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AGS Business Data

Business Counts

Business Counts is a geographic compilation of the Acxiom InfoBase business list, supplemented by payroll, occupational, and retail sales data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the County Business Patterns program.

The primary variables available include:

Methodology and Data Sources

The core source for Business Counts is Acxiom's InfoBase business list file. InfoBase is built from a careful integration of Acxiom's own compiled white and yellow page data with information from other sources such as city directories, annual reports and 10K filings. The Business Counts file is updated in June annually.

In order to ensure that the occupational, payroll, and retail sales figures are reliable, AGS took considerable care in evaluating which establishments are administrative in nature. This is a critical step for establishments in both retail and in the primary sector (agriculture, forestry, fishing, and mining). In the former case, the goal was to ensure that retail sales estimates were not skewed by "head office" employment that is not directly sales related. In the latter case, it is important to recognize administrative offices in order to avoid classifying office workers as loggers and miners.

The occupation estimates were created using the 1996 Industry Staffing Patterns Estimate file, obtained from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey, conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The occupational classification used by the OES was converted to the Census Occupational categorization using a translation file obtained from the NOICC Crosswalk and Data Center (NCDC), a technical resource center of the National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee (NOICC). For each 3 digit SIC group, a standard occupational breakdown was calculated by aggregating the employment counts from the detailed OES breakdowns to the standard thirteen Census breaks. These estimates were then applied at the establishment level and aggregated to the block group. For administrative establishments, separate occupation breakdowns were estimated.

In order to estimate payroll, several sources were used, including the OES survey (which includes average wages by detailed occupation), estimates from the National Compensation Survey, and industry specific payroll statistics by county from the County Business Patterns survey. Together, these sources enabled AGS to estimate payrolls using both geographic and industry factors to ensure that differences in payroll patterns are reflected in the estimates.

Retail sales estimates were computed at the establishment level for those retail establishments which were not identified as administrative. Using the 2006 Census of Retail Trade as a benchmark, estimates by state and SIC code were created which related retail sales to employee counts. These estimates (e.g. average sales per employee) were then updated to current figures obtained from the Monthly Retail Trade reports issued by the Census Bureau. Regional and store type differences were therefore accounted for in this procedure. Retail sales estimates are excluded for catalog and mail order firms, since these are not typically local in nature.

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