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Every five years, the Economic Census measures the Nation's economic activity and helps pinpoint trends in economic growth. Industry Trends includes highlights from the last Economic Census to illustrate the variety of census statistics. None of these figures are adjusted for price level. For reference, the consumer price index rose 23.5 percent between 1987 and 1992.

Retail Trade

For more information, contact Faye Dorsett, (301) 457-2687

Are you eating out more? If so, you are following a national trend. Sales by eating places increased by more than 32 percent between 1987 and 1992, while sales by food stores increased 22 percent.

Any club that would have me for a member... Warehouse clubs had the largest percent increase in sales of all the retail trade categories, increasing by 221 percent. Sales increased from $9.6 billion in 1987 to $30.7 billion in 1992. The number of establishments more than doubled, from 281 to 616, while the number of employees nearly tripled.

What do people order from catalog and mail order houses? The big winner is clothing--women's, juniors', and misses' wear, men's wear, and children's wear account for over 22 percent of catalog and mail order house sales. That amounts to $7.8 trillion of the $34.6 trillion sold by catalog and mail order houses.

Feed the kitty. Sales of pet stores nearly doubles between 1987 and 1992, from $1.3 billion to $2.6 billion. Grocery stores sell more pet food and supplies than any other type of store, but they have been losing share to other types of stores. General merchandise stores are the other major seller of pet supplies, especially national chain discount stores.

Wholesale Trade

For more information, contact John Trimble, (301) 457-2725

In 1992, wholesalers sold $3.2 trillion in goods. Wholesalers are businesses that primarily sell merchandise to business or government, but not to the public. Most are merchant wholesalers, who buy goods and resell them to other businesses, and account for 57 percent of wholesale sales. Manufacturers' sales branches made up another 32 percent of wholesale sales, and businesses that act as agents and brokers for other businesses accounted to 11 percent of wholesale activity.


For more information, contact Pat Horning, (301) 457-4680

Water, water, anywhere? Water well drilling showed one of the largest percentage increases in value of construction work in the 1992 Economic Census. The value of construction work increased 30 percent, from $1.3 billion in 1987 to $1.7 billion in 1992. What are the wells being drilled for? Single family housing accounts for 34 percent, while 49 percent of the wells being drilled are for water mains and related facilities.

Service Industries

For more information, contact Jack Moody, (301) 457-2689

What is the fastest growing service industry? Receipts of the prepackaged computer software industry grew by 253 percent between 1987 and 1992, reaching 20.8 billion. The number of establishments and employees both more than doubled.

Who signs your paycheck? Increasingly, the answer is a help supply service. The number of help supply businesses increased 54 percent from 1987 to 19,020 in 1992. The number of employees increased by 46 percent, from 1.3 million employees in 1987 to 1.8 million in 1992. Receipts of help supply firms increased by 109 percent, to $33.6 billion in 1992.

FORE! Revenues at public golf courses increased 110 percent from 1987 to 1992, from $1.1 billion to $2.3 billion. The number of public golf courses available for play increased from 2,736 in 1987 to 3,780 in 1992.

Booming childcare. In the fifteen years between 1977 and 1992, the number of incorporated child care centers doubled, to 51,297, and the number of jobs at these centers climbed 150 percent, to 468,000. About two out of three centers are for-profit, subject to Federal income taxes.

Mineral Industries

For more information, contact Pat Horning, (301) 457-4680

Mining is specialized. Energy-producing industries (petroleum, gas, and coal industries) accounted for 86 percent of the value of shipments and receipts of all mineral industries in 1992, down slightly from 88 percent in 1987.

Gold mining still captures the imagination--value of shipments in 1992 for this industry increased 109 percent from 1987, while the value of shipments from silver mining decreased 41 percent from 1987.


For information contact
Kenneth Hansen, (301)457-4755
Michael Zampogna, (301) 457-4810

The ups and downs of manufacturing. Between 1987 and 1992, about half of the states gained jobs in the manufacturing sector, and half lost manufacturing jobs. Texas gained the most jobs (39,000), followed by Wisconsin and Alabama (32,000 each). Over 18 million people were employed in the manufacturing industry in 1992, 3.9 percent below the 19 million employed in 1987.

The big three. Three major groups--chemicals, transportation equipment, and food products--accounted for 36 percent of the value of manufacturing shipments in 1992. The total for U.S. manufactures was over $3 trillion.

Transportation, Communications, and Utilities

For more information, contact Jim Poyer, (301) 457-2786

Lots of parcels. There were 12.553 establishments primarily engaged in freight shipping services in 1992, and charges paid by their customers totaled $38.1 billion. Half of this total went for purchased transportation. Transportation purchases were split across a wide variety of modes --23.2 percent by air, 25.8 percent by motor carrier, 18.3 percent by rail, and 25.2 percent by water carrier.

I want my Cable TV! There were 4,468 cable TV establishments in 1992, with revenues totaling $27.5 billion. About half of this total ($14.6 billion) came from subscription fees for basic service, and another $6.1 billion from premium and pay-per-view services. Only in New York State did revenues from premium services exceed basic service fees.

Be careful with that! America's sanitary services handle a lot more than just curbside collections. Revenues for the industry's 5,064 establishments totaled $15.2 billion in 1992. Hazardous waste collection and disposal yielded $4.4 billion of this in 1992. Landfill operations (incinerators and disposal sites) had the greatest share of revenues (40 percent), and collection of trash, at $3.0 billion, amounted to just one fifth of the industry total.

Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate

For more information, contact Laurie Torene, (301) 457-2824

A passion for independence. The great majority of insurance agents and brokers are operated out of an establishment without paid employees.

Nonemployer businesses accounted for 73 percent of insurance agents and brokers. Employer firms have more economic impact; accounting for 85 percent of ireceipt in this industry. Real estate operators and agents show a similar pattern.

What's it cost to run an insurance company? Plenty. Life insurers in 1992 spend $47.7 billion on administrative expenses (compared to $378.4 billion in revenues). That's one out of every eight dollars of revenues. By comparison, insurers paid out $164 billion on benefits to policyholders.

Women-Owned Businesses -Minority-Owned Businesses

For information contact Eddie Salyers, (301) 763-7234

Minority businesses are highly concentrated. Three states -- California, Texas, and Florida--accounted for 49 percent of the total number of minority-owned firms in 1992. Hawaii had the highest percentage of firms owned by minorities at 52 percent and the District of Columbia ranked second with 36 percent of all firms.

Fast-growing minority businesses. The number of businesses owned by minorities in the United States increased 60 percent from 1,343,910 to 2,149,184 between 1987 and 1992. This compares to an increase of 26 percent for all U.S. firms, from 13.7 million in 1987 to 17.3 million in 1992. Receipts for these minority-owned businesses increased by 128 percent during this five-year span, from $92.1 to $210.0 billion. In comparison, receipts for all U.S. firms grew 67 percent from $2.0 to $3.3 trillion.