U.S. Department of Commerce


Skip top of page navigation
Bookmark and Share

Release Information


Contact:  Tom Edwards
Public Information Office
(301) 763-3030 (phone)
(301) 763-3762 (fax)
(301) 457-1037 (TDD)

Subscribe for Updates


Commodity Flow Survey Shows U.S. Businesses Ship Nearly $12 Trillion in Goods in 2007

     U.S. businesses in mining, manufacturing, wholesale, and selected retail trade and service industries shipped approximately $11.8 trillion of commodities weighing 13 billion tons in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

     These estimates come from the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey (CFS), which tracks the movement of goods in the United States, providing summary statistics on the transportation of freight, featuring characteristics such as value, tons and average miles per shipment by mode of transportation, commodity shipped and by the industry. The survey coverage excludes farms, forestry, fisheries, governments, construction, transportation, foreign establishments, and most services and retail establishments.

     "Transportation carriers use these data to better understand their markets and more efficiently serve shippers," said John Fowler, chief of the Census Bureau's Commodity Flow Branch. "Manufacturers use the information to locate plants and identify trends in transportation of their product."

     Key findings include:

  • Trucks were used to haul 70.7 percent of the total value of the commodities shipped in 2007, representing $8.4 trillion and 9 billion tons.
  • More than half of all tonnage traveled less than 50 miles.
  • More than $1.5 trillion worth of shipments were sent by parcel delivery (including the U.S. Post Office and courier services).
  • Manufacturing establishments shipped more than 5.3 billion tons of commodities worth approximately $5.4 trillion.
  • Wholesale establishments accounted for an estimated $4.8 trillion of goods shipped and approximately 3.9 billion tons of commodities.

     The CFS provides the only comprehensive and consistent statistics of commodity flows with product detail. The survey consists of a sample of 100,000 establishments chosen based on geographic location and industry. Initiated in 1993, the survey is conducted every five years for years ending in "2" and "7."

     Complete data from the 2002 Commodity Flow Survey, and the advance data files from the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey data areavailable on the Census Bureau's American FactFinder site at <www.census.gov>. This online system allows data users to access, filter, manipulate and extract the data.

     The 2007 CFS is part of the 2007 Economic Census and is conducted through a partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau and the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation.

     The estimates in the advance data files are subject to revision. Final estimates at the national, state and selected substate areas will be released in late 2009.

Estimates from the 2007 CFS are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. Sources of nonsampling error include errors of response, nonreporting and coverage. Measures of sampling variability are included with the estimates, and a description of these errors is available in the Methodology text on American FactFinder.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: February 10, 2014