The U.S. Census Bureau recently launched a new web site designed to help spread the word about the Economic Census, the “official five-year measure of American business.”

A terrific resource for industry-specific data, the web site spotlights meaningful facts and figures that can help shed light on business and economic development trends.

In the past, businesses voiced a lack of understanding as to why it was important to complete Census forms and surveys. Where was the data going … how would it be used … would anyone pay attention? One visit to this web site makes it all clear.

The Economic Census web site is an opportunity for us to communicate in a way that businesses will be able to appreciate, says Robert Marske, of the U.S. Census Bureau. “We see this endeavor as a vehicle through which to advance an ongoing dialogue with businesses. The web site will continue to provide testimony to the value of this data.”

Visitors to the site will quickly recognize that the information is anything but boiler plate. “We’ve had to apply intelligence to the raw data in order to make it meaningful for each of the industry snapshots,” says Marske.

Each industry profile includes information derived from the most recent Economic Census, which reflects 2002 data. Each industry snapshot includes a variety of information, from average business size by number of employees to total sales, annual payroll, state-by-state breakdown of receipts per capita, and more.

One favorite feature is a “Did You Know” factoid for each industry … for example, “Dentists in Connecticut have the highest receipts per capita of any state,” and “One in five landscaping businesses operates a snow plow.”

For those looking for state or local industry-specific data, a tab on the site’s home page allows visitors to select a state or metro area to view information pertaining to a given area.

The site also promotes the upcoming 2007 Economic Census, to be distributed in December and due in February 2008.