Monthly & Annual Wholesale Trade

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What is a sample revision and why is it necessary?

A sample revision is the process used to re-design and re-select the samples for many of the Census Bureau's surveys of the retail, wholesale, and services industries. This process is performed to:

  • improve the efficiency of each sample
  • incorporate updates to the industry classification structure
  • expand industry coverage of the survey
  • update questions and instructions to obtain more accurate data
  • redistribute burden for small and medium size businesses

The current Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey sample was introduced with the release of estimates for September 2006 on November 21, 2006.

How often is a sample revision performed for the Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey?

Sample revisions are performed approximately every 5 to 7 years. During the period for which the samples are used, updates are made on a quarterly basis to reflect changes in the business universe. These updates are designed to account for new businesses (births) and businesses which discontinue operations (deaths). The samples are also updated to reflect mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, splits, and other changes to the business universe.

When will estimates from the new Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey be released?

Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey estimates will be based on the new sample effective with our annual revision release in May 2013.

What is the size of the Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey sample?

The size of the current (BSR-12) Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey sample is approximately 4,200 employer firms. The size of the prior (BSR-06) Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey sample is approximately 4,500 employer firms.

Are the estimates from different Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey samples comparable?

In most cases, yes. Whenever possible, estimates from different samples have been put on a comparable basis. For a detailed description of the process used to link the estimates from different samples and for specific information on which industry estimates are not comparable, please refer to

What is the impact on the estimates in moving to a 2007 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) basis?

There was no change to the Wholesale sector NAICS definitions between 2002 and 2007, so there is no impact on the estimates. For more information on NAICS, please see


Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Service Sector Statistics Division |   Last Revised: September 10, 2015