New and used car dealerships are a fiercely competitive, cyclically sensitive segment of retail trade, but they show diverging trends in their number and in employment. From 32,000 in 1972, the number of automotive dealerships dropped to about 26,000 in 1996. In contrast, employment has grown from below 800,000 to over 1 million in the same period. As a result, the average dealership today is bigger, has more employees, and sells more cars. And as employment has increased, the occupational mix has changed, too.