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In an effort to improve the measurement of business dynamics in the U.S., the Census Bureau conducts the Annual Business Survey (ABS).

The Census has published a sixty-day Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) notice for the ABS.  In it, the Census proposes revisions, including new questions designed to measure business operations and remote work activity.


About the ABS

The ABS combines firm-level data, replacing the Survey of Business Owners (SBO) for employer businesses, the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs (ASE), the Business Research and Development (R&D) survey and the Innovation for Microbusinesses (BRDI-M) survey.

The ABS collects the following information:

  • Business and owner characteristics, including sex, ethnicity, race, and veteran status from the principal owner(s) of the business
  • Company information, including, worldwide sales, domestic sales, number of employees, and business ownership from all businesses in the sample
  • Research and development from businesses with between 1 – 9 employees and from nonprofit organizations
  • Research and development for microbusinesses and other business topics, such as innovation and technology.

Additional topics on business owners may include military service, owner acquisition, job functions, number of hours worked, primary income, prior business ownership, age of owner, education and field of degree, citizenship and place of birth, disability, and owner’s reason for owning the business.

Additional topics on the businesses may include number of owners and percent ownership, family owned and operated, business aspirations, funding sources, profitability, types of customers, types of workers, employee benefits, franchise operations, work from home practices, and business activity.

The Census Bureau will publish its plans in a July 6 Federal Register notice to request revisions to the ABS collection.  

Comments on this sixty-day PRA notice will be due by September 6, 2020.

Click here for the pre-publication version of the notice.

                  Business meeting

Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM)


The ASM survey data on manufacturers furnishes up-to-date estimates of employment and payroll, hours and wages of production workers, value added by manufacture, cost of materials, value of shipments by product, inventories, and expenditures for both plant equipment and structures.


The survey provides valuable information to private companies, research organizations, and trade associations. Industry makes extensive use of the annual figures on product shipments at the U.S. level in its market analysis, product planning, and investment planning. The ASM data are used to benchmark and reconcile monthly and quarterly data on manufacturing production and inventories.

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