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Statistics of U.S. Businesses (SUSB) is an annual series that provides national and subnational data on the distribution of economic data by enterprise size and industry. SUSB covers most of the country's economic activity. The series excludes data on nonemployer businesses, private households, railroads, agricultural production, and most government entities.

Tabulations providing data by employment size of enterprise have been assembled as far back as 1989. The comparability of data over time may be affected by definitional changes in establishments, activity status, and industrial classifications. For more details on these changes, see the section ''Comparability With Other Data.''

These data were developed in cooperation with, and partially funded by, the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)


An establishment is a single physical location at which business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed. An enterprise is a business organization consisting of one or more domestic establishments under common ownership or control. For companies with only one establishment, the enterprise and the establishment are the same. The employment of a multi-establishment enterprise is determined by summing the employment of all associated establishments.

The size of an enterprise is 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.

A firm is defined as that part of an enterprise tabulated within a particular industry, state or metropolitan area. For example, an enterprise with establishments in more than one state would be counted as a firm in each state in which it operates an establishment, but is also counted as only one firm in national all-industry tabulations. Thus, summing the firms across areas or industries would overstate the number of unique firms. Employment size is determined only for the entire enterprise.


Starting with the 2012 data year, data from the Statistics of U.S. Businesses series are published on the basis of the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

Data for 2008 to 2011 were published based on 2007 NAICS, data for 2003 to 2007 were published based on 2002 NAICS, and data for 1998 to 2002 were published based on 1997 NAICS.

SUSB data for 1997 and earlier years were published according to the 1987 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system. While many of the individual NAICS industries correspond directly to industries as defined under the SIC system, most of the aggregate NAICS groupings do not. Particular care should be taken in comparing data for retail trade, wholesale trade, and manufacturing, which are sector titles used in both NAICS and SIC, but cover somewhat different groups of industries.

For more information on NAICS or the SIC system, go to

The Statistics of U.S. Businesses series includes the following NAICS sectors:

Sector Description
11 Forestry, Fishing, Hunting, and Agriculture Support
21 Mining
22 Utilities
23 Construction
31-33 Manufacturing
42 Wholesale Trade
44-45 Retail Trade
48-49 Transportation and Warehousing
51 Information
52 Finance and Insurance
53 Real Estate and Rental and Leasing
54 Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
55 Management of Companies and Enterprises
56 Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services
61 Educational Services
62 Health Care and Social Assistance
71 Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
72 Accommodation and Food Services
81 Other Services (except Public Administration)
99 Unclassified

Statistics of U.S. Businesses data for 1998 to 2002 were tabulated by industry as defined in North American Industry Classification System: United States, 1997 with one important exception. For 1998 to 2002, data for auxiliary establishments (except corporate, subsidiary, and regional managing offices) were tabulated in a separate category (Sector 95). Starting with data year 2003, Statistics of U.S. Businesses data are tabulated by industry as defined in North American Industry Classification System: United States, 2002, and auxiliary establishments are classified in the industries to which they are assigned under NAICS, such as warehousing and storage or payroll services.

Industry is assigned on an establishment by establishment basis. An enterprise with establishments in more than one industry is counted as a firm in each industry in which it operates an establishment. Nonetheless, as noted above, the employment size category is assigned based on employment in the entire enterprise.


The Statistics of U.S. Businesses covers all NAICS industries except crop and animal production (NAICS 111,112), rail transportation (NAICS 482), National Postal Service (NAICS 491), pension, health, welfare, and vacation funds (NAICS 525110, 525120, 525190), trusts, estates, and agency accounts (NAICS 525920), private households (NAICS 814), and public administration (NAICS 92).

The series excludes governmental establishments except for wholesale liquor establishments (NAICS 4228), retail liquor stores (NAICS 44531), book publishers (NAICS 511130), Federally-chartered savings institutions (NAICS 522120), Federally-chartered credit unions (NAICS 522130), and hospitals (NAICS 622).


Statistics of U.S. Businesses basic data items are extracted from the Business Register, a file of all known single and multi-establishment employer companies maintained and updated by the U.S. Census Bureau. The annual Company Organization Survey provides individual establishment data for multiestablishment companies. Data for single-establishment companies are obtained from various Census Bureau programs, such as the Annual Survey of Manufactures and Current Business Surveys, as well as from administrative records of the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Industry Classification

The quinquennial economic censuses are the primary source for SUSB industry and geography classifications. The annual Company Organization Survey, Annual Survey of Manufactures, Current Business Surveys, and other Census Bureau programs provide regular updates.

Additional sources for assigning industry classifications are the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These sources provide industry classification information for new businesses and businesses not canvassed in the Census Bureau programs. Establishments without sufficient industry information are tabulated in the ''unclassified establishments'' group.

Geography Classification

Most geography codes are derived from the physical location address reported in Census Bureau programs. The Internal Revenue Service provides supplemental address information. Those employers without a fixed location within a state (or of unknown county location) are excluded from metropolitan area tabulations.


Earlier Statistics of U.S. Businesses

The comparability of data with previous Statistics of U.S. Businesses series may be affected by the change in industrial classification definitions between the 2011 and 2012 editions, the 2006 and 2007 editions, the 2002 and 2003 editions, and between the 1997 and 1998 editions.

Statistics by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) are classified for data years starting in 2012 according to their definitions as of January 2012. MSA data for 2007-2001 were defined as of December 2006, MSA data for 2003-2006 were defined as of June 2003, and MSA data for prior years were defined as of June 1996.

Economic Census

Establishment and Firm Size reports were published for 14 of the sectors included in this program (exclusions: NAICS sectors 11, 21, 23, 31-33, 55, 95, and 99). For the covered sectors and their industries, the Establishment and Firm Size reports provide aggregate receipts in all displays, classification by receipt size of firm, and more detailed classification of employment size than is shown in SUSB. Legal form of organization and concentration in the largest 4, 8, 20 and 50 firms are also shown.

Establishment and Firm Size reports include only national level data. Further, they classify data by the employment size of the firm-that is, that part of the enterprise within the industry category shown-not the employment size of the entire enterprise as shown in Statistics of U.S. Businesses. In both programs, industry is determined on an establishment by establishment basis.

The economic census summarized data for many service industries separately depending on whether the firm is subject to Federal income tax or is tax-exempt. Statistics of U.S. Businesses combines both taxable and tax-exempt firms within the same industry.

Certain industries covered in the SUSB program are excluded from economic census reports, and that should be taken into account when comparing economic Census data for higher aggregates.

The economic census generally used respondent-reported data. The SUSB program uses administrative record data for small establishments. Although efforts were made to resolve significant differences in the data, differences are known to exist.

Establishment and Firm Size reports from the 2007 Economic Census classify firms by 2007 NAICS. Statistics of U.S. Businesses data for 2007 were classified by 2002 NAICS. Similarly, the 2002 Economic Census classified firms by 2002 NAICS while SUSB classified 2002 data by 1997 NAICS.

Both the 2007 Economic Census and 2007 SUSB statistics by metropolitan statistical area (MSA) were classified according to their definitions as of December 2006.

1992 Enterprise Statistics

Enterprise Statistics, published in conjunction with the 1992 and earlier censuses, was not published for 1997. The Enterprise Statistics Company Summary included higher employment size categories than shown in Statistics of U.S. Businesses. Enterprise Statistics determined an industry classification for each enterprise based on the largest census industry category within the largest industry sector. The determination of the largest census industry sector and industry category was made from establishment annual payroll data.

Enterprise Statistics used the term company the same way the SUSB reports use the term enterprise.

County Business Patterns

Statistics of U.S. Businesses is developed from the same database that is used to produce County Business Patterns (CBP); however, CBP classifies establishments by the employment size of the establishment rather than the employment size of the entire enterprise.


In accordance with U.S. Code, Title 13, Section 9, no data are published that would disclose the operations of an individual employer. However, the number of firms and establishments in an industry classification and the distribution of these establishments by employment-size class are not considered to be disclosures. Therefore, this information may be released even though other information is withheld from publications.


All data are tabulated from universe files and are not subject to sampling errors. However, the data are subject to nonsampling errors. Nonsampling errors can be attributed to many sources: inability to identify all cases in the universe; definition and classification difficulties; differences in interpretation of questions; errors in recording or coding the data obtained; and estimation of employers who reported too late to be included in the tabulations and for records with missing or misreported data. The accuracy of the data is determined by the joint effects of the various nonsampling errors. No direct measurement of these effects has been obtained; however, precautionary steps were taken in all phases of collection, processing, and tabulation to minimize the effects of nonsampling errors.


Statistics of U.S. Businesses data are presented at in hypertext format for easy viewing, but only for 1998 and more recent years. The data are also available for downloading for these and earlier years (to 1988) via the Statistics of U.S. Businesses main page at

Special Tabulations

Special tabulations of Statistics of U.S. Businesses, dating back to 1989, are available on a cost-reimbursable basis. For more information, Email or call (301) 763-3321.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Statistics of U.S. Businesses | (301) 763-3321 or Email |  Last Revised: August 10, 2015