The Virgin Islands Bureau of Economic Research (BER) has been ordered by Gov. Kenneth Mapp to partner with the United States Census Bureau to conduct the 2017 Economic Census of Island Areas. In order to assist with nonresponse follow-up activities, Bernadette Melendez, BER director, and Donnie Dorsett, senior policy analyst, as well as other BER staff members took an oath of confidentiality to gain special sworn status on Thursday., according to a press release from the Office of the Governor.
Also present were Bill Samples, Economic Census assistant survey director, and Robert Nusz, Economic Census assistant survey director staff chief, who said the Census Bureau is thankful for the partnership with the Virgin Islands and recognizes the work that the BER is doing to improve the response rate, especially because of the impact of last year’s hurricanes.
Every five years, the Census Bureau measures the pulse of the United States and its territories’ economies through the economic census. Director Melendez underscored the importance of economic census data for guiding the territory’s economic growth and policymaking, and informing the business decisions of local entrepreneurs.
“Reporting provides more accurate information for policymakers and others to continue to enrich our economy,” Melendez said.
Employer businesses are required by law to complete surveys. The deadline was June 12, but business owners are still encouraged to respond.
“We want to emphasize to businesses that all the data is kept confidential. The information provided is private and secured,” said Samples.