To provide detailed industry measures of sales inventories, operational expenses and purchases for wholesale trade activities. The United States Code, Title 13, authorizes this survey and provides for mandatory responses.
Companies with employment that are primarily engaged in merchant wholesale trade in the U.S. These include merchant wholesalers that take title of the goods they sell, jobbers, industrial distributors, exporters, and importers. Also included are non-merchant wholesalers such as manufacturer sales branches and offices; agents, merchandise or commodity brokers, and commission merchants. Excluded are businesses whose primary activity is other than wholesale trade.
Companies provide data on dollar value of annual sales, end-of-year inventories and methods of inventory valuation, purchases and/or operating expenses.
Annually since 1978; collected data are for activity taking place throughout the calendar year. New samples are chosen approximately every 5 years and are updated quarterly. Use of the latest sample began in the 1999 survey year.
A mail-out/mail-back survey of about 9,000 wholesale businesses. The sample is drawn from the Business Register, which contains all Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) and listed establishment locations.
Firms are first stratified by major kind of business and estimated sales. All firms with sales above applicable size cutoffs are selected into the survey and report for all their wholesale industry EINs. In a second stage, unselected EINs are stratified by major kinds of business and sales, and randomly selected from each strata.
The sample is updated quarterly to reflect employer business "births" and "deaths"; adding new employer businesses identified in the Business and Professional Classification Survey and deleting firms and EINs when it is determined they are no longer active. There is about a 9 month delay before new firms can be represented in the sample. To account for births during this interim period, data are imputed for all EINs that go out of business but are still active on the IRS mailing list.
The Annual Benchmark Report for Wholesale Trade is released annually each spring. This report contains estimated annual sales, monthly and year-end inventories, inventory/sales ratios, purchases, gross margins, and gross margin/sales ratios by kind of business for merchant wholesalers including manufacturer's sales branches and offices. Annual estimates are benchmarked to the most recent census of wholesale trade. Monthly sales and inventories estimates are then benchmarked to the annual estimates. Monthly estimates, both seasonally adjusted and unadjusted, are also presented.
The Annual Wholesale Trade Report also has a new section which includes manufacturer's sales branches and offices. This report contains estimated annual sales, year-end inventories, operating expense, and operating expense/sales ratios by kind of business for manufacturer's sales branches and offices.
The Annual Wholesale Trade Report will include Agents and Brokers beginning with ATS 2005.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis uses the estimates as an input to estimate sales and inventories for the Gross Domestic Product. The Council of Economic Advisers uses the estimates for assessing near term economic activity. The Department of the Treasury uses the estimates to research economic trends. The Census Bureau uses the data to benchmark results from the monthly wholesale trade survey.
Individual businesses use the estimates to gauge their sales to the overall industry. National associations use the estimates as a leading indicator in forecasting future demand. They also use the annual estimates to benchmark their own sampling operations.
Provides the only source of current purchases and gross margin data for merchant wholesalers.