Census Bureau: Economic census forms due ASAP
A U.S. Census Bureau official has urged all local businesses who have yet to return their economic census survey to do so as soon as possible because the economic statistics are useful in times of economic crisis and also help two other federal entities to compile their reports, including the next minimum wage impact study.
Lee R. Wentela, branch chief of the U.S. Census Bureau Economic Census Branch, arrived Monday night for a follow up with local businesses which have not yet submitted their questionnaire and to meet with local officials. He was here late last year to start the economic census for 2012.
“We are in the final stages of the data collection,” Wentela told Samoa News yesterday during an interview at the Commerce Department. He will be calling on a few larger business as well as the DOC—the ASG entity working in coordination with the Census Bureau—making phone calls to those who have not yet responded.
During visits to the larger businesses, he said he will also, among other things, “verify the numbers” that the businesses have provided in the economic survey.
“So two things we’re targeting now, getting the responses in, and making sure that the responses that we have are good,” he said and noted that he is also hoping to “identify some local data sources” to help validate some of the responses the Census Bureau has received so far.
Local sources include things such as business licenses, which are issued by DOC, to make sure that someone Census is trying to get data from — or those who have not responded— are actually in business. “We want to make sure,” he said.
Moreover, anyone that was out of business in 2012 will not be counted in this census but if a company files the 941 payroll form with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), “we consider that they were in business.”
He said this IRS payroll information does help them a lot, besides the payroll information collected thru the economic survey. “That’s one of our checks to make sure [it’s accurate] data,” he added.
“This economic census data is also important for the fact that the [federal] Bureau of Economy Analysis, which uses the data for the GDP work and the [U.S] Government Accountability Office is preparing another minimum wage impact study,” he said. “So they are also interested on what we find out about the business conditions [here].”
He said the planned preliminary release of the 2012 economic census is May 2014. He said this is the third economic census for the territory, with the first done in 2002.
“At this point, the main thing is to get the remaining businesses that have not filled out their census forms” to send them in, he said and reminded businesses that this economic census is required by federal law, and it’s a mandatory survey and the law also provides confidentiality of the data collected.
He also says that the economic census data is released by village and type of industry and therefore it will be useful for the business community. For example, a business may want to establish a new location and can use this data to check if the proposed new location is beneficial.
Wentela went on to say that the economic statistics provided in the census are helpful to the government so they can determine the strength or weakness of economic conditions here. In closing, he thanked the territorial government for their support as well as local businesses for their cooperation.
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