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About this Program

County Business Patterns (CBP) is an annual series that provides subnational economic data by industry & employment size of the establishment. CBP data are 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.


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.


Statistics are available for 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 (NAICS 111,112); Rail Transportation (NAICS 482); Postal Service (NAICS 491); Pension, Health, Welfare, and Other Insurance Funds (NAICS 525110, 525120, 525190); Trusts, Estates, and Agency Accounts (NAICS 525920); Offices of Notaries (NAICS 541120); Private Households (NAICS 814); and Public Administration (NAICS 92). CBP also excludes most establishments reporting government employees.


Data are presented by geographic area, industry detail, legal form of organization (U.S. and state only), and employment size of the establishment. Annual data consist of 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.

Data Representation on the Internet

  • U.S., state, and county datasets start in 1986
    - Legal form of organization (LFO) added in 2008 (U.S.) and 2010 (states)
  • Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) datasets added in 1993 and Micropolitan areas defined in 2003
  • ZIP Code datasets added in 1994
  • Puerto Rico datasets start in 1998 & Island Areas added in 2008
    - LFO added in 2020 (state only)
  • CBP and NES Combined Report datasets added in 2012
  • Congressional District datasets added in 2013
  • Combined Statistical Area (CSA) datasets added in 2017

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


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.


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.


CBP data are available approximately 16 months after each reference year. Data are published as datasets (comma-delimited format for downloading), data tables (in data.census.gov for 2012 to current reference year), in API, and as part of the My Congressional District tool.

Three months prior to the full release, the CBP First Look is published (starting with reference year 2017). The First Look table provides preliminary estimates at the NAICS sector level (i.e., 2-digit NAICS) for the U.S. and is available in spreadsheet format. These estimates will be superseded by the subsequent full release.

ZIP Code Business Patterns (ZBP) data are available shortly after the release of CBP. ZBP data are published as datasets (comma-delimited format), data tables (in data.census.gov  for 2012 to current reference year), and in API.

Additionally, beginning with reference year 2012, CBP and Nonemployer Statistics (NES) published data are merged by industry as part of a Combined Report to provide a more complete view of the economy. The Combined Report is available in spreadsheet and comma-delimited format.


CBP 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.

Contact Us

Contact information for the County Business Patterns (CBP) program is available at Contact Us.

Page Last Revised - November 6, 2023
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