WASHINGTON — The U.S. Census Bureau wants to remind 5 million American businesses that time is running out for returning 2002 Economic Census forms. Businesses that receive forms are required by law to respond. The forms are due Feb. 12.

"Meeting the deadline will save time and money for both the government and business," stated Charles Louis Kincannon, director of the Census Bureau.

The Census Bureau also emphasized businesses can use the Internet to file their information electronically. For the first time, businesses can extract data from their own spreadsheets and copy them into electronic Windows®-based census forms, to help ease the reporting burden for business.

The Census Bureau has an Internet help site for businesses at www.census.gov/econhelp. Census Bureau employees are also answering a toll-free "help line" at 800-233-6136, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

The Economic Census, which is taken every five years, is the primary benchmark for measurement of 96 percent of gross domestic product. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan has said the Economic Census is “indispensable to understanding America's economy."

The Census Bureau says the 2002 Economic Census will feature a number of "firsts" including:

  • The first official measure of e-commerce for all industries;

  • New information on changing business supply-chain functions;

  • Information on businesses with “leased employees”;

  • Use of North American Product Classification System codes for products in about 85 service industries; and

  • Expanded information on purchased services and customer classes.

    Data on approximately 1,000 industries will be processed during 2003, with the first results expected in early 2004.

    Publication date: 02/10/2003