The economic census serves as the cornerstone of the nation’s economic statistics and the information it collects helps shape decisions that affect the health of the economy.
It provides source data for the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), national income and products accounts (NIPAs), the producer price index (PPI), and other key indicators of economic performance.
Economic census totals also serve as benchmarks to keep our other surveys accurate. The economic surveys and programs conducted by the Census Bureau are the source of official statistics and the foundation of our national accounts fueled by the data provided by businesses and government.
At the top of the pyramid are our new high-frequency surveys that are released in biweekly phases, such as the Business Trends and Outlook Survey (previously Small Business Pulse Survey) and Business Formation Statistics.
Next, we have monthly and quarterly surveys, which have a small sample size, but provide some of the timeliest data. They provide a snapshot of the economy in a wide range of sectors, such as Monthly Retail Trade, Construction Spending and Quarterly Services Survey.
Then we have the annual surveys that have larger samples and provide some of the most up-to-date detailed trend data available. Examples include the Annual Survey of Manufactures and Annual Business Survey.