I know what you’re saying: “Bill, I’m not busy enough. Could you give me something else to do?”

Your wish is my command.

Starting in November, more than 4 million American businesses — including 76,000 businesses in Maryland — will receive their 2012 Economic Census forms, and yes, you’re required by law to respond.

Conducted every five years, the Economic Census compiles data to build “a comprehensive portrait of American business, from the national to the local level.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, businesses can use the data to bolster the decisions they make and plan for future growth. Lawmakers and government agencies use the information to form public policy, and business associations and related groups use the data to support economic development and other key business decisions.

In other words, the government thinks it’s pretty important.

Me? Given the current state of our economy (bad) and the recent focus on the transparency and comparability of government data, I’m thinking the timing of this year’s Economic Census is coincidentally perfect.

Anyway, you don’t have much choice in the matter. Your participation is mandatory, and you have until Feb. 12, 2013, to respond.

For details, visit the U.S. Census Bureau’s Economic Census website.

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