Through the contribution of its local branches, the Bank of Italy has conducted sample surveys on firms since 1972.
Prior to 1998 the surveys only covered manufacturing firms with 50 or more employees. In recent years the field of observation has been extended to include, since 1999, mining and quarrying and energy production as well as manufacturing and since 2001 firms with at least 20 employees. In 2002 a similar survey of non-financial private service firms with 20 or more employees was begun.
The results, used for economic analysis and regularly commented upon in the Annual Report, are also published in a specific issue of the 'Statistics' series, starting with the survey on 2003.
Statistical processing of data collected from firms is possible through the remote processing system BIRD.