Visualization: Monthly state retail sales

Monthly retail sales by state and major retail sector, in an interactive visualization.

Monthly retail sales by state and major retail sector, in an interactive visualization.

The United States Census Bureau has released a new experimental data product reporting monthly retail sales at the state level for major retail sectors.

The Bureau explains: “We are providing year-over-year percent changes back to January 2019. The state-level data is not adjusted for seasonal variation, trading-day differences, moving holidays or price changes.”

This data does not include non-store retailers: “This publication generates geographic estimates based on the physical business location. With nonstore retailers, geographic performance is less tied to the physical location of the business than their store counterparts. Thus, we felt it would be misleading to try to publish geographic estimates for this industry.”

So there are some limitations, but the data should be useful in seeing how sales respond to the pandemic, and how sales vary among the states.

The Bureau reports on the quality of the data through a variable named coverage. It measures the proportion of data that is directly collected, as opposed to data that is imputed. The grade “A” is best.

To access the interactive visualization, click here.

The page for this program at the Census Bureau is here. It holds an interactive visualization.

For more visualizations, click here.

Example from the visualization. Click for larger
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