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Quarterly Services


  • Coefficient of Variation (CV) - Also called relative standard error; estimated standard error expressed as a percent of the estimated total or proportion; the standard error of the estimate times 100 divided by the value being estimated.
  • Confidence Interval (CI) - A range about a given estimator that has a specified probability of containing the average of the estimates for the parameter derived from all possible samples of the same size and design. Associated with each interval is a percentage of confidence, which is interpreted as follows. If, for each possible sample, an estimate of a population parameter and its approximate standard error were obtained and using a t-statistic with 7 (number of replicates-1) degrees of freedom, then:
    • For approximately 90% of the possible samples, the interval from 1.895 standard errors below
      to 1.895 standard errors above the estimate would include the average of
      the estimates derived from all possible samples of the same size and design.
    • For approximately 95% of the possible samples, the interval from 2.365 standard errors below
      to 2.365 standard errors above the estimate would include the average of the estimates derived from all possible samples of the same size and design.
  • Confidentiality - Title 13 of the US Code authorizes the Census Bureau to conduct censuses and surveys. Section 9 requires that any information collected under the authority of Title 13 be kept confidential. Section 214 and Title 18: Sections 3559 and 3571 state that wrongful disclosure of such information are punishable by up to 5 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Title 13 prohibits disclosing information of any individual firm. The Census Bureau’s internal Disclosure Review Board sets the confidentiality rules for all data releases. A checklist approach is used to ensure that all potential risks to the confidentiality of the data are considered and addressed.
  • Disclosure - In accordance with federal law governing Census reports, publication of any data which would disclose the operations of an individual establishment or business organization must be withheld from publication.
  • E-Commerce - The sale of products and services where the buyer places an order, or the price and terms of the sale are negotiated over an Electronic Data Interchange, the Internet, or any other online system (extranet, e-mail, instant messaging). Payment may or may not be made online.
  • Economic Census - A mandatory survey held every 5 years during years that end with a 2 or 7. For example, 2002, 2007, 2012, 2017, and so forth. This survey asks for revenue in details. Data provided then factors into indicators of the nation's economic statistics and performance like Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) - The exchange of standardized e-documents between organizations from one computer application in one organization to an application in another.
  • Electronic Reporting - An online alternative to filling out surveys mandated by the Census Bureau. All sensitive information entered is fully encrypted at all times. Currently available for Quarterly Services Survey (QSS), the Services Annual Survey (SAS), and Economic Census. For more information, refer to the Business Help Site Electronic Reporting page.
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN) - A nine-digit number used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for any legal entity that is required to file a federal tax return.
  • Establishment - A single physical location where business is conducted, or where services are performed.
  • Firm - A business organization or entity consisting of one or more domestic establishment locations under common ownership or control.
  • Horvitz-Thompson Estimates - Estimates computed by summing weighted data (reported or imputed) where the weight for a given unit is the reciprocal of its probability of being selected into the sample.
  • Imputation - The process used to tabulate sales, receipts, and inventories data for non-response cases.
  • Multiunit Firms - Firms with two or more establishments.
  • Nonresponse - The inability to obtain all the intended measurements or responses about all selected units. There are two types:
    • Unit nonresponse - The inability to obtain any of the substantive measurements about a sampled unit.
    • Item nonresponse - Occurs either when a question is unanswered or the response to the question fails computer or analyst edits.
  • Nonsampling Error - One of two types of errors in estimates from sample surveys; caused by indirect factors like: Misreporting, miscoding, or miskeying responses; misinterpreted questions; nonresponse; or other errors of collection, response, coverage, or processing
  • North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) - A six-digit numerical code that classifies a business into a certain category.
  • Privacy Act - A 1974 Federal Act that protects the privacy of personal information that the government has on file. The act places restrictions on the collection, use, maintenance, and release of information about individuals.
  • Quarterly Services Survey (QSS) - A voluntary quarterly survey that collects estimates of revenue from firms in service industries. This supplements Services Annual Survey (SAS).
  • Sample - All firms selected for a specific survey.
  • Sampling Error - One of two types of errors in estimates from sample surveys; difference between the estimate and the result that would be obtained from a complete census conducted under the same survey conditions; occur because observations are made on a sample, not on the entire population.
  • Sampling Variance - The squared difference, averaged over all possible samples of the same size and design, between the estimator and its average value.
  • Service Annual Survey (SAS) - A mandatory annual survey that collects estimates of operating revenue, operating expense, and inventory from firms in service industries. This supplements the Economic Census.
  • Standard Error (SE) - Measure of the variation among the estimates from all possible samples; measure of the precision with which an estimate from a particular sample approximates the average results of all possible samples; square root of the sampling variance.
  • Title 13 - Title 13 is the legal authority for the Census Bureau's programs. The Census Bureau's authority is founded on the United States constitution and Title 13. The data collected by the Census Bureau provide for the foundation on which our democratic system of government is based and are the leading source of quality data about the nation's economy and people. To fulfill its mission, the Census Bureau must collect quality data and distribute it in a way that preserves usefulness while protecting privacy and confidentiality.
  • Title 26 - Title 26 Internal Revenue Code provides for the conditions under which the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may disclose Federal Tax Returns and Return Information (FTI) to other agencies. Specifically, 26, U.S.C. 6103 (j) (1) provides for the disclosure of FTI to the Census Bureau for statistical purposes in the structuring of censuses and national economic accounts, as well as for conducting related statistical activities authorized by law.
  • Total Error - The total error of an estimate based on a sample survey is the difference between the estimate and the true population value that it estimates; sampling and nonsampling error combined. The true population value is usually unknown.
  • Weight - The weight indicates the approximate number of firms in the survey's universe represented by the selected firm. For example, an EIN selected with a weight of 21.000 represents itself and 20 similar businesses (in terms of NAICS and size) in the survey's universe

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