By Jeff Vedders
www.census.gov: Such a simple web site address for tons of information. Although this site has enough information for several newsletter columns, I’d like to share two areas of interest, the Census 2000 data and the Economic Census.
The Census 2000 web site at www.census.gov/main/www/cen2000.html contains all of the information pertaining to the last U.S. census. With it, you can obtain demographic information from the macro level (state) all the way to the micro level (street address). Although the amount of information may appear daunting, a few quick links will allow you to get information quickly. For example, a link on the first page to State and County QuickFacts will give you the most requested population and business statistics. When you are ready to look for in-depth data, click on the American FactFinder to find data all the way down to the census block level. Several preformatted searches for data sets will help you with searching, or you have the option to do custom searches. For example, if you’re interested in commuting statistics, you can pull down Employment Status and Commuting to Work from the Basic Facts box at the top of the screen.
The Economic Census is done every five years. with the last available census in 1997. The 2002 census is currently underway, but the first report won’t be available until March 2004. The Economic Census tracks the number of businesses, value of shipments, annual payroll, and the number of paid employees for each NAICS code. This information is tracked at the state, county, metropolitan, and zip code levels. The census also compares the current census to the previous census. You can use this to see changes in the number of businesses for each NAICS code. If you don’t know the exact NAICS code for the industry you’re tracking, you can drill down. For example, if you click on the manufacturing category, it will take you to the corresponding 3 digit NAICS codes. From there you will be able to choose the appropriate category to get to the 6 digit NAICS code.