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1. Is this survey mandatory?

Yes, your response is required by law. Title 13 U.S.C., Sections 131 and 182, authorizes this collection. Title 13 of the U.S.C., Sections 224 and 225, requires your response.

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2. Who uses the data?

The Annual Survey of Manufactures provides key intercensal measures of manufacturing activities, products, and locations for the public and private sectors. The survey also provides the best measure of current U.S. manufacturing industry outputs, inputs, and operating status.


  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses the data to calculate annual productivity series, update producer price indexes, and calculate weights for new index components.
  • The Federal Reserve Board uses the data to prepare the Index of Industrial Production.
  • The Bureau of Economic Analysis uses the data to prepare annual Gross Domestic Product updates and weights for Gross Domestic Product deflators.
  • The Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration uses the data to evaluate and forecast industrial activity.
  • State and local agencies use the data to plan trade and economic policies.
  • Private industry and trade associations use the data to plan operations, analyze markets, and make investment and production decisions.
  • The Census Bureau uses the data to update the Longitudinal Research database, which is used by Census Bureau staff and academic researchers with sworn agent status for micro data analysis.

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3. My establishment is no longer in business. What should I do?

Complete the survey with data for any period of time during the 2018 calendar year that the establishment was in operation.  For additional information on how to report for out of business or sold establishments, please access the help feature within the reporting instrument by clicking on "Additional Information" on the Operation Status screen.

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4. Why don't you get the information you need from the IRS?

The Census Bureau uses Internal Revenue Service administrative data whenever possible. However, the Internal Revenue Service data does not provide the level of detail needed in most Census Bureau surveys, or does not have certain items available (e.g., e-commerce).

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5. Can I report on a fiscal year basis?

Calendar year data are preferred. If it is not available, please report for the fiscal year that includes at least six months of data for the calendar year being requested.

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6. My company is not a manufacturer, what should I do?

If you do not manufacture products, please indicate the nature of your business in the Remarks section.

Establishments engaged in the activities listed below are considered to be manufacturing establishments for the purpose of this survey:

  • Apparel jobbing and contracting
  • Assembling from purchased components
  • Commission processing of materials owned by others
  • Job casting, stamping, and machining
  • Lapidary work
  • Machine shops, including those operating on a job-order basis
  • Manufacturing and delivering ready-mixed concrete
  • Milk pasteurizing and bottling
  • Plating, galvanizing, polishing, etc., of materials owned by others
  • Poultry dressing
  • Printing books, periodicals, etc.
  • Research and development, engineering and other services directly related to aerospace industries
  • Sawmills
  • Seafood, fresh-packaged or frozen
  • Ship repair
  • Wood preserving

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Completing the Report

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7. How can I compile my data before reporting online?

You can click on the icon preview  under "Print/Preview Survey Questions" on the Step 1 - Report to see a preview of the questions to compile your data before reporting online.

You can download a worksheet to compile your data before reporting online by clicking on "Download Spreadsheet Template" on the Step 1 - Report.

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8. How long will it take to complete this survey?

We estimate this survey will take an average of 30 minutes to 6 hours to complete, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information.

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9. I need more time. Can I obtain an extension?

You may obtain a time extension by signing into your Census Bureau account (or refer to your letter for instructions on how to create an account), clicking on "Options" and then "Request Extension." You may choose any date allowed in the calendar drop down.

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10. Are estimates acceptable?

Yes, carefully prepared estimates are acceptable if book figures are not readily available.

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11. Why do you need to know if I own other establishments, or if another establishment owns mine?

We do not want to duplicate data if you are affiliated with other establishments that may already be providing data on this survey, or in one of our other Census Bureau surveys.

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12. Can I be paid for completing this report?

No. The law authorizing this report (Title 13, U.S.C.) does not authorize funds for payment.

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Sample Selection

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13. How was I selected for this report?

Your firm or EIN was chosen from a scientifically selected sample of businesses. Taking a sample is less costly than contacting every business in the country. Firms or EINs selected for the sample represent other similar businesses.

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14. I am a very small business. Why do you want information from me?

Taken together, small businesses have a real impact on the economy. Your firm or EIN was chosen from a scientifically selected sample of businesses and represents many other small businesses like yours.

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Electronic Reporting

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15. How do I navigate between items?

You can use the "Back" or the "Save and Continue" buttons to navigate to items immediately following and preceding the current item you are viewing.  You can also navigate to other items by selecting the page from the dropdown and clicking the adjacent "Go To" button.

If you are filling out the surveys via spreadsheets, you can click the tabs at the bottom of the worksheet.

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16. Are all TOTAL fields automatically calculated?

Most totals are automatically calculated, but you should always check automatically calculated totals to ensure the accuracy of data. Some totals are not automatically calculated, and the totals for those fields should also be completed along with the details.

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17. Why did my TOTALS stop automatically calculating?

If total fields on an item previously automatically calculated, and the totals have stopped calculating, the online survey's built-in calculation has stopped working because of navigation between pages. Please continue to report the required data by manually calculating the total fields.

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18. How do I submit my survey?

Once forms listed on Step 1 - Report are complete without errors, you can submit questionnaires. Navigate to the Step 3 - Review Surveys and Submit screen, select the surveys to submit and click the “Continue” button to initiate the process.

If you are filling out the surveys via the spreadsheets, you will need to upload the completed spreadsheets in the instrument, via Step 1 – Report. Click the “Upload Completed Template” button to initiate the process.  After uploading the spreadsheet(s), Review your data via Step 2 - View Errors/Warnings; then navigate to Step 3 Review Surveys and Submit; and click the “Continue” button to initiate the process.

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19. How do I know you received my data?

The Census Bureau updates your filing status two to three business days after you submit your data.  You may check your filing status by signing into your Census Bureau account, clicking on "Options" and then "Filing Status" or by calling 1-844-303-7713 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, and a service representative will assist you.

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20. Why don't I see all of my data on the PDF?

If you selected the icon preview under “Preview Questions and Instructions” on the Step 1 – Report, to print your survey, but you do not see the data you entered, your Adobe JavaScript may be disabled. Check your Adobe settings to ensure your Adobe JavaScript is enabled: open Adobe, go to "Edit," select "Preferences," choose "JavaScript," and check "Enable Acrobat JavaScript".

Your printed PDF may include the data you entered with some data missing (i.e., certain fields have been truncated). Note: Once submitted, the Census Bureau will be able to process all the data you reported even if some fields are truncated on the PDF. For your own records, you can print an item that has truncated fields on the PDF printout by navigating to that item on the website, and printing the item through your browser's print options.

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21. Why does the data printed on the second page of my printed item not match what is displayed on the screen?

There is an issue when using the print option in Firefox; only the first page of the item prints correctly. To fix the issue, change the browser's print scale to 100% or print using the PDF icon on the Step 1 – Report. If necessary, check your browser's Help index to assist you in changing the print scale.

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22. Why are some background colors and images missing from my printed survey?

This is caused by the default Page Setup options in some browsers. You can fix the issue by making sure that the "Page Setup" option to print background colors and images is selected in your Internet browser.

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23. Why does the website not display correctly?

Some pages of the survey might not display correctly in some browsers. It is recommended that the online survey be completed in Mozilla Firefox 1.5.0.7 (or above) or Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0 (or above). Display issues may occur in other browsers.

It is also recommended that Compatibility View is not selected in Microsoft Internet Explorer while completing the online survey. To turn off Compatibility View, select Tools from your browser's menu bar and uncheck Compatibility View.

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