CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The 2007 Economic Census gets underway in West Virginia on Dec. 17. Conducted once every five years, the survey measures America’s business activity from the national to the local level.
The census forms will be mailed to more than 4 million businesses nationwide, including an estimated 26,000 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 (Title 13, U.S. Code) to respond.
“The Economic Census is important for both government and business use,” said Kelley Goes, West Virginia Secretary of Commerce. “The information produces an accurate picture of the economy on a local, state and national scale. Businesses, communities and government at all levels use the data for planning and development. West Virginia’s national economic rankings are affected by this census.”
Businesses will be asked to report information such as employment, payroll, health and pension benefit expenses, and the value of goods and services sold. The information of individual businesses is kept confidential. Only the aggregate figures are published for governmental policy makers and industry-specific profiles for business owners
The Census Bureau launched a new Web site — www.business.census.gov — to help businesses understand the economic census and how it benefits them. The site includes economic snapshots of selected industries and significant facts about every industry.
The forms are mailed to businesses with seven or more employees. Companies with branch offices will receive the form only at corporate headquarters. Industries not covered by the Economic Census include agriculture, forestry, hunting and fishing, schools, and political or religious organizations.
The first census results will be available in early 2009, when the total for all economic sectors are tallied in the advance report. All census results will be issued on the Internet over a two-year period.
“Our response rate for the 2002 census was 89 percent,” said Delphine Coffey, state Data Center Lead, West Virginia Development Office. “We would like to do as well this time.”According to the census, from 1997 to 2002, the number of manufacturing firms in the state slipped 1.7 percent and mining-related businesses declined by 9.8 percent. In that same time period, the census showed a jump of nearly 17 percent in information businesses such as publishing and data processing. The professional, scientific and technical services industry climbed 8.9 percent.
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