Census Bureau: New Business Trends and Outlook Survey Announced to Replace the Small Business Pulse Survey

The U.S. Census Bureau today announced the launch of a new experimental survey to measure business conditions on an ongoing basis. The Business Trends and Outlook Survey (BTOS) is the successor to the Small Business Pulse Survey, a high-frequency survey that measured the effect of changing business conditions during the coronavirus pandemic and other major events like hurricanes on our nation’s small businesses.  

BTOS will increase the scope of the Small Business Pulse Survey to include large single- location employer businesses (those with 500 or more employees). It will provide insight into the state of the economy by providing continuous, timely data for key economic measures every two weeks.

BTOS data are representative of all single-location employer businesses in the U.S. economy, excluding farms. By providing continuous data with geographic and subsector detail, BTOS will capture the impact of events like natural disasters and economic crises and assist in monitoring recovery efforts.

The BTOS sample will consist of approximately 1.2 million businesses with biweekly data collection scheduled to begin mid-July. Selected businesses will be split into 6 panels (approximately 200,000 cases per panel) that will be asked to report every 12 weeks for a year. The Census Bureau estimates that it will take the average respondent approximately 6 minutes to complete the survey, including the time for reviewing the instructions and answers.  

Data will be released biweekly and available by sector, state and the 25 most populous metropolitan statistical areas. Survey results give local, state and federal officials essential, real-time data to aid in policy and decision-making. In addition, the information aids businesses in making economic decisions.

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