US Census Bureau


Guide to the
1997 Economic Census

Retail Trade: 1997 Economic Census Reports
What's New? Geographic Area Series ZIP Code Statistics Subject Series Summary

What's New for 1997?

Retail Trade redefined. NAICS changed everything!

Nonemployer report. Data for establishments with no paid employees are published in the separate Nonemployer Statistics report.

Most other census reports cover only establishments with paid employees.

Variable thresholds for data. Statistics by detailed kind of business in geographic area reports are provided for counties and places with 350 or more retail establishments with paid employees.

The 1982 criterion was 500 or more establishments, including those without paid employees. Under the new criterion, there are data for about the same number of counties and places as in 1982.

No rankings or derived measures. Tables incorporating ratios or rankings based on the published numbers are no longer included since any user can derive that information from databases on the Internet and CD-ROM.

Comparative statistics moved. Statistics from the previous census are no longer shown in Geographic Area Series reports, but are included in the separate Comparative Statistics report.

Measures of Value Produced, Capital Expenditures, Depreciable Assets, and Operating Expenses moved. This subject report is consolidated for several sectors into Business Expenses.

New Summary report. Only one retail trade report will be printed, the Summary, to be issued after all other reports are available in electronic form, and serving as a convenient summary of data from the other reports. This should not be confused with the U.S. Summary in the Geographic Area Series, which includes only national data.

EC97R44A-1 to -52 Geographic Area Series, @ #.

A separate report is issued for the United States, each State, and the District of Columbia. Each report contains statistics for establishments with payroll (see separate Nonemployer Statistics) on the number of establishments, employment, payroll, sales, and two data-quality items, by industry. Each state report presents the basic data items by industry for the state, for each metropolitan area, for each county, and for each place with 2,500 inhabitants or more. The number of kinds of business shown depends on the diversity and size of retailing in each area.

The two data-quality items shown on each data line help the user evaluate the reliability of the data: the percent of sales information obtained from administrative records of other federal agencies (typically income tax records), and the percent of sales information estimated, typically imputed by multiplying payroll as reported for payroll tax purposes by sales-to-payroll ratios reported by the same company in an earlier census, or by industry averages where historical information for the same company is not available. The sum of these two percents reflects two factors: the design effect of not sending census questionnaires to most very small companies, and nonresponse.

The U.S. Summary, EC97R44A-52, provides corresponding data at the national level.

The four key statistics, excluding first-quarter payroll and the data-quality items, are repeated for each industry and area in the Economy-Wide Key Statistics file for convenience in data manipulation across sectors.


This format appears in
Table 1. State
Table 2. Metropolitan Statistical Areas
Table 3. Counties
Table 4. Places

EC97R44Z ZIP Code Statistics Series, @ #

ZIP Code Statistics includes data by retail NAICS codes for each five-digit ZIP Code on number of establishments in various sales-size and employment-size groups (see_____). These establishment counts by size class are not considered to be a disclosure of confidential information, so a data line is present for every kind of business with one or more establishments within a ZIP Code. Also included for each five-digit ZIP Code, for retail trade as a whole (not by kind of business), are statistics on sales, annual payroll, and number of employees.

Subject Series, EC97R44S-1 to -3:

EC97R44S-1 Merchandise Lines Sales # @ reveals what kinds of stores sell which kinds of merchandise and in what quantities. For example, it shows the different kinds of merchandise sold by radio and television stores as well as which other kinds of stores sell radios and televisions--important facts for marketers in related industries. Only national data are available included in viewable (pdf) reports. Internet and CD-ROM databases contain data for States, for MSA's, and for the area within each State outside any MSA.

The illustration for table 1 shows the 41 broad lines presented. In addition, more detailed lines are shown for certain kinds of business in table 1. Table 2 reorganizes the data to feature the kinds of business that carry each broad line.


illustration of table 1, Merchandise Lines by Kind of Business:

1997 illustration of table 2, Broad Merchandise Lines: 1997

EC97R44S-2. Establishment and Firm Size (including Legal Form of Organization) @ # presents data on the number of establishments, sales, payroll, and employment, cross-tabulated by kind of business by size of establishment, by size of firm, and by legal form of organization, for the United States. Establishment data are presented by sales size and employment size; data for firms, by sales size (including concentration by largest firms), by employment size, and by number of establishments operated.
TABLES FROM SUBJECT SERIES, EC97R44S-2, ESTABLISHMENT AND FIRM SIZE illustration of table 1, Sales Size of Establishments illustration of table 3, Single Units and Multiunits illustration of table 6, Concentration by Largest Firms

EC97R44S-3. Miscellaneous Subjects # @ presents specialized data for the Nation as a whole and for States on floor space in general merchandise stores and food stores, and on class of customer for all retailers. (See chart.)

EC97R44??. Summary

After the publication of all area and subject reports for retail trade, a single volume will be published that summarizes the most widely used statistics from all of the previously issued retail trade reports. This summary reports will be the only retail census report actually issued in print.

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