Can the Census Bureau estimate the effect of Hurricane Katrina on the Monthly Retail Trade Survey sales and inventories estimates?
No. We cannot isolate the effect of Hurricane Katrina on the August and September 2005 retail sales and inventories as the Monthly Retail Trade and Food Services Survey (MRTS) measures retail activity on a national level and not at specific geographic areas.
The areas affected by the hurricane ordinarily account for a minimal percentage of total U.S. retail activity based on the 2002 Economic Census. Furthermore, the effect of Hurricane Katrina on retail activity at the national level for August would be much less since Hurricane Katrina only impacted the last few days of August.
See the Census Bureau fact sheet on Gulf Coast Areas Affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: Business, Government, and International Trade for data from the 2002 Economic Census for the areas affected by the Hurricane Katrina.
For more information, visit the Monthly and Annual Retail Trade website.