I'm analysing employment by U.S. CBSA in the period 2001-2014, based on U.S. Census CBP data. I'd like to obtain aggregate employment in the U.S. (50 states+DC) based on CBPs. Since CBSA data is partial, I can't get country-level aggregates by just summing CBSA data. (I could get it by aggregating county-level data but that's a lot of work.) Is there a source for U.S.-level CBP-based employment year by year? (It may be somewhere on the U.S. Census website, but I can't find it.)

EDIT 1: Based on this answer, I found this U.S. Census website page, where the link "Economy-Wide Key Statistics (Number of Establishments, Annual Payroll, Number of Employees, ...)" leads to an empty American Fact Finder table.

EDIT 2: Another link "County Business Patterns (Number of Establishments, Annual Payroll, Number of Employees, ...)" on the same page leads to an American Fact Finder table with total employment for a single year at a time from 2005 to 2014. So you need to manually click and copy-paste 15 times. But I'm still missing the same for years 2001-2004.

  • I ended up aggregating county-level data for the period 2001-2004, but I'm still interested in directly sourcing U.S. census-made aggregates.
    – syre
    Mar 17, 2017 at 6:06

2 Answers 2


Factfinder is notoriously bad at permalinking, which includes the link you shared in EDIT 2. You should always choose the "bookmark/save" button on a data page in FactFinder. I think maybe this is what you meant to link to? https://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/BP/2015/00A1/0100000US

On the Census website, I found this CBP Data Tables page which says data for all US is available back to 1998. Links from there seem mostly to go to PDF reports. There's another page, CBP Datasets, which links to structured data downloads going back to 1986. I didn't spend the time to understand the data enough to understand what's missing between 1986-1997 that keeps you from using all-US data, but maybe there isn't 100% county coverage? From the "Data Tables" page, there are links to PDFs as far back as this one from 1993 which appears to have top-line numbers for the US, so it seems like you could get it earlier than 1998.

For all that the Census Bureau have been stalwart publishers of data for the public for a long time, and deserve a lot of credit for that, things have changed a lot even since 2005, so it's understandable that it may not be in the ideal format.

  • Thanks for your input. Yes you can get country-level employment by summing county-level employment from CBP datasets, but it's work... By the way, the discrepancy between US Bureau of Labor employment and CBP employment is due to CBP data not counting (most) government employment. My link still works for me but I've gone ahead and replaced it with yours.
    – syre
    May 31, 2017 at 1:14

U.S. total CBP-based employment is available from https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/cbp/data/datasets.html. Click through each year (since 1986) and you will find a "Complete U.S. File" link to a simple text file. It contains total US employment for that year in the "EMP" column, 2nd row.

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