Census of Retail Trade:  Comparative 1992 and 1997 Alabama Retail Trade

Census of Retail Trade:  Comparative 1992 and 1997 Alabama Retail Trade

  • August 7th, 2019

Census of Retail Trade:
Comparative 1992 and 1997 Alabama Retail Trade

Comparing SIC-based results of the 1992 and the 1997 Census of Retail Trade from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the strength of Alabama’s retail sector.  During these five years, Alabama outpaced the nation in overall growth of retail establishments, employees, and sales.  According to survey results, Alabama’s landscape was dotted by 25,586 retail businesses in 1997, an increase of over 1,500 since 1992.  The state’s 6.3 percent gain in the number of establishments compares to a U.S. gain of 2.3 percent.  Retail employment in Alabama grew to 342,835 in 1997.  The addition of over 73,000 retail workers between 1992 and 1997 marked a 27.1 percent increase, well above the 15 percent national average increase.  Alabama retail sales rose 35.6 percent during this period, slightly above the U.S. gain of 34.4 percent.

Across Alabama, the number of businesses selling new and/or used cars rose to 1,106 in 1997, a 25 percent increase over the 885 car dealers in the state in 1992.  The number of eating and drinking establishments jumped by 812 to 6,140, a 15.2 percent gain, while the number of businesses selling furniture, furnishings, and consumer electronics and appliances rose to 2,043, an 11.9 percent increase.  Slight declines were reported in the number of food stores, drug stores, and apparel stores.

Many new Alabama retail employees hired between 1992 and 1997 found themselves working at eating and drinking places, where the number of full- and part-time employees increased by 32,049; or at general merchandise stores, which added 14,203 workers.  Sales gains for the period 1992 to 1997 were strongest in the lumber and hardware and automotive sectors, topping 50 percent.

Data from the 1997 economic censuses were the first based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) rather than the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC).  To permit comparison with the 1992 economic census, the Census Bureau has released summary state and national statistics for 1997 recalculated using SIC categories.  These comparative statistics for all industry categories can be found at on the Internet at www.census.gov/epcd/ec97sic.  The Census Bureau’s economic censuses are based on a survey of firms in each industry.  Thus, these retail data may differ from retail sales data tabulated by CBER.

Carolyn Trent