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Economic Surveys Provide a Detailed Look at the Characteristics of Small Businesses

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Today’s release of 2012 Survey of Business Owners (SBO) statistics provides a preliminary socio-economic picture of business owners across the nation with final, and more detailed statistics, to come later this year in December.

As part of the Economic Census, which is conducted every five years, the Survey of Business Owners uses a sample of 1.75 million employer and nonemployer businesses. The results provide estimates on firms, receipts, payroll and employment by gender, ethnicity, race and veteran status.

Today’s preliminary release provides a first look snapshot since the 2007 SBO data were released. Preliminary data are available by economic sector for the nation and individual states. We use the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) to define the 18 sectors of the economy at the two-digit level. The final estimates in December will replace the preliminary estimates, as well as provide additional detail by geography and level of industry (two- through six-digit NAICS levels).

Additionally, more detailed levels of geography, including counties, metropolitan areas and places, will be published. December’s release will also include the Characteristics of Businesses and Characteristics of Business Owners data tables.

In between these two Survey of Business Owners releases, the Census Bureau plans to kick off data collection for the 2014 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs. The Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs is a supplement to the Survey of Business Owners and will produce similar data more frequently.  This new collection is  a public-private partnership between the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Minority Business Development Agency, and the Census Bureau. More information on this upcoming survey will be available soon.

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