6,000 Arundel businesses surveyed in 1992 census Results serve as a measure of economic change

January 04, 1993|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff Writer

The U.S. Census Bureau wants to know all about county businesses' 1992 sales, payrolls and numbers of employees.

An estimated 6,000 businesses in Anne Arundel County have been asked for information as part of the 1992 Economic Census.

Local businesses must return the questionnaires by Feb. 15.

The five-year census helps federal officials measure economic change, such as in monthly retail sales and the gross domestic product.

State and local agencies use the data to plan, promote economic development and attract new business, said Robert A. Marske, a special assistant in the bureau's Economic Census and Surveys Division.

"The economic census is really the foundation for the nation's economic statistics," Mr. Marske said.

"It gives us a better understanding of the local business community."

Business people rely on survey results to determine market share or competitiveness or the best site for a new branch or store, he added.

The bureau mailed one-third of the 3.5 million surveys distributed nationwide in early December and sent the rest in the middle of the month.

Five hundred customized versions of the questionnaire have been tailored for specific businesses within the retail, wholesale, service, transportation, financial, real estate, manufacturing, mineral and construction industries.

While most economic surveys gauge the national economy, the economic census measures key statistics for states, counties and cities.

Businesses to be surveyed include a sampling of mining companies; general contractors; manufacturers of textile, lumber, furniture and industrial machinery; automotive dealers; service stations; stores that sell home furnishings, food and garden supplies; insurance agents; banks; hotels; and health and legal services.

Businesses that receive the forms -- all mid-sized and large businesses, plus a sample of the smallest -- must respond or face penalties of up to $500.

Federal officials can fine businesses up to $10,000 for willfully giving false information.

The 1987 census showed that more than 98 percent of all companies nationally had fewer than 100 employees; that receipts of the computer software and services industry grew by 232 percent in five years; and that Americans are eating out more, as restaurant sales increased by double the amount food store sales increased.

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