Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita for the
Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories, and Orders (M3)
Can the Census Bureau estimate the effect of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the shipments,
inventories, and orders estimates?
No. We cannot quantify the effect of the hurricanes on the M3 survey estimates for October 2005 since the survey
measures manufacturing activity on a national level and not at specific geographic areas. The areas most affected by
the hurricanes ordinarily account for a minimal percentage of total U.S. manufacturing based on the 2002 Economic
Census. See http://www.census.gov/econ/census02/guide/Hurricanes.HTM for the 2002 data.
Even though we cannot quantify the effect of the hurricanes, we did receive indications from some companies that
the hurricanes did have a negative effect on their manufacturing activity, especially in the petroleum industry and in
petrochemical products. The slight decline in petroleum appears to be due to the decreases in gasoline more so than
any temporary closures. We will continue to closely monitor these industries.
Can the M3 survey produce estimates for the affected areas?
No. The M3 survey is designed to estimate data for the national level only.
Was the Census Bureau able to collect information from firms operating within the affected areas?
Yes. We found that there was minimal impact in collecting data from companies within the affected areas. In
Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, 66% of the single-unit respondents in the affected areas reported. Over the
previous six months, we received between 77% and 83% of the reports from these states. In Texas, we received data
from 67% of the single-unit respondents. This compares to a usual range of between 74% and 80%. We feel this
has more to do with holiday closures than a hurricane effect. Furthermore, many large, regional and other multi-
location firms with reporting offices outside the affected states responded