America isn't a service economy, yet. In the Census Bureau's 1997 Economic Census, manufacturing still ranks as the nation's largest employer, with 17 million paid workers. Retail trade is next, with 14.1 million employees, and health care and social assistance ranks third, with 13.6 million.
In fact, manufacturing is more than twice as large as the retail trade sector in terms of annual payroll, $574 billion vs. $239 billion. Manufacturing ranks second to wholesale trade, however, when comparing sales, receipts or shipments, $3.9 trillion vs. $4.1 trillion.
The top five manufacturing subsectors by shipment value are: transportation equipment ($578 billion), computers/electronic products ($431 billion), food ($425 billion), chemicals ($418 billion) and machinery ($272 billion).
The top five retail subsectors by sales are motor vehicles/parts dealers ($648 billion), food/beverage stores ($401 billion), general merchandise stores ($330 billion), building material/garden equipment stores ($230 billion) and gas stations ($198 billion).
The complete report is available from the Census Bureau at www.census.gov /epcd/www/econ97.html