Last week we released our 2012 Wholesale Distribution Economic Factbook. This comprehensive report on the U.S. wholesale distribution industry provides detailed 2011 and 2012 economic data for 19 wholesale distribution sectors. Overall, the news was good: The strong rebound of 2010 continued in 2011, though at a slightly slower pace.
Here are a few highlights:
Once again, the wholesale distribution industry grew faster than the overall U.S. economy in 2011. Aggregate revenues of wholesaler-distributors increased by 9.3 percentage points more than nominal U.S. GDP. Industrial distributors experienced the largest real rate of growth, increasing 15.3 percent in 2011, after adjusting for the effects of price changes.
For the combined 19 sectors of wholesale distribution that we track, 2012 marked the second year of double-digit revenue growth as the industry continued to recover from 2009. Industry revenues in 2011 totaled $4.7 trillion, an increase over 2010 of 13.2 percent, compared with the previous year-over-year increase in 2010 of 12.8 percent.We forecast that industry revenues will increase by 6.8 percent in 2012.
Employment in the industry increased, though probably at a slower pace than many of us would like to see. Fourth-quarter 2011 employment in the industry increased by 64,800 jobs (1.4%). The wholesale distribution industry now employs more than 4.7 million people – more than one out of 25 private-sector U.S. nonfarm workers.
Productivity in wholesale distribution grew in 2011 with average annual revenues per employee at $996,600, up 12 percent from the previous year. This indicator often reflects in part an increasing use of technology to streamline workflow, as well as process change.
Only six sectors recorded year-over-year job losses in the fourth quarter, with the largest percentage declines in Office Product Wholesalers and Paper Merchants (-2.6%) and Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (-1.9%).
In addition to full sector reports, the 2012 Wholesale Distribution Economic Factbook supplies benchmarking data for each of the 112 sub-sectors in the wholesale distribution industry, including revenue and employment growth trends, the number and size distribution of companies, gross margins, wages and other operating statistics – information you can use to help plan for the coming year. Order the 2012 Wholesale Distribution Economic Factbook, or one of the 18 individual sector reports, at www.mdm.com/wder. Or call us at 888-742-5060. Use promo code premium20 for 20% off your report.