First Look At The 2012 Economic Census

April 02, 2014

Economic census statistics will be released over a two-year period, through June 2016, and the first data is just hitting the streets.

Every five years the Bureau of the Census conducts an Economic Census. It provides a comprehensive and detailed profile of the U.S. economy, covering millions of businesses representing more than 1,000 industries and providing unique portraits of American industries and local communities. Economic census statistics will be released over a two-year period, through June 2016, and the first data is just hitting the streets. The Food Institute has started to delve into the numbers for which there is a something for everyone. 

In the Apr. 7 Food institute Report, you will see that In the food manufacturing sector, there were 25,621 establishments operating in 2012 – almost unchanged from five years earlier. Nonetheless, the similar number of plants garnered nearly 27% more revenue, which totaled $747.6 billion. And they did that with 4% fewer employees – 1.4 million of them – whose average pay increased 12.9% in the five year period to $38,837 annually.

The number of  beverage and tobacco manufacturing plants, meanwhile jumped by 32%, to 5,084. When the more detailed data is available next year, we will see exactly where that growth has come from. Those tobacco and beverage plants, however, saw revenues rise by 8% and the average per facility dropped by 18% to $27.4 million.  This is of course an indication that many of the newer plants are significantly smaller than five years earlier, possibly due to the continuing surge of new products, many of which are from specialty or local manufacturers.

The tally of all food and beverage retailers in 2012 declined by 230 from five years earlier to 145,854. Considering the amount of consolidation in the industry and the rise in large mass market retailers, such as Wal Mart, into the food retail space, this is not surprising. Sales at these retail outlets rose about 15% meanwhile, with an average per store of $4.3 million annually – about a 3% increase year over year – just slightly higher than the food-at-home inflation rate when averaged for the same period. Certainly not stellar growth.

Those stores employed 1% more employees than five year earlier -2.9 million in all – with an average salary of $21,154 – 9% more than in 2007. The total payroll was $60.4 billion – 11% more than five years earlier.

The number of health and personal care stores, including drug stores, increased by 4% to 92,304 between 2007 and 2012, with sales of $275 billion. This brings the average to just under $3.0 million per store, rising 18% from 2007. And as with food retailers, the number of employees dropped over the five year period, by 5% to 1.01 million. Their average pay, however, increased 18% to $31,700.

There were 598,866 foodservice and drinking places operating in 2012 – 4% more than five years earlier. They rang up $514.2 billion in sales, up 19% -- just under 4% year over year. That put the average per unit at $861,490 annually, up 13.6%. And they employed over 10 million people, 4.6% more than five years earlier, with each earning an average of $14,538 annually – up 12.5% from 2007.



  • 25,611 Plants
  • $747.6 Billion In Sales
  • $29.2 Million Per Plant
  • 1.4 Million Employees
  • $38,837 Average Pay 


  • 5,048 Plants
  • $138 Billion In Sales
  • $27.4 Million Per Plant
  • 148,270 Million Employees
  • $51,089 Average Pay  


  • 148,854 Stores
  • $619.8 Billion In Sales
  • $4.25 Million Per Store
  • 2.86 Million Employees
  • $21,154 verage Pay 


  • 92,304 Stores
  • $275.2 Billion In Sales
  • $2.98 Million Per Store
  • 1.0 Million Employees
  • $31,300 Average Pay 


  • 596.866 Locations
  • $514.2 Billion In Sales
  • $861,490 Per Location
  • 10.1 Million Employees
  • $14,538 Average Pay