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For Immediate Release: Thursday, January 25, 2024

2022 Economic Census First Look

Press Release Number CB24-20

JAN. 25, 2024 – The U.S. Census Bureau today released new First Look estimates from the 2022 Economic Census. The economic census is the U.S. government’s official 5-year measure of employer businesses in the United States. It provides the most comprehensive business and economic data available at the national, state and local levels – and serves as the benchmark for current economic measures, such as the Gross Domestic Product and Producer Price Index.

“The 2022 Economic Census provides foundational information on the nation’s businesses and is a primary undertaking for the Census Bureau,” said Nick Orsini, associate director for Economic Programs. “For this cycle of the economic census, we combined years of experience conducting censuses with machine learning technology to create an adaptive collection instrument that helped respondents quickly and correctly identify their industry, products and services. The improved efficiencies this created in data collection resulted in more effective data review that directly contributed to our ability to produce these First Look estimates earlier than we have in the past.”

In 2022, the number of establishments with paid employees increased to just over 8.0 million, up from 7.6 million establishments in 2017 and 7.1 million establishments in 2012. These establishments employed 140.0 million employees with an annual payroll of $8.6 trillion dollars.

Below are some additional highlights from the First Look estimates.

  • New to the economic census:
    • Industry coverage has been expanded to include businesses in Support Activities for Agriculture and Forestry (115) not captured in the census of agriculture. Preliminary estimates show 14.9 thousand establishments, employing 324.4 thousand workers generating $59.3 billion in revenue in 2022.
  • Number of establishments:
    • The Retail Trade sector (44-45) was the largest of the sectors covered by the economic census with 1.0 million establishments, followed closely by Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (54) and Health Care and Social Assistance (62) with 976.3 thousand and 975.4 thousand establishments, respectively.
    • The Transportation and Warehousing sector (48-49) saw the largest percent increase in the number of establishments between 2017 and 2022, up 24.2% (an increase of 57.0 thousand establishments) over this period.
  • Employees and payroll:
    • The Health Care and Social Assistance sector (62) accounted for the most employees, 22.1 million (15.8%) of 140.0 million total employees, and had the most annual payroll, $1.3 trillion (14.9%) of $8.6 trillion in 2022.
    • The Professional, Scientific, Technical Services sector (54) accounted for the largest growth in payroll, which increased $324.9 billion between 2017 and 2022.
  • Business revenue:
    • For total sales, the Wholesale Trade sector (42) ranked first with $11.6 trillion in 2022. This was followed by the Manufacturing sector (31-33) with $7.1 trillion in value of shipments and Retail Trade (44-45) with $7.0 trillion.

These First Look estimates provide national-level statistics at the 2- and 3-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) level for the agricultural, mining, utilities, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade and service industries. Detailed data from the 2022 Economic Census are planned for release for nearly every 2- through 6-digit NAICS code at varying levels of geography by March 2025. The preliminary national-level data in this First Look release will be superseded by the final data released in later reports. A complete schedule of the planned releases, including the U.S. Island territories, for the 2022 Economic Census is available online. More information on the industries included (and not included) in the economic census is available on the Coverage page, including the recent addition of an agriculture industry subsector.

All dollar values are expressed in current dollars and are not adjusted for inflation. For more information about economic census methodology and data limitations, visit Methodology.

The 2022 Economic Census statistics are published based on the 2022 NAICS vintage, for information on NAICS changes, visit NAICS Concordances.

For prior economic census data, visit Economic Census by Year.



Jewel Jordan
Public Information Office
301-763-3030 or
877-861-2010 (U.S. and Canada only)

Page Last Revised - January 25, 2024
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