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About Business Surveys

About Business Surveys

The U.S. Census Bureau measures the pulse of the American economy through its business surveys and censuses. Business data collected from various sectors of the economy, such as, manufacturing, construction, retail trade, and health care, along with data collected from state and local governments and international trade provide the most up to date economic view of the country. Our statistics help businesses compare their operations to industry norms, find new markets and inform key decisions.

Business Survey

We conduct more than 60 monthly, quarterly, annual and periodic surveys and censuses throughout the year and while some survey participation is voluntary, Federal law mandates participation in many of our business surveys.  Even so, we want to encourage businesses to participate for the following reasons:

  • The data we collect is important to their industry, community and business
  • Federal, state and local government agencies use the data to gauge the effectiveness of their programs
  • Trade Associations and Chambers of Commerce rely on the information we collect for economic development and business decisions
  • Government agencies, business organizations and their analysts rely on the data for planning and key economic reports
  • The data we collect is an essential tool for policymakers who need to make informed decisions

How we collect the data

When a business is selected to participate in a survey or census, they will receive a survey invitation via mail or email. The invitation will provide the instructions, and credentials needed to complete the survey. The invitation will also contain information letting them know:

  • Why the information is needed;
  • That response is confidential;
  • When the response is due.

Once we receive the data, we review and analyze the data extensively and take special precautions to avoid the disclosure of our sources.

Updating Your Organization Contact Information

Some businesses may be contacted prior to receiving a letter as a few of our economic surveys conduct pre-screener operations to confirm/collect contact information or to determine eligibility.

Read our Frequently Asked Questions about updating the contact information for your organization.

Is the Survey or Census Legitimate?

Below are a few common items you can use to verify the legitimacy of this survey:

  1. Ensure the Web address provided in the letter is a "census.gov" domain.
  2. Correspondence sent in the form of a letter or email will contain reporting instructions and a phone number for survey assistance. Any email correspondence related to this survey will come from a census.gov address.
  3. On the sign-in screen, a warning message should be present stating the respondent is accessing a U.S. Government computer.
  4. After clicking on the “Report Now” button in the Respondent Portal, the OMB Number and OMB Approval Expiration information will appear in the upper right of the first screen of the electronic reporting instrument. The bottom of the screen should have a link for the “Burden Statement” which also contains the OMB eight-digit number.

For more information on survey legitimacy or to learn more about a specific survey, click on the “List of Business Surveys” link in the next section. Once you see the survey you want, click on the “Information for Respondents” section for further details.

Page Last Revised - March 7, 2023
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