The U.S. Census Bureau’s just-released 2012 economic census shows in hard data just how devastating the Great Recession was to dealership sales, employment, and payroll. Conducted every five years, the latest survey covers 2007-2012 and charts the bottoming out of the RV industry and its gradual recovery.

According to an article in RV Executive Today Online, the industry as a whole had recovered about halfway by 2012, but dealers were still feeling the effects–the number of dealership locations was down ( 3,100 in 2007 versus 2,619 in 2012), as were the number of dealership employees (42,669 in 2007 versus 31,992 in 2012).

The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) will release more census data in the coming months, and provide an in-depth analysis accompanied by charts in the October issue of RV Executive Today.

The Census Bureau is required by law to take the census every five years. Nearly four million companies representing all regions and industries provided data for the latest.