Can the Census Bureau estimate the effect of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Advance Monthly Retail Trade and Food Services Survey sales estimates?
No. We cannot isolate the effect of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Advance Monthly Retail Trade and Food Services Survey (MARTS) estimates since the sample is designed to measure retail and food services activity at the national level and not at specific geographic areas. However, the 2002 Economic Census does measure sales at the areas affected by the hurricane.
See the published Geographic Area Series of the 2002 Economic Census for more information.
Even though we cannot isolate the effect, we did receive indications from the companies that the hurricanes had both positive and negative effects on the retail sales data. Some firms reported a drop in sales due to permanent or temporary store closures and stores having reduced business due to damage, fewer customers, and/ or lack of employees. On the other hand, some firms reported sales increases due to significant sales of supplies for the affected areas and evacuees purchasing retail and food services in different geographic locales.
The areas most affected by the hurricanes ordinarily account for a minimal percentage of total U.S. retail and food services sales based on the 2002 Economic Census. See the 2002 Economic Census Geographic Area Series Areas Affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita for additional data.
For more information, visit the Monthly and Annual Retail Trade website.