There are several different sources for data on business and industry discussed here.

Industries are classified using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).  NAICS is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. NAICS is a 2- through 6-digit hierarchical classification system, offering five levels of detail. Each digit in the code is part of a series of progressively narrower categories, and the more digits in the code signify greater classification detail.

Economic data is subject to suppression. The Census Bureau is committed to confidentiality and constantly pursues new procedures, technologies, and methodologies to safeguard individual data. Disclosure avoidance is the process for protecting the confidentiality of data. Cell suppression protects the confidentiality of individual businesses by replacing cell values with symbols in tables, where the amount of the cell if it were known, would allow one to estimate a single contributor’s value too closely. This occurs when there are very few contributors, or when there are one or two large contributors that dominate the aggregate statistic.

Find more economic data in the Labor Force topic.

Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition

The Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition is an interactive tool designed to provide selected demographic and economic data from the Census Bureau in a simple to access and use format. Users can view data in a map, report, or table; view trends to identify changes over time; compare data to neighboring counties, and state and national averages; and download and print business reports.

The current Small Business Edition offers prospective business owners selected statistics to guide their research into opening a new business.

Data available for businesses includes number of establishments, employment, payroll, revenue and more for 49 business types. Data available for potential customers includes demographic, economic, and housing characteristics, as well as consumer spending data. The data is available for counties, cities, ZIP codes and neighborhoods.

Go to the Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition.

Economic Census

The Economic Census is the U.S. Government’s official five-year measure of American business and the economy. It is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in years ending in 2 and 7, and response is required by law. Several key statistics are tabulated for all industries covered in the Economic Census: number of establishments, number of employees, payroll, measures of output (sales, receipts, revenue and value of shipment). Data are available for the nation, states, metropolitan areas, counties and economic places.

Access Economic Census data on American Fact Finder.

The Survey of Business Owners is conducted alongside the Economic Census and provides the only comprehensive, regularly collected source of information on selected economic and demographic characteristics for businesses and business owners by gender, ethnicity, race, and veteran status.

Access the Survey of Business Owners on American Fact Finder.


Nonemployer Statistics

Nonemployer Statistics is an annual series that provides subnational economic data for businesses that have no paid employees and are subject to federal income tax. The data consist of the number of businesses and total receipts by industry. Most nonemployers are self-employed individuals operating unincorporated businesses (known as sole proprietorships), which may or may not be the owner’s principal source of income.

The majority of all business establishments in the United States are nonemployers, yet these firms average less than 4 percent of all sales and receipts nationally. Due to their small economic impact, these firms are excluded from most other Census Bureau business statistics (the primary exception being the Survey of Business Owners). The Nonemployers Statistics series is the primary resource available to study the scope and activities of nonemployers at a detailed geographic level.

Access Nonemployer Statistics on American Fact Finder.

Annual Survey of Manufacturers 

The Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) provides sample estimates of statistics for all manufacturing establishments with one or more paid employee. It is conducted annually, except for years ending in 2 and 7, at which time ASM statistics are included in the manufacturing sector of the Economic Census.

The ASM Provides statistics on employment, payroll, supplemental labor costs, cost of materials consumed, operating expenses, value of shipments, value added by manufacturing, detailed capital expenditures, fuels and electric energy used, and inventories.

The three data sets issued from the ASM are the Statistics for Industry Groups and Industries, the Value of Product Shipments, and the Geographic Area Statistics for states.

Access the Annual Survey of Manufacturers on American Fact Finder.

Bureau of Economic Analysis

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce produces economic accounts statistics that enable government and business decision-makers, researchers, and the American public to follow and understand the performance of the Nation’s economy.

BEA publishes data on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP is the market value of goods and services produced by labor and property in the United States. GDP data is available for the nation, states, and metropolitan areas.

Access GDP data.

BEA also publishes data on employment, wages, and industry for states, metropolitan areas, and counties.

Access BEA Regional Data.