2002 Hispanic-Owned Businesses News Conference
March 21, 2006
Remarks of Thomas L. Mesenbourg
Associate Director for Economic Programs
U.S. Census Bureau
Good morning. I am Tom Mesenbourg, Associate Director for Economic Programs at the Census Bureau. It’s my pleasure to welcome all of you to this news conference. Today we are releasing exciting information about Hispanic-Owned Businesses from our 2002 Survey of Business Owners. But before we discuss the survey results and hear from our distinguished panelists let me take a couple of minutes to set the stage.
The United States Census Bureau produces a wealth of information about the Nation’s economy. For example, one hundred and twenty two times year, we release principal economic indicators reports on retail sales, construction activity, international trade, corporate profits, manufacturers shipments and orders, to name but a few.
While the economic indicators serve as important barometers of current economic conditions, the Economic Census, done once every five years, provides comprehensive information on the Nation’s 23 million businesses. Since 2004, we have released almost 1,500 reports from the 2002 Economic Census. These reports provide detailed information on 900 different industries, and generate detailed geographic information, providing economic statistics for states, counties, cities, and some places with 2500 or more inhabitants.
The Census Bureau’s current economic statistics when combined with the results of the 2002 Economic Census create an intricate and multi-faceted mosaic of the U.S. economy. Heretofore, the mosaic described business activity in different economic sectors, industries, and locations, but the mosaic did not portray any information about characteristics of the owners of those businesses – the men and women that make businesses living organisms that are born, live, and sometimes die.
Today, we release new statistics from the Census Bureau’s 2002 Survey of Business Owners that illustrate the growing diversity of our Nation’s business owners. Today’s report on Hispanic-owned businesses, combined with our recent release on women-owned businesses, and upcoming reports by racial group increase the richness, texture, and usefulness of our economic statistics mosaic.
This fall we will release the first information in more than a decade on the characteristics of businesses and business owners. Information will be provided on home-based, family-owned, and franchised businesses as well as information about sources of capital. In terms of business owners, we will be showing additional information about their age, hours worked, educational attainment, and veteran status.
Before we hear from our panel, I want to provide you with a few facts about the Survey of Business Owners. The survey results we will be discussing this morning cover calendar year 2002 activities, but data were collected from a sample of about 1.3 million businesses with paid employees during the second half of 2003, and from a sample of 1.2 million sole proprietor and “mom and Pop” businesses with no paid employees during the second half of 2004.
In an effort to produce more timely information from the 2002 SBO, we issued an Advance Report on Characteristics of Employer Business Owners in February 2005, followed in July by Preliminary Estimates of Business Ownership by Gender, Hispanic Origin, and Race. All Survey of Business Owner reports are available online at www.census.gov.
There are four things that you need to know about the 2002 SBO. First, we changed the name from the old Survey of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises to the Survey of Business Owners since we are providing characteristics information on all businesses. Second, the 2002 SBO uses the North American Industry Classification System rather than the old, antiquated Standard Industrial Classification System used in prior surveys. The 2002 report will show data on 19 NAICS sectors compared to only 9 sectors under the old SIC. Third, the 2002 SBO uses the 1997 OMB standards for reporting race and ethnicity. The new standard recognizes Asians as a separate group from Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders and the 2002 reports will show these groups separately. The most important change, however, was allowing respondents the option of selecting one or more racial designations. Since the 2002 SBO permitted businesses to report multiple races, the business could be tabulated in more than one racial group, if they satisfied the 51 percent ownership rule. Because of multiple race reporting we will not be issuing a 2002 report showing total minority ownership. Fourth, the 2002 SBO collected detailed information on the characteristics of both the businesses and the business owners. The 2002 surveys marks the first time this information was collected from all 2.5 million sampled businesses. For calendar year 1992 we collected more limited characteristics information in a separate survey from a much smaller sample of only 125,000 businesses.
Finally, let me thank the millions of businesses that took the time to complete and return their 2002 SBO report forms. Without their cooperation and participation we would not have been able to produce these statistics.
Now let’s turn to the results of the 2002 Report on Hispanic Owned Businesses.
Valerie Strang, will be our first speaker. Valerie has been employed at the Census Bureau since 1983. Valerie has been responsible for the Survey of Business for the past 13 years and her leadership has been instrumental in implementing the new, improved 2002 Survey of Business Owners Survey.