CD-ROM, PDF, AFF and drill-down table coverage.
    • For statistics missing in drill-downs, like the Industry Series and Subject Series data, go to the list of PDFs.

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  3. How can I find data quickly in a large document?
    • If you are looking for a particular character string you think might be unique in the document, like a geographic area name or a NAICS code, use your browser's "Find" feature (hit Control-F or select Edit | Find in this page). Adobe Acrobat also has a "Find" that works in PDFs (Control-F or click on the binoculars icon).
    • In PDFs with many tables, use the table of contents (frequently starting on page 5). Find the table you want, note its document page number, then convert that to a PDF page number by adding a constant (5 works in most economic census reports). Enter the PDF page number in the box that says "5 of xx" in the lower left of the window.

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  4. How can I quickly navigate a long list in a pull-down menu?
    • In a pull-down menu, type the first character of the entity you are looking for. In a state menu, typing "W" should take you straight to Washington, and, even if you are looking for Wisconsin, you won't have far to go. This technique is especially important in long menus of counties, metro areas, or ZIP codes.
    • Type only one character. If you type WI, your browser will take you to the W's and then immediately to the I's, so you could end up with Idaho rather than Wisconsin.

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  5. How can I compare the data for two areas side-by-side?
    • If you just want to compare a small number of areas side by side, open a new window in your browser for each area (Control-N does this in Netscape and Internet Explorer) and resize and reposition the windows so you can see multiple displays at the same time.

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  6. How can I get a list of the places published within each county?
    • 1992 census reports included a convenient hierarchic list of places within county. Open a 1992 PDF for your state and navigate to table 4. Very few places were added to the list between 1992 and 1997.

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Downloading data

  1. How do I export or download data from the drill-down pages for manipulation in my spreadsheet?
    • If the data you want are on the page you are viewing, do File | Save As... to your local drive in html format (using extension .htm or .html). Most spreadsheet programs will read html files directly, often preserving most formatting features.

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  2. How can I export data from a PDF document to my spreadsheet?
    • Not easily. Full versions of Acrobat have a text selection tool (big T) that allows export of text. In exporting tables, the columns are separated only by spaces, and you can't discriminiate these breaks from the spaces between hundreds and thousands without looking back at the pdf. Thus, columnar data exported this way requires tedious cleanup and parsing before data can be used in a spreadsheet.

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Industries and totals

  1. Where can I find totals across all industries, not just the sector-by-sector figures shown in the Economic Census?
    • Data from the 1997 surveys of minority- and women-owned business enterprises include a "Universe (All Firms)" line that includes sales, payroll and employment figures generally comparable to Economic Census breakdowns by sector. These figures won't match exactly the sum of the 18 sectors because of slight differences in coverage.
    • County Business Patterns, Metropolitan Business Patterns, and ZIP Code Business Patterns include an industry total. Relative to the Economic Census, there are modest differences in coverage.

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  2. Why don't the NAICS categories within a sector add to sector totals?
    • The first thing is to understand what is supposed to add up. Theoretically, any sector (2-digit NAICS) total should equal the sum of component subsectors (3-digit NAICS), each 3-digit figure should correspond to the sum of component 4-digits, and so forth. If you add together NAICS codes at more than one level, you could get a sum greater than the true total.
    • At the same time, below the national level, NAICS categories are published only when they meet certain criteria that vary from industry to industry. For example, county or city figures are shown only for those manufacturing industry categories that have at least 500 employees. Your detailed figures may not add to higher level totals because some categories simply aren't shown. (For missing industries, you may check County Business Patterns, which does not have publication cutoffs. The first year CBP used NAICS was 1998.)
    • Some figures are withheld (replaced with D) to avoid disclosure of confidential information. Data withheld at one level are still included in higher level figures. The number of establishments is never suppressed, so you may be able to confirm additive relationships with establishment counts that you can't with other figures. In most places where sales or payroll figures are suppressed, employment is shown in ranges (e.g., 20-49 employees).

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  3. How can I convert NAICS-based data into the SIC categories I am familiar with?
    • It's not easy. Where possible, use 1997 data that are already presented by SIC in Comparative Statistics.
    • Under half of all 4-digit SIC categories have direct NAICS counterparts or can be reconstructed by adding whole NAICS codes together. Another group can be approximated within 3 percent of sales using whole NAICS codes. You can identify which these are by looking for the Comparable or Almost comparable symbols in the Bridge Between NAICS and SIC. For the remaining SIC codes, identified with Not comparable, the bridge data allow you to determine what proportions of particular NAICS contribute to a given SIC. Note that any proration is subject to considerable error, and prorating on sales or employment might give significantly different results.

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Ranking
  1. Where can I find rankings showing the largest states in each industry or counties in each state?

    • Industry Statistics Samplers list states in order of decreasing sales, receipts, or value of shipments, for any industry.
    • Counties are listed in order of decreasing retail sales in state-by-state links in the Writer's Toolkit
    • Because some area figures are suppressed to avoid disclosure of confidential information, you can't always assume that the area with the highest published figure is in fact the largest. For example, in a ranking of NAICS 713210, Casinos (except casino hotels), many important states are listed at the bottom because their sales are "D". Two of these (Connecticut and Mississippi) have more than 10,000 employees, more than the state at the top of the list (Illinois). In the Industry Statistics Samplers, it is always useful to examine the size of the "All other states" line, which is derived by subtracting the sum of all states with published sales from the national sales figure.

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Data sources beyond the Economic Census

  1. What sources are available to update the 1997 data shown in these pages?
    • Click on 1998-2001, here or under "Latest data" in the lefthand column. County Business Patterns has annual data on establishments, employment, and payroll (but no sales or receipts) for the same industries and most of the geographic areas (except places) shown in the Economic Census.
    • Data will be published from the 2002 Economic Census starting in early 2004. See the schedule for particular series.

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  2. Can I get county or metro area data for sectors not published at that level in the Economic Census.

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  3. Can I get industry data for census tracts, block groups, townships, American Indian reservations or other small areas shown in the population census?
    • Census 2000 is the only data set that provides employment by industry for tracts, block groups, townships, Indian reservations, Congressional Districts, and a variety of other specialized areas. The only areas shown in the Economic Census are states, counties, places with 2500 or more inhabitants, metro areas, and ZIP Codes.
    • Note that the data in Census 2000 are counts of residents of the block group employed in that industry. Economic Census data are counts of persons who work in the specified area. (See the note on Census 2000 data by place of work under the next question.) Users should also recognize that Economic Census figures exclude most self-employed individuals and other "nonemployers".
    • Census 2000 detail in SF3 includes employment in each of the 18 NAICS sectors shown in the Economic Census, plus two more outside the scope of the Economic Census: agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; and public administration. SF3 also includes some broader sector groupings not shown in the Economic Census. SF4 includes over 80 industry categories, typically corresponding to 3-digit NAICS, but with some quirky omissions. The SF3 and SF4 data are shown separately for males and females.
    • Economic Census data by ZIP code include only 9 of the 18 sectors, and, except for the figures shown on the website, include only counts of establishments by employment-size class and sales-size class, not actual counts of employees. ZIP Code Business Patterns is another source of similar statistics by detailed industry.

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  4. Where can I get data about public sector jobs to complement the data in the Economic Census?
    • The Census of Governments, conducted for the same years as the Economic Census, summarizes employment in state and local governments. Counts of federal employees by state (even-numbered years only) theoretically complete the picture. There is a small amount of overlap: the Economic Census includes state-run liquor stores (retail trade) and government-owned hospitals (health care and social services).
    • A special tabulation of place-of-work data from Census 2000, the Census Transportation Planning Package (CTPP), will produce employment numbers by sector by county, place, census tract, and traffic zone of work. The sector totals will include the agriculture and public administration sectors not touched in the Economic Census, as well as the public school and social service agency employment not covered in the Economic Census or County Business Patterns. CTPP 2000 data are expected in early 2004 on CD-ROM.
    • For counties and cities of 100,000 or more population, the Census 2000 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) special tabulation shows detailed occupation by industry (generally 3-digit NAICS), including 13 categories outside the scope of the Economic Census.

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  5. Where can I get characteristics of the people working in an area, like occupation, sex, race, and age?
    • The Census Transportation Planning Package (CTPP) CD-ROMs, for the areas described above, includes a number of characteristics of persons working in an area including, for 15 industry sectors, sex, means of transportation to work, time arriving at work, earnings, occupation, hispanic origin, and race.
    • The Census 2000 County-to-County Worker Flow Files shows workers by county of work by county of residence.
    • The Census 2000 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) special tabulation includes the detailed occupation, race, hispanic origin and sex of workers by state and county of residence or worksite, for counties with 50,000 or more population. It also adds an age dimension (16-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60+) or educational attainment for counties or cities of 100,000 or more. One table shows detailed occupation by industry (generally 3-digit NAICS) for counties and cities of 100,000 or more population.

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Company data

  1. Where can I find data classified by the size of the company?
    • For a discussion of the various ways of defining small business and large business, and links to all relevant data sources, see the company size page.

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  2. Can I get a list of the companies enumerated in the Economic Census?
    • No. Title 13 of the U.S. Code prohibits the Census Bureau from releasing any information that could be linked to a particular company, including name and address. Various private mailing list vendors sell lists of companies classified by industry, but none of their information about individual companies comes from the Census Bureau.

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Still have questions? Ask Dr. Census.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Economic Census
Last revised: May 16 2014