Trade and Transportation
The connections of agriculture and land use with trade and transportation are likewise two-way. The people engaged in trade and transportation are consumers of the farmers' food; they are in no small part actual members of farm and other rural households. They in turn service the farmers by handling their products and furnishing them with groceries, clothing, fuel, and other household and farm supplies. So far as these interdependencies are concerned, the more farming, the more trade and transportation, and vice versa.
But it is as true of trade and transportation as it is of manufacturing that New England would have much of them even if it had no farming and other rural land uses. Its industries, and its location with respect to the currents of national and world trade, furnish the basis for most of its present volume of goods moving between producer and consumer. Although retail trade tends to be distributed over the nation in proportion to the number of consumers, foreign commerce tends to be more or less concentrated, since it must flow through certain advantageously situated ports. The wholesale function also tends to be centered in particular cities because of natural conditions favoring the flow of trade into certain channels. The distribution of transportation necessarily follows that of trade; a large part of it represents handling of commodities in wholesale and retail markets and local passenger traffic.
New England's share of trade and transportation combined, measured in terms of number of gainfully employed, declined from 8.0 to 6.6 per cent between 1910 and 1940, probably along with its share of manufacturing. As explained in Chapter 5, the nation has been going through a period of rapid expansion in number of persons employed in domestic trade as distinguished from primary production. In the 1910-1940 decades, the nation gained 18 per