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About this Program

County Business Patterns (CBP) is an annual series that provides subnational economic data by industry. This series includes the number of establishments, employment during the week of March 12, first quarter payroll, and annual payroll. This data is useful for studying the economic activity of small areas; analyzing economic changes over time; and as a benchmark for other statistical series, surveys, and databases between economic censuses. Businesses use the data for analyzing market potential, measuring the effectiveness of sales and advertising programs, setting sales quotas, and developing budgets. Government agencies use the data for administration and planning.

Purpose

CBP provides annual statistics for establishments with paid employees within the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Island Areas (Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) at a detailed geography and industry level. This program is authorized under the United States Code, Titles 13 and 26.

Coverage

Statistics are available on establishments at the U.S. level and by State, County, Metropolitan/Micropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), Combined Statistical Area (CSA), ZIP code, and Congressional District levels. Data for Puerto Rico and the Island Areas are available at the State and County Equivalent levels. CBP covers most NAICS industries excluding crop and animal production; rail transportation; Postal Service; pension, health, welfare, and vacation funds; trusts, estates, and agency accounts; office of notaries; private households; and public administration. CBP also excludes most establishments reporting government employees.

Data Representation

  • U.S., States, and Counties datasets start in 1986
  • Puerto Rico datasets added in 1998
  • Island Areas datasets added in 2008
  • Zip Code datasets added in 1994
  • MSA datasets added in 1993 and Micropolitan areas defined in 2003
  • CBP and NES Combined Report datasets added in 2012
  • Congressional District datasets added in 2013
  • CSA datasets added in 2017

Content

Data for establishments are presented by geographic area, 6-digit NAICS industry, legal form of organization (U.S. and state only), and employment size of the establishment. Information is available on the number of establishments, employment during the week of March 12, first quarter payroll, and annual payroll. Precautions are taken to avoid disclosing the operations of an individual employer.

Frequency

Data reported are for activities occurring during the reference year. CBP has been published annually since 1964; similar data were reported for various periods since 1946.

Database Availability

CBP datasets can be downloaded from 1986 to the current reference year. In addition, CBP tables are available on data.census.gov from 2012 to the current reference year.

Methods

CBP basic data items are extracted from the Business Register (BR), a database of all known single and multi-establishment employer companies maintained and updated by the U.S. Census Bureau. The BR contains the most complete, current, and consistent data for business establishments. The annual Report of Organization survey provides individual establishment data for multi-establishment companies. Data for single-establishment companies are obtained from various Census Bureau programs, such as the Economic Census, Annual Survey of Manufactures and Current Business Surveys, as well as from administrative record sources.

CBP data are processed through various automated and analytical edits to remove anomalies, validate geographic coding, addresses, and industry classification. For more information on industry and geography classification, refer to the Methodology page. Noise infusion methodology is applied to protect individual business establishments from disclosure. Noise infusion was first applied to CBP data in 2007. Prior to 2007, data were protected using the complementary cell suppression method.

Products

The full release for the CBP statistics are available approximately 16 months after each reference year. Approximately three months prior to the full release, the CBP First Look is published (starting with reference year 2017). The CBP First Look provides preliminary estimates at the NAICS sector level (i.e., 2-digit NAICS) for the nation. These estimates will be superseded by the subsequent full release.

ZIP Code Business Patterns data are available shortly after the release of CBP. The ZIP Code Business Patterns include the number of establishments by NAICS industry. Data are released in comma-separated format (csv) from 1986 to the current reference year for spreadsheet or database use, on data.census.gov from 2012 to the current reference year, and in print publication from 1993-2004.

Additionally, beginning with reference year 2012, published CBP and Nonemployer Statistics (NES) data are merged by industry as part of a Combined Report to provide a more complete view of the economy.

 

Uses

The data are useful for studying economic activity of small areas. Federal agencies use the data to determine employee concentrations and trends by industry. Private businesses use the data for analyzing market potential, measuring the effectiveness of sales and advertising programs, setting sales quotas, and developing budgets. State and local government offices use the data to assess business changes, develop fiscal policies, and plan future policies and programs. CBP data are used to benchmark public and private sector statistical series, surveys, and databases between economic census years.

Special Features

CBP statistics provide the only annual source of complete and consistent county-level data for the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Island Areas establishments with industry detail.

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