Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, County Business Patterns. Updated annually. http://www.census.gov/epcd/cbp/view/cbpview.html
An establishment is a single physical location at which business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed. It is not necessarily identical with a company or enterprise, which may consist of one establishment or more. All activities carried on at a location generally are grouped together and classified on the basis of the major reported activity, and all data for the establishment are included in that classification. Establishments with paid employees include all locations with paid employees any time during the year. (A separate data item, Nonemployer establishments, provides the number of establishments without paid employees, mostly self-employed individuals.)
Paid employment consists of full- and part-time employees, including salaried officers and executives of corporations, who are on the payroll in the pay period including March 12. Included are employees on paid sick leave, holidays, and vacations; not included are proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses.
Payroll includes all forms of compensation, such as salaries, wages, reported tips, commissions, bonuses, vacation allowances, sick-leave pay, employee contributions to qualified pension plans, and the value of taxable fringe benefits. For corporations, it includes amounts paid to officers and executives; for unincorporated businesses, it does not include profit or other compensation of proprietors or partners. Payroll is reported before deductions for Social Security, income tax, insurance, union dues, etc.
Scope and Methodology:
Figures for private nonfarm establishments with paid employees are published in County Business Patterns (CBP), an annual report series. Basic data items are extracted from the Business Register, a file of all known single and multiestablishment companies maintained and updated by the Bureau of the Census from various Census Bureau programs, such as the 5-year Economic Census, the annual Company Organization Survey, the Annual Survey of Manufactures, and Current Business Surveys, as well as from administrative records of the Internal Revenue Service, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Social Security Administration.
These data exclude governmental establishments except for wholesale liquor establishments (NAICS 4228), retail liquor stores (NAICS 44531), Federally-chartered savings institutions (NAICS 522120), Federally-chartered credit unions (NAICS 522130), and hospitals (NAICS 622).
The sum of all counties may be less than state totals, because address information for some establishments was not sufficient to assign them to a specific county. Those employers without a fixed location within a state are included in a "statewide" category, accessible through the CBP site.