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County Business Patterns 1995-1996 Diskette Extract


County Business Patterns, 1995 and 1996 on CD-ROM [machine- readable data file]/prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington: The Bureau [producer and distributor], 1999.

This file documentation consists of the following materials:


Type of File

Summary statistics.

Universe Description

The universe is all business establishments with one or more paid employees. Data are not included for agriculture production, railroad, most government, or household employment. Data are tabulated by detailed industry based on the revised 1987 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) designations. (Data for the 1987 County Business Patterns and earlier years were based on the 1972 SIC designations.)

Subject-Matter Description

This file provides data on total number of establishments, mid-March employment, first quarter and annual payroll, and number of establishments by employment-size classes. Whereas data in County Business Patterns reports are not shown for SIC's with fewer than 100 employees in a given area, there is no such restriction on the data files. This series excludes governmental establishments classified in the covered industries except for liquor stores and wholesale liquor establishments operated by State and local governments. All government hospitals are included beginning with 1989 data.

Geographic Coverage

United States, 50 States, the District of Columbia, and counties. Data for Puerto Rico is released only in publication format.

Technical Description

File Medium: Compact Disk-Read Only Memory (CD-ROM).
File Structure: dBASE III+TM
File Names:

U.S. Summary data - CBP95US.DBF and CBP96US.DBF; index files: US[YR]SIC2.NDX and US[YR]SIC4.NDX

State data - CBP95ST.DBF and CBP96ST.DBF; index files: ST[YR]STSI.NDX and ST[YR]SIST.NDX

County data - CBP95[ST].DBF and CBP96[ST].DBF; index files: [ST][YR]COSI.NDX and [ST][YR]SICO.NDX

See Record Layouts for a complete description of the index files.

File Sort Sequence:

U.S. Summary    By 2-, 3- and 4-digit SIC code

State                 FIPS State code by 2-, 3- and 4-digit SIC code

County             FIPS State code and FIPS county code by 2-, 3- and 4-digit SIC code

Reference Materials

County Business Patterns, 1995 and 1996 on CD-ROM Technical Documentation. The documentation contains this abstract, other information about the file, a glossary, and data dictionaries. One copy accompanies each file order. The documentation is also available in ASCII format on the CD-ROM. For further ordering information, contact Marketing Services Office, Customer Services Center, Customer Services, Bureau of the Census, Washington, DC 20233. Phone: (301) 763-INFO(4636).

Related Printed Reports

County Business Patterns, 1995 and County Business Patterns, 1996. Fifty-three reports were issued for each year: one for each State, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and a U.S. Summary. These reports are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. Price varies by report. Contact Customer Services (301) 763-INFO(4636) for ordering information. These reports also are available on the Census Bureau's Internet site.

Related Diskette Files

County Business Patterns data for 2-digit SIC's (1988-1996) are also available on 3-1/2" diskettes in an IBM PC format. For further information, contact Customer Services, (301) 763-INFO(4636).

Related Tape Files

State and county data are available separately on computer tape for each census geographic division by individual year, 1974-1996. The U.S. Summary and SMSA files are sold together by year(s) for 1975-1978, and U.S. Summaries only for 1979-1996. County Business Patterns files for the most recent years can be ordered from Customer Services. Contact the National Archives (Telephone: 301-713-6630) for ordering and pricing information for data years prior to 1988.

File Availability

The CD-ROM may be ordered from Customer Services. For further information, contact Customer Services at 1-800-923-8282 or 301-763-INFO (4636).


County Business Patterns is an annual series that provides subnational economic data by industry. The series is useful for studying the economic activity of small areas; analyzing economic changes over time; and as a benchmark for statistical series, surveys, and databases between economic censuses. The series serves various business uses such as analyzing market potential, measuring the effectiveness of sales and advertising programs, setting sales quotas, and developing budgets. The data are also used by government agencies for administration and planning.

Most of the nation's economic activity is covered in this series. Data are excluded for self-employed persons, domestic service workers, railroad employees, agricultural production workers, most government employees, and employees on ocean-borne vessels or in foreign countries. Data are provided by industry in the following economic divisions: agricultural services, forestry, and fishing; mining; construction; manufacturing; transportation and public utilities; wholesale trade; retail trade; finance, insurance, and real estate; and services. Data are tabulated by industry as defined in the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Manual: 1987.

This series has been published annually since 1964 and at irregular intervals dating back to 1946. 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 on Comparability With Other Data.


County Business Patterns basic data items are extracted from the Business Register, a file of all known single and multiestablishment companies maintained and updated by the Bureau of the Census. 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 and the Social Security Administration.


Earlier County Business Patterns

The comparability of data with previous County Business Patterns series may be affected by the following definitional changes:

  • the change from a "reporting unit" concept to establishment based data in 1974.
  • the change in definition of "active" establishments in 1983.
  • the change in industrial classification definitions, the most recent occurring in 1988.

Economic Censuses

In comparing the employment and payroll shown in this series with economic censuses data, the user should bear in mind that definitional and coverage differences may affect the direct comparison of data items. The definitions are detailed in the documentation of the various products. The economic censuses present data reported for individual establishments; whereas, County Business Patterns are based primarily on administrative records and data reported from current surveys. While every effort is made to resolve significant differences for the same establishment, differences are known to exist.


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


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; errors of collection, response, and coverage; 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.

Glossary of Data Items


An establishment is a single physical location at which business is conducted or services or industrial operations are performed. It is not necessarily identical with a company or enterprise, which may consist of one or more establishments. When two or more activities are carried on at a single location under a single ownership, all activities generally are grouped together as a single establishment. The entire establishment is classified on the basis of its major activity and all data are included in that classification.

Administrative and auxiliary establishments primarily manage, administer, service, or support the activities of other establishments of the same company rather than the establishments of other companies or the general public. Data for these establishments are shown separately by industry division.

Establishment-size designations are determined by paid employment in the mid-March pay period. The size group "1 to 4" includes establishments that did not report any paid employees in the mid-March pay period but paid wages to at least one employee at some time during the year.

Establishment counts represent the number of locations with paid employees any time during the year. This series excludes governmental establishments except for liquor stores (SIC 592), wholesale liquor establishments (SIC 518), depository institutions (SIC 60), federal and federally- sponsored credit agencies (SIC 611), and hospitals (SIC 806).


Total payroll includes all forms of compensation, such as salaries, wages, reported tips, commissions, bonuses, vacation allowances, sick-leave pay, employee contributions to qualified pension plans, and the value of taxable fringe benefits. For corporations, it includes amounts paid to officers and executives; for unincorporated businesses, it does not include profit or other compensation of proprietors or partners. Payroll is reported before deductions for Social Security, income tax, insurance, union dues, etc. First-quarter payroll consists of payroll during the January-to-March quarter.

Mid-March Employment

Paid employment consists of full- and part-time employees, including salaried officers and executives of corporations, who are on the payroll in the pay period including March 12. Included are employees on paid sick leave, holidays, and vacations; not included are proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses.


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

Industry Classification

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.

In a few instances, the most detailed industry classifications for which data are shown represent a combination of more detailed SIC industries. The data for these establishments are included in the tabulations at a broader industry level. For this reason, the sum of industry components may not equal the total shown. The industry titles used throughout this series are the short SIC titles; complete descriptions are contained in the SIC manual.

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 included under a "Statewide" classification at the end of the county files. This incomplete detail causes only slight understatement of county employment. The independent cities in Virginia, and the cities of Baltimore, MD; Carson City, NV; and St. Louis, MO, are treated as separate counties.

How to Use the Data Dictionaries

The dictionary documents the data contents and the record layout of each file. The first record of each data item gives the field number, field name, data type, size/width of the field, decimal position (if any), and the variable description. Following these items, on subsequent lines, are any applicable notes and value codes. Below is a brief description of the information provided for each data item.

Field Number. Field sequence number.

Field Name. This is an arbitrarily assigned 8-character identifier. It may be a mnemonic such as ] "USIND" or "TOTTEST," or a sequential identifier such as "CTYEMP1," "CTYEMP2," etc.

Data Type. The data type indicates whether the data item is character (C) or numeric (N).

Size/Width. The size of the data field.

Decimal. Indicates the number of decimal places, if any, included in the data field.

Description. This 90-character field contains a description of the data field.

Windows Software Features

  1. Installing and Starting the Software
  2. Displaying the Data
  3. Using the Copy Function
  4. Viewing the Technical Documentation


Users will need to install the WINDOWS software before it may be used.

For Windows 3.1 users: From Program Manager, select "Run" from the "File" menu and type D:\WIN\SETUP.EXE where D is your CD-ROM drive and press <ENTER>.

For Windows 95 users: Select "Run" from the "Start" button and type D:\WIN\SETUP.EXE where D is your CD-ROM drive and press <ENTER>.

Follow the instructions as they are displayed. When finished, the icon group County Business Patterns will appear. The software may be run by double-clicking on this icon.


The menu bar at the top of the screen offers a variety of different options for viewing the data. To select a different year and/or geographic area (United States & States, and/or County), users can click on the down arrow button next to these fields. Detailed SIC groupings can also be viewed by clicking the "Next SIC" or "Prev SIC" buttons. Every time the user alters these items, the data will change.

Under the file option on the menu bar users have the choice of either printing, copying, or exiting the program. Below is a brief description of each of these options.

Print- Allows the user to print the display data to a printer or to a print file. Accessible by: File Menu

Copy- Allows the user to copy up the display data to a file. For more information, see Using the Copy Function below.

Accessible by: File Menu

Exit- Exits the County Business Patterns Windows software. Accessible by: File Menu
Users will be asked to confirm.

The SIC option on the menu bar allows you to search for SIC codes as well as browse state /or county records for selected SIC codes. Below is a brief description of these options.

Browse- Allows the user to browse the selected SIC for either all states in the United States or all counties in the selected state.
Accessible by: SIC menu

Search- Allows the user to search for a specific SIC code by either entering the code or scrolling through a list. Codes and descriptions are provided in the table.


Users can copy records from the County Business Patterns with various file formats. Upon accessing the Copy Function, users will need to provide information to specify the data to be copied. This is done via a dialog box which appears on the screen.

Users must select the copy option for ALL FIELDS or FIELDS button for selected FIELDS. Items are selected either by double-clicking on one in the unselected box or by highlighting an unselected item and clicking the ">" button. Items may be unselected in a similar fashion or with the "<" button.

Users must select one of four file formats: ASCII (.TXT); ASCII, comma-delimited (.DEL); dBASE III (tm) (.DBF); or Paradox (tm) (.DB). Simply click on the circle next to the desired format.

In addition, a name for the copy file should be provided in the box underneath the file formats. The record layout file is also created by clicking on OK to start the copy. A "Copying..." message will appear for the progress of the copy and then the "Completed... " message will appear for the completion.

Click on Cancel to close the COPY menu box.


Allows the user to view the technical documentation files in the DOCUMENT sub-directory of the CD-ROM. The user can also print or make a copy of the selected file. Users may open more than one file at a time. When closing this window, users may click the OK button to keep open files available in minimized windows or Cancel button to close all open files. Accessible by: Documentation Menu.

Further questions on this software should be directed to the IT Support and Electronic Products Branch technical support hotline at 301-457-1324.

Record Layouts

Appendix A - FIPS State and County Code List PDF

Appendix B - Standard Industrial Classification Industries Combined for 1995 - 1996 PDF

Appendix C - Standard Industrial Classification Code List for County Business Patterns, 1995-1996 PDF

Census County Codes PDF

User Notes

This appendix is reserved for information relevant to the County Business Patterns, 1995 and 1996 on Cd-ROM file that becomes available after the file is released. User notes received should be filed behind this page.

These user notes will be sent to all users who received their file or technical documentation from the Census Bureau

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Administration and Customer Services Division | (301) 763-4400 |  Last Revised: July 09, 2013