The U.S. Census Bureau had planned to release a report this month on women-owned businesses as part of the Survey of Business Owners, the only comprehensive, regularly collected source of information on economic and demographic characteristics for businesses and business owners by gender, ethnicity, race and veteran status.
Data on Hispanic-owned businesses was set to come out in July, and then data on black-owned businesses in August and so forth with different categories.
But on Wednesday, the Census Bureau officials took down the survey schedule on its website, and indicated they would release preliminary data for all the groups in August and then final numbers in December.
The information in August will include information on the U.S, states and sectors for all the groups, said Robert Bernstein, a spokesman for the Census. In December it will release final data that will include more geographic detail and sub-state data.
The change is departure from the Census Bureau’s process, and Bernstein said he didn’t know the reason for the change.
Still, I think this information is going to be worth waiting for, and so does Christine Kymn, chief economist and director of economic research with the U.S. Small Business Association’s Office of Advocacy, which is responsible for examining the contributions and challenges of small business in the U.S. economy.
“It is such an important survey,” Kymn said. “We certainly wait on baited breath for five years for when it is released.”
The survey, which is released every five years includes economic and demographic characteristics for most businesses with receipts of $1,000 or more, and will provide a snapshot of the small business economy in 2012, when the surveys were executed.
I know what you might be thinking. Every week it seems like someone else is coming out with a new report on the state of small businesses. This isn’t that.
“It is the most complete small-business specific survey,” Kymn said. This report isn’t a sample and a projection. “It is as much a population representative survey as Census can do.”
Specifically, this report will look at the rates of growth in the different industries and companies owned by the different groups, along with how many people they employed and paid in payroll.
“In terms of looking at how small businesses are doing following the Great Recession, it will be really relevant in a big way,” Kymn said.
After the Census releases its information in December, the SBA’s Office of Advocacy plans to start releasing its own reports that seek to help a variety of audiences to understand the bigger picture behind the data.
For the average owners, the information will be helpful in seeing where they stand relative to others within their group, Kymn said.
To see the 2007 numbers or learn more about the Survey of Business Owners, go to census.gov/econ/sbo.