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Economic Census under way

Jan. 28, 2013 @ 05:08 PM

CHARLESTON — Once every five years, the U.S. Economic Census measures America’s business activity from the national to the local level. That census is getting under way, and West Virginia businesses are being asked to take part.

Economic Census forms are being mailed to more than 4 million businesses nationwide, including an estimated 23,000 in West Virginia. The forms must be returned to the U.S. Census Bureau by Feb. 12. Businesses that receive forms are required by law to respond.

West Virginia’s national economic rankings are affected by this census, said Keith Burdette, West Virginia Secretary of Commerce.

“Another reason it’s important to get our information in the Census is because we also get a lot out of it,” he said in a press release. “Business owners throughout the country, including West Virginia, can compare their businesses to industry averages on such factors as sales per employee. Local economic development organizations and chambers of commerce can use and compare statistics for the industries in their community to identify opportunities for growth. Entrepreneurs can find statistics about the industry they are considering starting a business.”

The Census will measure economic performance for the year ending 2012. Information about individual businesses is kept strictly confidential. The responses are added together to produce a statistical summary.

The Census collects statistics on type of business, employment, payroll and similar economic performance data. New this year will be questions about key company-wide characteristics such as innovation and globalization.

The first census results will be available in December 2013 when the "Advance Report" provides preliminary totals for all economic sectors. Additional results will be published over the next few years. For more information about the U.S. Economic Census, visit http://www.census.gov/econ/census/.