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Census Reference Publications

Economic Censuses

The economic census has been taken every five years since 1967. There were also economic censuses taken in 1954, 1958 and 1963. Before that, there has been some coverage of economic activities in the Decennial Censuses dating back to 1810, which included questions on manufacturing as well as population. In 1840, questions were added on mining and some commercial activities. In 1905 a separate Manufactures Census was taken, and in 1930, censuses covering retail and wholesale trade and construction were added, along with some service trades in 1933. During World War II, business, manufacturing, and construction censuses were suspended.1

For more current economic data and updates from the U.S. Census Bureau, please see Economic Census Updates and Company and Enterprise Data in this guide.

 

  General Histories of the Economic Census       Finding and using Economic Census data                 Economic Censuses by Year


General Histories of the Economic Census

History: Economic Census. U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, last revised: April 23, 2012, accessed June 20, 2012.
http://www.census.gov/history/www/programs/economic/economic_census.html

     A brief overview of the history of the economic censuses.

Langham, Charles G. Economic Censuses of the United States: Historical Development.
[Washington] U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1973. 18 p.
U.S. Bureau of the Census Working Paper 38.
LC Call Number:HA37.U55 L35
LC Catalog Record: 73600143
Available online [PDF: 2.89 KB/ 24 pp.]

   Provides a brief overview of each of the earliest economic censuses beginning with the 1810 Decennial Census in which the first question on manufacturing was asked up to a brief discussion of plans for the 1972 Economic Census. It also includes economic censuses discontinued, resumed, augmented, and rescheduled as related to improvements, the economic history of the nation at the time, and war time and postwar developments that impacted economic census taking. Also has a listing of other technical papers and working papers on pertinent census topics.

BERA - Business & Economics Research Advisor - A Quarterly Guide to Business & Economics Topics

Spring 2013

Census Connections

A Guide To Locating Selected U.S. Decennial And Economic Census Publications In The Library Of Congress

Table of Contents

Overview
Introduction
Census Reference Publications
      Censuses of Population
            Census Data
            History
            Catalogs/Guides/Indexes
            Specific Censuses
            State Censuses
      Economic Censuses
Census Search Strategies
Current Business Reports
Special Censuses
LC Catalog Searches

Head-and-shoulders portrait of Uncle Sam, Census 1940.
Image (above):
Promotional Poster "It's your America! Help the ten-year roll call,"
Head-and-shoulders portrait of Uncle Sam, Census 1940.
    U.S. Bureau of the Census
Library of Congress
Prints and Photographs Division

Micarelli, William F. "Evolution of the United States Economic Censuses: The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries." Government Information Quarterly, 15, no.3 (1998): 335-377.
http://www.census.gov/.../GIQ_history.pdf [PDF: 113 KB/ 43 pp.]

Excellent overview of the development of the economic censuses. Includes information on economic census reference publications relating to the administrative and operational activities involved in the planning and implementation of the economic census.

Resources for finding and using Economic Census data

Boettcher, Jennifer C. and Leonard M. Gaines. Industry Research Using the Economic Census: How to Find it, How to Use it.Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2004.
LC Call Number: HC101.B594 2004
LC Catalog Record: 2004008607

U.S. Dept. of Commerce. Bureau of the Census. Guide to Industrial Statistics: industrial statistics program, locator guide to published data, types of data presented, publications of major censuses, and other sources of statistics. Washington, D.C., 1978:
LC Call Number: HD9724.U52 1978
LC Catalog Record: 76608320

U.S. Dept of Commerce, Domestic and International Business Administration. A Guide to Federal Data Sources on Manufacturing. Washington D.C., 1977.
LC Call Number: HA37.U6M3 1977
LC Catalog Record: 77604580

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Economic Censuses by Year

                  Specific Censuses, 1930-1948            Specific Censuses, 1954-2007

Specific Censuses, 1930-1948

Below are citations (including Library of Congress call numbers) for the specific economics-related censuses issued between 1930 and 1948, along with references to selected reports about those censuses

      1930            1933            1935            1939             1948            
top

Fifteenth Census of the U.S. Census of Distribution. 1930. Retail Trade
United States. Bureau of the Census. Washington, U. S. Govt. Print. Off., 1932.
LC Call Numbers: HF3007.A4,     HF3007.A4 1930a,     HF3007.A4 1930b
LC Catalog Records: 31027244,     32026112,            32026821

Census of American business: 1933.
United States. Bureau of the Census. [Washington, 1935]
LC Call Number: HF3007.A425 1933
LC Catalog Record: 35013470
See also LC Catalog Record: 35016431

7 volumes. Volumes 1-5 a Civil Works Administration Project.
Volumes 1-7 Wholesale Distribution
Volumes 1-4 (published 1935), Services, Amusements and Hotels

Census of American business. Wholesale distribution: 1933.
United States Summary of Wholesale Trade. Kind of Business in Detail 1933 and 1929.
LC Call Number: HF3007.A425 1933b
LC Catalog Record: 35016431

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Census of business: 1935. Wholesale Distribution.
LC Call Number: HF3007 .A425 1935
LC Catalog Record: 37026111
Full text available online from HathiTrustExternal Link.

  • Volume I - United States Summary
  • Volume II - States and 25 Selected Cities
  • Volume III - Cities and Counties
  • Volume IV - Kinds of Business
  • Volume V - Employment and Pay Roll
  • Volume VI - Business-Size Groups and Analysis of Operating Expenses
  • Volume VII - Credit Sales and Sales of Classes of Customers
  • Volume VIII - Commodity Sales

Census of Business: 1935. Retail Distribution.
Full text available online from HathiTrustExternal Link

  • Part I
    • Volume I - United States Summary
    • Volume II - County and City Summaries
    • Volume III - Kinds of Business, by Areas: Stores and Sales for States, Counties and Cities.
  • Part II
    • Volume IV - Types of Operation
    • Volume V - Employment and Pay Roll
    • Volume VI - Credit Sales, Analysis of Sales. Stocks, Size of Business

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Sixteenth census of the United States: 1940. Census of Business.
LC Call Number: HF3007.A423
LC Catalog Record: 43051822

  • Volume I - Retail Trade: 1939
    • Part 1 - U.S. Summary and Special Subjects
    • Part 2 - Commodity Sales and Analysis by Sales Size
    • Part 3 - Kinds of Business by Areas, States, Counties, & Cities
  • Volume II - Wholesale Trade: 1939
  • Volume III - Services Establishments: 1939 & Places of Amusement, Hotels, 'Tourist Courts & Tourist Camps' 1939
  • Volume IV - Construction: 1939
  • Volume V - Distribution of Manufacturers' Sales: 1939

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1948 Census of Business.

Wholesale trade. U. S. census of business, 1948.
LC Call Number: HF3007.A5 1948a
LC Catalog Record: 51060177
Comprised of 50 bulletins covering 49 states and U.S. Summary.

United States census of business, 1948.
LC Call Number: HF3007.A5 1948b
LC Catalog Record: 51061271

  • Volume I - Retail Trade. General Statistics. Part 1.
  • Volume II - Retail Trade. General Statistics. Part 2 and Merchandise Line Sales Statistics.
  • Volume III - Retail Trade. Area Statistics
  • Volume IV - Wholesale Trade. General Statistics. and Commodity Line Sales Statistics.
  • Volume V - Wholesale Trade. Area Statistics
  • Volume VI - Service Trade. General Statistics
  • Volume VII - Service Trade. Area Statistics

Trade series; U.S. census of business, 1948. Bulletin no. 3-1--[3-14].
LC Call Number: HF3007.A5 1948c
LC Catalog Record: 53036724

14 numbers in 2 volumes.

Wholesale trade; U.S. Census of Business, 1948.
Sales Size and Operating Expenses. Bulletin No.2 2-W-2

LC Call Number: HF3007.A5 1948d
LC Catalog Record: 58035702

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Specific Censuses, 1954-2007

The 1954 economic census was the first to fully compile census-type data for the various kinds of business by using tax returns and social security records. The census provided comparable data across economic sectors, using consistent time periods, concepts, definitions, classification, and reporting units. For the first time, computers were used for processing economic census data. The 1948 census law that authorized the Census Bureau to conduct economic censuses in 1949 and every fifth year thereafter was modified in 1964, so that economic censuses cover the years ending in "2" and "7".

  1954    1958     1963     1967     1972     1977     1982     1987     1992     1997     2002     2007

1954 Census of Business
LC Call Number: HF3007.A5 1954
LC Catalog Record: 57062004

  • Volume I - Retail Trade. Summary Statistics.
  • Volume II - Retail Trade. Area Statistics.
    • Part 1 - U.S. Summary / ALA-MI
    • Part 2 - MO-Wyo and Alaska & Hawaii
  • Volume III - Wholesale Trade. Summary Statistics.
  • Volume IV - Wholesale Trade. Area Statistics.
  • Volume V - Selected Services Trades. Summary Statistics.
  • Volume VI - Selected Services Trade. Area Statistics
    • Part 1 - U.S. Summary / ALA - MI
    • Part 2 - MO - WYO & Alaska & Hawaii

1954 census of business: central business district statistics. Bulletin CBD-1-[96]
LC Call Number: HF3007 .A5 1954a
LC Catalog Record: 60002753

Main Menu United States census of business: 1958.
LC Call Number: HF3007 .A5 1958
LC Catalog Record: a61009104

  • Volume 1 - Retail Trade. Summary Statistics.
  • Volume II - Retail Trade. Area Statistics.
  • Volume III - Wholesale Trade. Summary Statistics.
  • Volume IV - Wholesale Trade. Area Statistics.
  • Volume V - Selected Services. Summary Statistics.
  • Volume VI - Selected Services. Area Statistics.
    • Part 1 - U.S. Summary / ALA-MI
    • Part 2 - MO-WYO and Alaska & Hawaii, Guam & V.I.

Main Menu 1963 Economic Census
Printed Reports
1963 Census of Business.
LC Call Number: HF3007.A5 1963
LC Catalog Record: a66007302

1963 Economic Censuses. Procedural History.
LC Call Number: HC101.U475a
LC Catalog Record: 96650074
Covers the planning, preparation, data collection, compilation, special surveys, and publicity for the 1963 Economic Census. Appendix includes chronology of events, key personnel, procedures manual, area definitions, list of published census reports, list of questionnaire forms, facsimiles of selected questionnaires, trade associations consulted for the clearance of product materials, bibliography, and more.
Census Bureau Programs and Publications. Area and Subject Guide.
LC Call Number: HA37.U52 1968
LC Catalog Record: 79603950
Full text available online from HathiTrust Digital LibraryExternal Link
Provides overview of the 1963 Censuses of Business, Transportation, Manufactures, Mineral Industries and Commercial Fisheries as well as many other economic surveys and reports.

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1967 Census of Business

Printed Reports

1967 Census of Business: wholesale trade, subject reports, commodity line sales.
LC Call Number: HF5421. U6 1971
LC Catalog Record: 77601074

1967 Census of Business.
LC Call Number: HF3007.U55 1970
LC Catalog Record: 72608032

1967 Economic Census History

For information on the 1967 Censuses, go to Procedural History of the 2002 Economic Census [PDF format: 2.8 MB/ 230 pp.] and scroll down to Appendix B-21 for a brief discussion. The Census Bureau publication "1967 Economic Censuses: Procedural History" published in 1972 is not in LC, but can be viewed online via either the Internet ArchiveExternal Link.
Catalogs/Guides/Indexes

Bureau of the Census Guide To Programs and Publications Subjects and Areas 1973
LC Call Number: HA37.U52 1973b
LC Catalog Record: 73600168
Repeated here from the decennial census section because it provides information on the 1967 Census of Business.

Geographic Coding Manual.
LC Call Number: HA37.U52 1968c
LC Catalog Record: 79603820

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1972 Economic Census

Printed Reports

1972 Economic Census of Outlying Areas.
LC Call Number: HC154.5.U53 1975
LC Catalog Record:75603527

1972 Economic Census of Retail Trade
LC Call Number: HF5429.3.U535 1976
LC Catalog Record: 76600018

1972 Census of Selected Service Industries
LC Call Number: HD9981.4.U54 1976
LC Catalog Record: 76600020

1972 Census of Selected Service Industries
LC Call Number: HD9981.4.U54 1974
LC Catalog Record: 75603594

1972 Economic Census History

History of the 1977 Economic Censuses.
LC Call Number: HC101.U475a 1977
LC Card Number: 96650075

Continues the Economic Censuses Procedural Histories, providing the same information as its predecessor publications. It covers planning and preparation, geographic area coding, mailing of questionnaires and facsimiles of selected questionnaires, collecting and processing the data, conducting census in outlying areas, public information and publication programs.
Catalogs/Guides/Indexes

Mini-Guide to the 1972 Economic Censuses.
LC Call Number: HA37.U52 1972c
LC Catalog Record: 74600808

Provides information on the 1972 Economic Census programs and includes chart on the major data items collected in the economic censuses and lists the titles of the final reports issued for the 1972 Economic Census.

Guide To Industrial Statistics.
LC Call Number: HD9724.U52 1978
LC Catalog Record: 76608320

Gives overview of the industrial statistics program of the Census Bureau and provides locator guide information to selected published economic census reports.

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1977 Economic Census

Printed Reports

1977 Census of Retail Trade (RC72) . Subject Series.
LC Call Number: HF5429.3.C4 1981
LC Catalog Record: 82602119

1977 Census of Wholesale Trade (WC77). Geographic Area Series.
LC Call Number: HF5421.U6 1979
LC Catalog Record: 78606087

Note: State names appear on spine; this edition was published in August 1979 but HF5421.U6 1980 is the revised edition having been published in March 1980.

1977 Census of Wholesale Trade (WC77). Subject Statistics.
LC Call Number: HF5421.C4 1977
LC Catalog Record: 82602378

Note: Copy 2 and 3 of volume 1 under call # HF5421.C4 1981a

1977 Census of Wholesale Trade (WC77). Geographic Area Series.
LC Call Number: HF5421.C4 1981
LC Catalog Record: 81602874

1977 Census of Service Industries. Geographic Area Series.
LC Call Number: HD9981.4.C46 1981
LC Catalog Record: 84603711

1977 Census of Manufactures. Industry Statistics.
LC Call Number: HD9724.C4 1981
LC Catalog Record: 82602380

Only 2 volumes in general collections covering Parts 1-20, -26, Pt 2, 27-34.

1977 Census of Manufactures. Geographic Area Series.
LC Call Number: HD9724.C422 1981
LC Catalog Record: 82602298

1977 Census of Construction. Industry and Area Statistics.
LC Call Number: HD9715.U52C46 1981
LC Catalog Record: 82602379

1977 Economic Censuses of Outlying Areas
LC Call Number: HC154.5.U53 1979
LC Catalog Record: 80607016

1977 Economic Census History

1977 economic censuses: publication programs.
LC Call Number: Z7165.U5U482 1978
LC Catalog Record: 79603367

Catalogs/Guides/Indexes

Mini-Guide to the 1977 Economic Censuses.
LC Call Number: HC106.7.H83 1979
LC Catalog Record: 80601715

Provides information on individual economic census reports of the 1977 Economic Census and programs, the geographic areas and other census data formats in which data are available.

Graphic Summary of the 1977 Economic Censuses.
LC Call Number: HC106.7.G7
LC Catalog Record: 81001210

A series of charts and maps developed from data collected from the economic censuses, designed as a visual complement to tabular information found in the census reports and to encourage census data users to go to the actual reports for further information.

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1982 Economic Census

Printed Reports

1982 Census of Wholesale Trade . Industry Series.
LC Call Number: HF5421.C41985
LC Catalog Record: 97144062

1982 Census of Wholesale Trade. Geographic Area Series.
LC Call Number: HF5421.C4 1981
LC Catalog Record: 83600198

1982 Census of Service Industries. Industry Series.
LC Call Number: HD9981.4.C46 1984
LC Catalog Record: 83600218

1982 Census of Manufactures (MC82-A). Geographic Area Series.
LC Call Number: HD9724.C4 1985
LC Catalog Record: 83600153

1982 Census of Manufactures (MC82-S). Subject Series.
LC Call Number: HD9724.C4 1983 LC Catalog Record: http://lccn.loc.gov/83600106

1982 Economic Censuses of Outlying Areas
LC Call Number: HC154.5.E26 1983
LC Catalog Record: 83600197

1982 Economic Census History

See Procedural History of the 2002 Economic Census [PDF format: 2.8 MB / 230 pp.] and scroll down to Appendix B-24 for a brief overview of the 1982 Economic Census. The History of the 1982 Economic Census is not available in LC, but can be viewed online via the HathiTrust.External Link

Catalogs/Guides/Indexes

Guide to the 1982 Economic Censuses and Related Statistics.
LC Call Number: HC106.8.B64 1984
LC Catalog Record: 84601058

1982 Economic Censuses: Geographic Reference Manual.
LC Call Number: HA37.U55A16 1983
LC Catalog Record: 83602712

Economic censuses of outlying areas.
LC Call Number: HC154.5.E26 1983
LC Catalog Record: 83600197

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1987 Economic Census

Printed Reports

Note: A listing of some of the titles and LC Call numbers for the 1987 Economic Census Reports is available from A Guide To Finding Business Information at the Library of Congress. Several others are listed below.

1987 Census of Manufactures. Industry Series.
LC Call Number: HD9724.C4 1988a
LC Catalog Record: 88600160

1987 Census of Wholesale Trade. Geographic Area Series.
LC Call Number: HF5421.C4 1989
LC Catalog Record: 88022143

1987 Economic Censuses of Outlying Areas.
LC Call Number: HC154.5.E27 1989
LC Catalog Record:

1987 Economic Census History

History of the ... Economic Censuses
LC Call Number: HC101 .U475a [year]
LC Catalog Record: 96650075 Available online from HathiTrust Digital Library.External Link

Catalogs/Guides/Indexes

1987 Economic Censuses. Geographic Reference Manual.
LC Call Number: HC106.8.A15 1988
LC Catalog Record: 88600098

Guide to the 1987 Economic Censuses and Related Statistics.
LC Call Number: HA37.U55 G87 1990
LC Catalog Record: 89600742
Available online [PDF format: 20/7 MB / 132 pp.]

This is the last printed edition of a guide to the economic censuses. It provides information on the major series titles published for this economic census. It contains explanations on the tables found in the report, lists current reports that update the series, and more.

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1992 Economic Census

Printed Reports

For a listing of titles and LC Call Numbers, see Locating U.S. Census Publications in the Library of Congress. The entries in this guide are for DC, MD and VA but the call numbers apply for all states in those series. Alternatively, you can see the folder "Locating Census Data A Few Quick Tips," page 8, located at the Business Reference Desk.
Also available online in PDF format.

Update: U.S. Census Bureau has made a large number of economic census publications available online. Look under Economic Census 1992.

1992 Economic Census History

History of the ... Economic Censuses
LC Call Number: HC101 .U475a [year]
LC Catalog Record: 96650075
Full text available online from HathiTrust Digital LibraryExternal Link

An overview complete with detailed history of the economic censuses, procedures, data collection, products, and more. The economic censuses are traced back to their earliest beginnings in the census in 1810. All the title series are provided and other pertinent data.

Catalogs/Guides/Indexes
Introduction to the 1992 Economic Census [PDF Format: 170 KB/ 22pp. ]

As the Census Bureau did not publish a guide to the 1992 Economic Census, this is a brochure that basically outlines the census programs, new data to be covered, special census programs, and projected release schedule for the census reports of the 1992 Economic Census. It can be used in conjunction with the Guide to the 1987 Economic Censuses and Related Statistics, which is the last printed guide published for the economic censuses by the Census Bureau.

1992 Economic Census. Geographic Reference Manual.
LC Call Number: HC106.8.E265 1992
LC Catalog Record: 94170500

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1997 Economic Census

Publications Economic Census 1997
http://www.census.gov/prod/www/economic_census.html


Printed Reports

Schedule of Reports from the 1997 Economic Census
http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/g97sched.htm#START
Note that only a small amount of printed reports are available.

1997 Economic Census Availability of Reports
Provides links to reports in Subject Series by industry.

Company Summary, 1997:
1997 Economic Census: Company Statistics Series.

LC Call Number: HD2785.E26 2001
LC Catalog Record: 2001344958
Available online. [PDF format: 3.94 MB/567 pp.]

Women-owned Businesses, 1997:
1997 Economic Census: Survey of Women-owned Business Enterprises.

LC Call Number: HD2346.U5E268 2001
LC Catalog Record: 2001615813
Available online. [PDF format: 2.14 MB/253 pp.]

1997 Economic Census of Outlying Areas:
Construction Industries: Puerto Rico

LC Call Number: HD9715.P92E26 2001
LC Catalog Record: 2001387005
Available online. [PDF format: 10.6 MB/ 272 pp.]

1997 Economic Census:
Survey of Minority-owned Business Enterprises.

LC Call Number: HD2346.U5E269 2001
LC Catalog Record: 2001330031
Published in 5 volumes via the HathiTrust.
Vol. 1 BlacksExternal Link
Vol. 2 HispanicsExternal Link
Vol. 3 Asians and Pacific IslandersExternal Link
Vol. 4 American Indians and Alaska NativesExternal Link
Vol. 5 SummaryExternal Link

1997 Economic Census:
Survey of Minority-owned Business Enterprises: Hispanic.

LC Call Number: Not available
LC Catalog Record: 2007467964
Available online [PDF format: 1.65 MB/190 pp.]

1997 Economic Census: Transportation.
LC Call Number: HF5780.U6E25 1999
LC Catalog Record: 2003426842

1997 Economic Census History

History of the ... Economic Censuses
LC Call Number: HC101 .U475a [year]
LC Catalog Record: 96650075
Available online: History of the 1997 Economic Census [PDF format: 1.62 MB/160 pp.]

Catalogs/Guides/Indexes

Guide to the 1997 Economic Census
http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/guide.html

Do-It Yourself User Conference on the 1997 Economic Census
http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/ec97cnf2.htm

1997 Economic Census Reports
http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/econ97.html

This page provides various ways to access 1997 Economic Census data:
  • Data for all sectors (drill-down menu)
  • Industry Statistics Sampler
  • Sector specific reports
  • Industry series
  • Subject series
  • Reports by State

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2002 Economic Census

Publications 2002 Economic Census
http://www.census.gov/prod/www/economic_census.html

Printed Reports
There were no printed reports published for the 2002 Economic Census. All the reports are accessible online at: 2002 Economic Census Reports

2002 Economic Census History
Procedural History of the 2002 Economic Census [PDF Format: 2.8 MB/ 230 pp.]

Catalogs/Guides/Indexes
Guide to the 2002 Economic Census

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2007 Economic Census

Economic Census main page

http://www.census.gov/econ/census/

History of the 2007 Economic Census
http://www.census.gov/history/pdf/2007econhistory.pdf [PDF format: 1.75 MB/138 p.]

2007 Economic Census User Guide (archived version on Internet Archive)
https://web.archive.org/web/20111001170055/http://www.census.gov/econ/census07/www/user_guide.html

Printed Reports
No printed reports were published nor reports were made available online in PDF for the 2007 Economic Census. Data was released online on American FactFinder.

2007 Economic Census Forms
Data are collected for the Economic Census from survey forms sent to business establishments. Information on the forms for each sector and further instructions are available on 2007 Economic Census Business Help Site.


 1. Adapted from the History section of the U.S. Census Bureau. 2007 Economic Census page, https://web.archive.org/web/20131106062638/http://www.census.gov/econ/census07/www/methodology/history.html

Last Updated: 4/21/2014

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