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Sept 22 -- The Census Bureau invites public comment by November 21, 2023 regarding the proposed revision of the Annual Business Survey for 2024.

In an effort to improve the measurement of business dynamics in the United States, the Census Bureau is conducting the Annual Business Survey (ABS). The ABS combines Census Bureau firm-level collections to reduce respondent burden, increase data quality, reduce operational costs, and operate more efficiently. The ABS provides information on select economic and demographic characteristics for businesses and business owners by sex, ethnicity, race, and veteran status. Further, the survey measures research and development for microbusinesses and nonprofit organizations, business topics such as innovation and technology, as well as other business characteristics. The ABS is sponsored by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) within the National Science Foundation (NSF) and conducted by the Census Bureau. Title 13, United States Code, sections 8(b), 131, and 182; title 42, United States Code, section 1861–76 (National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended); and section 505 within the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 authorize this collection. Sections 224 and 225 of title 13, United States Code, require response from sampled firms.

The ABS includes all nonfarm employer businesses filing Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax forms as individual proprietorships, partnerships, or any other type of corporation, with receipts of $1,000 or more. Also included are nonprofit organizations to measure their research activities. Annually the ABS samples 300,000 employer business and 8,000 nonprofit organizations. Every five years, the ABS sample increases to 858,000 to serve as a benchmark and produce detailed comprehensive estimates for women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses at the 2–6-digit NAICS, U.S., State, metropolitan statistical area (MSA), county, and economic place levels, while also providing research activities for microbusinesses and nonprofit organizations. The 2023 ABS sampled approximately 858,000 businesses and organizations (850,000 employer businesses + 8,000 nonprofit organizations). The sample size is reduced to approximately 308,000 for the four following years (2024–2027 ABS) to minimize the burden on survey respondents. The smaller sample size will yield summary-level estimates for women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses at the 2–4 digit NAICS, U.S., state, and MSA levels. The Census Bureau uses administrative data to estimate the probability that a firm is minority- or women-owned. Each firm is then placed in one of eight frames for sampling. The sampling frames are: American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic, Non-Hispanic White Men, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, Publicly Owned, and Women. The sample is stratified by state, industry, and frame. The Census Bureau selects some companies with certainty based on volume of sales, payroll, number of paid employees or NAICS. All certainty cases are sure to be selected and represent only themselves. The ABS samples approximately 8,000 nonprofit organizations who are required to complete IRS form 990, in order to compile national estimates of R&D performance within this sector. Of note, nonprofit organizations will only see questions relating to research activities and will not be asked any questions relating to owner demographics.

The ABS is designed to allow for incorporating new content each survey year based on topics of relevance. Each year new questions are submitted to the OMB for approval.

The ABS collects the following information from employer businesses:

-- Owner characteristics, including sex, ethnicity, race, and veteran status from the principal owner(s) of the business.
-- Company information including, worldwide sales, domestic sales, number of employees, and business ownership from all employer businesses in the sample.
-- Business characteristics from all employer businesses in the sample.
-- Research and development from businesses with between 1–9 employees.

Additional owner topics may include military service, owner acquisition, job functions, number of hours worked, primary income, prior business ownership, age of owner, education and field of degree, citizenship status and place of birth, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and owner's reason for owning the business. Other business topics may include number of owners and percent ownership, family owned and operated, business aspirations, funding sources, profitability, types of customers, types of workers, employee benefits, franchise operations, work from home practices, and business activity. Potential module topics for the ABS may cover innovation, technology and internet usage, technology transfer, climate impact and sustainability practices, management and business practices, exporting practices, domestic and foreign transactions, design, worker training, and financing.

The ABS collects the following information from nonprofit organizations:

-- Research activities performed or funded by nonprofit organizations
-- Research funding sources
-- Type of research
-- Research personnel counts

Census ABS: https://www.census.gov/abs
NCSES ABS: https://ncses.nsf.gov/surveys/annual-business-survey
FCSM ABS: https://nces.ed.gov/fCSM/abs.asp
Draft survey instruments and technical documentation: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/020i5l2cka5sul5pmlds5/h?rlkey=g8ra44klras0ontyjr79xloz6&dl=0
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-20568

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