QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS Questions and Answers About the 2002 Economic Census Businesses across the Nation received their 2002 Economic Census forms in December. The forms are due February 12, 2003. Why does the government take the Economic What’s new about the 2002 Economic Census? Census? Good public policy depends on accurate informa- New questions for many industries will help us tion. The Economic Census provides official measure profound changes in the way American measures of output for industries and geograph- companies do business — leased employment, ic areas. Economic policy makers in federal, state supply chain functions and outsourcing, and and local governments use Economic Census e-commerce sales. data to project trends, guide economic develop- Can businesses use their computers to ment, and assess the impact of economic policy. report? Economic Census data also help build the foundation for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Yes! Businesses have the option to report and other indicators of economic performance. electronically, either through the Internet or by computer diskette. Can businesses use Economic Census results? Are 2002 Economic Census forms easier to Businesses large and small use census statistics complete? to develop plans, locate facilities, define markets, gauge the competition, attract invest- All forms have been redesigned to be easier ment, manage sales, and assess efficiency. to read, complete, and file. There more than Business reporters, industry associations, and 600 variants of the census form, so most busi- economic analysts use census statistics to assess nesses will receive forms that are as relevant industry growth and change, prepare business as possible to their particular industries and busi- forecasts, define legislative priorities, and ness operations. produce educational materials. Economic Census A toll-free "help line" (1-800-233-6136) is avail- data help businesses compare industries and able 12 hours a day to answer questions that locations, and provide the official information recipients have about filling out the forms. that many investors expect in a business plan. An Internet-based "Business Help Desk" Why do we need an Economic Census when (www.census.gov/econhelp) is provided to surveys provide more timely figures? answer many business questions and provide The Economic Census provides comprehensive services that businesses often request. details about the United States economy, from Are business responses to the Economic the National to the local level. Surveys — like Census kept confidential? Retail Sales — provide timely information about Yes! Business answers are protected by Federal particular industries or sectors. Since surveys are law – Title 13, United States — under penalty of based on samples that include only a small fines or imprisonment. Individual responses are fraction of all businesses, they can’t supply the seen only by persons sworn to uphold the confi- geographic and other details that are unique to dentiality of Census Bureau information and may the census. be used only for statistical purposes. Economic Census data about industries, their Confidential information on census forms are inputs and outputs, and how they relate to each even exempt from the Freedom of Information other, are available nowhere else. Census totals Act. No business competitors can obtain the also serve as benchmarks to keep our surveys responses of another company, and even copies accurate. retained in respondents’ files are immune from legal process. 2002 Economic Census U.S. Census Bureau Department of Commerce Washington, DC 20233-6100 (877) 790-1876 (toll free) (301) 457-2058 (FAX) firstname.lastname@example.org www.census.gov/econ2002 MORE COUNTING AMERICAN BUSINESS. CHARTING AMERICA’S PROGRESS. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS How do businesses get picked for the How can I help? Census? Write articles for your publication to inform your Economic Census forms were sent to all but the business readers — in December, when forms smallest businesses in every industry and geo- are arriving in the mail; in January, when busi- graphic area of the U.S. Most businesses with nesses should be working on their forms; and in five or more paid employees, and a sample of February, when the forms are due. Sample smaller ones, received a census form. articles are included in this kit. What is the penalty for not responding? Publish an editorial noting the value of the Section 224 of the census law (Title 13, United Economic Census for your industry or area, and States Code) provides for penalties of up to $500 urging businesses to get their forms in on time. for failure to report, and $10,000 for intentional- Key messages are included in this kit. ly providing false information. Ask your advertising manager to run one or What should a business person do if his or more public service advertisements. Camera- her business did not receive an Economic ready ad slicks are provided in this kit. Digital Census form? versions of the ads and more sizes are available on the web <www.census.gov/2002promo>. Nothing. To reduce the burden on American We will provide new ads for February and March, businesses, the Census Bureau did not send 2003. If you have special requirements, contact Economic Census forms to most very small us at the address below. firms. Forms went to all mid-sized and large businesses, but only to a sample of the smallest. Please send us a copy of any issues of your peri- If a company has more than one location, all odical that feature advertising, stories or editori- forms were sent to the company headquarters. als related to the 2002 Economic Census to: If the headquarters has all the required figures, 2002 Economic Census managers at individual offices may never see a U.S. Census Bureau census form. Washington, D.C. 20233-6100 A few industries are not covered by the Phone: (301) 763-2547 Economic Census — agriculture, forestry, and FAX: (301) 457-2058 fisheries; schools and colleges; and labor, E-mail: email@example.com political, and religious organizations. When and how will people see the results of the 2002 Economic Census? The first census results will be available in early 2004 when the “Advance” report provides totals for all economic sectors right at the start. All census results will be issued on the Internet and on CD-ROM over a 2-year period. What other information can I get on the Internet? www.census-gov/econ2002 contains: 6 samples of every 2002 Economic Census form 6 publication titles and release schedules 6 geographic profiles and complete reports from the 1997 Economic Census. 6 more story ideas 2002 Economic Census U.S. Census Bureau Department of Commerce Washington, DC 20233-6100 (877) 790-1876 (toll free) (301) 457-2058 (FAX) firstname.lastname@example.org www.census.gov/econ2002 COUNTING AMERICAN BUSINESS. CHARTING AMERICA’S PROGRESS.
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