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United States Business and Jobs: Structure and Changes by Sector and County, 1976-1988 (ICPSR 4471)

Principal Investigator(s):


The purpose of this study was to provide a description of both the current status and the changes in businesses and jobs in all United States counties, by 75 two-digit industry sectors. The study was designed to inquire to what extent new firm formation and small firm expansion reflect or cause economic growth. The data, originally assembled by Dun and Bradstreet, was edited and processed to adjust for errors and omissions to create a complete census of all business firms (single-site and multiple-site) and associated employment in six two-year periods: 1976-1978, 1978-1980, 1980-1982, 1982-1984, 1984-1986, and 1986-1988. The datasets contain detailed data for the years 1976-1988 on establishment births (new units entering the file), establishment deaths (existing units disappearing), expansion and contraction of all private-sector business establishments, and on the number of business jobs affected by these changes. Each record consists of a number of variables that (1) identify the county and industry, (2) describe the firms and jobs at the beginning of the two-year period, (3) provide descriptions at the end of the two-year period, and (4) that provide data on sources of changes during the two-year period. As the data are designed to be a complete census of all business units and all jobs, it can be aggregated to provide complete counts for any industry, region, or state or for the entire country.

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WARNING: This study is over 150MB in size and may take several minutes to download on a typical internet connection.

DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  1976-1978 Dataset - Download All Files (224.3 MB) large dataset
DS2:  1978-1980 Dataset - Download All Files (224.3 MB) large dataset
DS3:  1980-1982 Dataset - Download All Files (222.6 MB) large dataset
DS4:  1982-1984 Dataset - Download All Files (229.4 MB) large dataset
DS5:  1984-1986 Dataset - Download All Files (235.9 MB) large dataset
DS6:  1986-1988 Dataset - Download All Files (240.4 MB) large dataset

Study Description


Reynolds, Paul D., and Wilbur Maki. United States Business and Jobs: Structure and Changes by Sector and County, 1976-1988. ICPSR04471-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-09-27. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04471.v1

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Small Business Administration. Office of Advocacy

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   business conditions, business cycles, businesses, companies, economic conditions, employment practices, job loss, job opportunities, small businesses

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1976--1988

Date of Collection:  

  • 1989-02--1990-12

Unit of Observation:   industry by county

Universe:   All United States commercial establishments.

Data Types:   administrative records data

Data Collection Notes:

The datasets are structured with the county-industry cell as the unit of analysis, so if each of 75 industry sectors were represented in each of 3,124 counties, there would be a total of 234,300 records in each two-year pair. There is, however, no industry that is present in every county, and some are only present in a very few counties. As a result, the number of cases is less than maximum in each of the six files.


Sample:   No sampling was done, since a complete census was used.

Mode of Data Collection:   self-enumerated questionnaires

Data Source:

Data were extracted from records in the Duns Market Identifier (DMI) files maintained by the Dun and Bradstreet Corporation.


Original ICPSR Release:  

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