U.S. Department of Commerce

Government Employment & Payroll

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By Email at
govs.employ@census.gov

By Phone at
1-800-832-2839

2013 Annual Survey of Public Employment & Payroll

Questions and Answers about the Questionnaire

Why should I complete this form? What is the purpose of this survey?

This survey provides the only source of government employment and payroll data. Government employment represents fifteen percent of the total workforce and the data we collect are often requested by other governments, researchers, and reporters. Amongst the many uses, these data are used to do comparisons of salaries between governments, aid in developing policy for state and local governments, and contribute to the government component of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The survey is endorsed by many national associations including:

  • The National School Boards Association
  • The National Association of Counties
  • The National League of Cities
  • The National Association of Towns and Townships

Is this survey mandatory?

This is a voluntary survey. However, our report is the only source of nationwide, comprehensive information on state and local government employment and payrolls. This survey is authorized by Title 13, U.S. Code, Section 182. Also, the U.S. Congress, federal agencies, state, and other local governments, educational and research organizations, and the general public use the results of our data collection.


Why did I receive this survey?

If you have received the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll, we have determined your entity is part of the 50 state governments or one of the over 90,000 local governments in the United States. Every five years (years ending in ‘2’ and ‘7’) we conduct a census, in which we attempt to collect employment data from all governments in the country. For the four years between our censuses, we collect data from a sample of governments.


How do I get taken off of your mailing list?

We cannot remove you from our mailing list as your government was selected to represent governments with certain characteristics in the United States.


I do not have any paid employees. Should I complete the survey?

Yes. If your entity does not have any paid employees please make note of this on the form and send it back to us. Although you have no paid employees, providing this information is still essential and is a completed response for your government.


We are not a government. Should I complete the survey?

If you have received a copy of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll it is because your agency is in scope of our definition of a government. We define a government to be “an organized entity which, in addition to having governmental character, has sufficient discretion in the management of its own affairs to distinguish it as separate from the administrative structure of any other governmental unit.

If you believe your agency does not fall within the scope of our definition of a government, please contact a member of the Public Employment and Payroll team by:

  Telephone: 1-800-642-4901 weekdays, 7 AM to 5 PM ET

  Email: govs.employ@census.gov


For further details on the definition and characteristics of a government entity for Census Bureau reporting, refer to the Government Finance and Employment Classification Manual at http://www.census.gov/govs/classification.


We are a non-profit organization. Should I complete the survey?

If you have received a copy of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll it is because your agency is in scope of our definition of a government. We define a government to be “an organized entity which, in addition to having governmental character, has sufficient discretion in the management of its own affairs to distinguish it as separate from the administrative structure of any other governmental unit.”

If you believe your agency does not fall within the scope of our definition of a government, please contact a member of the Public Employment and Payroll team by:

  Telephone: 1-800-642-4901 weekdays, 7 AM to 5 PM ET

  Email: govs.employ@census.gov

For further details on the definition and characteristics of a government entity for Census Bureau reporting, refer to the Government Finance and Employment Classification Manual at http://www.census.gov/govs/classification/.


The name of our government is incorrect. How do I get it changed?

To ensure the name of your government is properly corrected and recorded in our database is to return a completed copy of the survey indicating the correction or contact a member of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll team by:

  Telephone: 1-800-642-4901 weekdays, 7 AM to 5 PM ET

  Email: govs.employ@census.gov.


Some of my employees work in more than one function. How do I report these employees?

If some employees complete tasks that fall under more than one function available for reporting on the survey, please include the employees at the function in which the majority of their time is spent. If the employees spend an equal share of time at different functions, place the employee and their payroll information at only one function and indicate the other functions the employee completes in the remarks section. If you have any questions or continued difficulties placing employees at the appropriate function, contact a member of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll team by:

  Telephone: 1-800-642-4901 weekdays, 7 AM to 5 PM ET

  Email: govs.employ@census.gov


When is the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll due?

The Survey of Public Employment & Payroll is due April 30th of every year. If you would like to request a time extension for completing the survey, please contact a member of the Public Employment and Payroll team by:

  Telephone: 1-800-832-2839 weekdays, 7 AM to 5 PM ET

  Email: govs.employ@census.gov


How do I request a time extension?

To request a time extension for completing the survey, please contact a member of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll team by:

  Telephone: 1-800-832-2839 weekdays, 7 AM to 5 PM ET

  Email: govs.employ@census.gov


How do I contact a member of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll team?

You can contact the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll by:

  Telephone: 1-800-642-4901 weekdays, 7 AM to 5 PM ET

  Email: govs.employ@census.gov


Is there a fine if I do not complete this survey?

Participation in this important survey is voluntary. However, it is very important that we have your cooperation to ensure the quality of our estimates which are used by Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), U.S. Congress, state & local governments, federal agencis, and the general public not only to measure government activity but also used to contribute to the government component of the Gross Domestic Product.



Questions about filling the form online (Centurion)


How can I upload a payroll file?

You have the option to upload electronic correspondence in lieu of the completion of the paper or electronic version of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll. After logging into our online reporting system (respond.census.gov/aspep) with your User ID and Password, select the "Attach Data" tab at the top of the toolbar to upload an electronic payroll file. From there, you can select the file you wish to upload and provide a brief description of the file’s contents. Multiple files(up to 75 MB each) may be attached. You must be sure to go through all of the prompted screens to successfully upload the file(s).


Why doesn't my password from last year work?

For security purposes, a unique password is created every year. The unique User ID and Password is provided on the paper copy of the survey form and both are required to log into the interactive system. If you have difficulty finding your User ID and/or Password, or if you are having trouble logging into the web collection system, please contact a member of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll team by:

  Telephone: 1-800-642-4901 weekdays, 7 AM to 5 PM ET

  Email: govs.employ@census.gov


I’m completing the web application questionnaire but I’ve been timed out. What do I do?

If you have been inactive for 45 minutes or longer, you will automatically be logged off of the interactive web collection system. Any unsaved information will be lost. To access the online version of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll again, return torespond.census.gov/aspep and log in using your unique User ID and Password. Any information that was saved will be available for review. No information will be submitted to us at any time unless you have selected the “Submit” button at the end of the survey.


I can not access the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll online.

To properly access the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll online, you must type respond.census.gov/aspep into the web address bar at the top of your Internet browser window. Trying to find the website for the survey through Internet search engines usually will not direct you to the correct website. If you continue to have trouble accessing the web collection site, contact a member of the Public Employment & Payroll team by:

  Telephone: 1-800-832-2839 weekdays, 7 AM and 5 PM ET

  Email: govs.employ@census.gov.


How do I correct data after I have already submitted the survey?

If you have already submitted data for your agency and would like to make a correction, please contact a member of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll team by:

  Telephone: 1-800-642-4901 weekdays, 7 AM to 5 PM ET

  Email: govs.employ@census.gov


Where can I obtain a paper copy of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll once I have started filling the form online?

There are a few options to obtain a paper copy of the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll.

  • Once you have logged into the web collection website you can select the “Would you like a blank PDF of the form?” option from the Main Menu to print a blank paper copy of your form.
  • You can also select the “Would you like a PDF of the form with your answers?” option from the Main Menu to print a paper copy of your form with any entered data displayed.
  • You can also select the “Print/Review Form” option from the top toolbar. This will print a paper copy of your form with any entered data displayed.
  • You can access all forms relating to the Survey of Public Employment & Payroll by year at http://www.census.gov/govs/apes/get_forms.html. To determine the appropriate form number to print for your government, look at the form number displayed in the top portion of the screen.


How do I confirm the Census Bureau received my data?

When you submitted your data through the web application, you received a Submission Confirmation screen that you were able to print. If you did not see this screen, then you have not submitted your data.

If you have submitted your survey by mail, fax or over the phone you can contact a member of the Public Employment and Payroll team by:

  Telephone: 1-800-832-2839 weekdays, 7 AM to 5 PM ET

  Email: govs.employ@census.gov


When I try to view a PDF of the form with my answers, the form being displayed is either blank or is missing some of my reported data. What do I need to do?

This issue occurs when you have an older version of the Adobe Reader program. You can either download the free version from the Adobe web site, or contact us to email or fax you a copy of the form with your answers for your records.

  Telephone: 1-800-642-4901 weekdays, 7 AM to 5 PM ET

  Email:  govs.employ@census.gov


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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census of Governments | 1(888)202-2691| govs.gus@census.gov |  Last Revised: March 28, 2013