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Industry Research Guide

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Government Sources of Industry Information

The U.S. government produces an abundant amount of industry information. Agencies such as the U.S. Census Bureau (the largest single U.S. government agency producing business data), the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Communications Commission, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Environmental Protection Agency, and more, all produce industry data that may be useful in your research.

The Economic Census is conducted every five years and is a detailed representation of the U.S. economy, both on the national and state level. It includes statistics for retail & wholesale trade, service & construction industries, manufactures, mineral industries, transportation, communications, utilities, and financial, insurance and real estate industries.

U.S. Census Bureau Reports

  • 2007 Economic Census
    The economic census provides a detailed portrait of the United States’ economy once every five years, from the national to the local level. The 2007 Economic Census covers most of the U.S. economy in its basic collection of establishment statistics. There also are several related programs, including statistics on minority- and women-owned businesses. Censuses of agriculture and governments are conducted at the same time. Results from the 2007 Economic Census are being issued on American FactFinder, starting in early 2009 and continuing through late 2011.
    >>See Maag Library’s Economic Census Guide for more information.
    >>U.S. Census Bureau: 2007 Economic Census User Guide
  • 2002 Economic Census
    The Economic Census profiles American business every 5 years, from the national to the local level. 2007 Economic Census forms were sent to more than 4 million businesses in November and December 2007, asking for information about business activity during calendar 2007. The forms were due back February 12, 2008. Results will be published during 2009 and 2010.
    >>See Maag Library’s Economic Census Guide for more information.
    >>U.S. Census Bureau: Guide to the 2002 Economic Census
  • Annual & Quarterly Services
    The Quarterly Services Survey (QSS) and the Service Annual Survey (SAS) work together to produce the most comprehensive data available on service activity in the United States.Regular quality control and verification takes place between these two programs and the larger and more infrequent Economic Census. QSS estimates are benchmarked to SAS estimates to ensure that data collection of each company is complete. SAS estimates are then benchmarked to data maintained by the Economic Census. This process of benchmarking services data over all three programs ensures consistency in our estimates.
  • Annual Capital Expenditures Survey
    The ACES provides data on capital spending for new and used structures and equipment by U.S. nonfarm businesses with and without employees. Also, every five years, for years ending in “3″ and “8″, for companies with employees, the survey provides additional data by types of structures and types of equipment. Data have been collected annually beginning with data for 1994.
  • Annual Survey of Manufactures
    Covers the industries of manufacturing, mining, and construction. Data on the website begins with 1997. While the ASM predominantly focuses on manufacturing, it also includes construction information such as residential construction and sales as well as mining information by state/industry.
  • Business Dynamics Statistics
    BDS tables show key economic data: Number of Establishments; Establishment Openings/Closings; Employment; Job Creation/Job Destruction; Job Expansions/Job Contraction. The BDS series provides: Annual data 1976-2005 (Firm age and firm size; State; Standard Industrial Classification sectors; Entire economy); Establishment and firm level.
  • Business Expenses Supplement
    Currently, the BES covers the following: Wholesale Distributors (North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 42, part); Retail Trade (NAICS 44-45); Accommodation and Food Services (NAICS 72).
  • Construction
    The construction sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in the construction of buildings or engineering projects (e.g., highways and utility systems). Establishments primarily engaged in the preparation of sites for new construction and establishments primarily engaged in subdividing land for sale as building sites also are included in this sector.
  • Current Industrial Reports
    The CIR program has been providing monthly, quarterly, and annual measures of industrial activity for many years. The primary objective of the CIR program is to produce timely, accurate data on production and shipments of selected products. The data are used to satisfy economic policy needs and for market analysis, forecasting, and decision-making in the private sector.
  • Foreign Trade
    Foreign Trade is the official source for U.S. export and import statistics and responsible for issuing regulations governing the reporting of all export shipments from the United States. If you’re searching for import or export statistics, information on export regulations, commodity classifications, or a host of other trade related topics, this is the place to get the information you need.
  • Information and Communication Technology Survey
    The ICT Survey provides data on both noncapitalized and capitalized spending for information and communication technology equipment and computer software by U.S. nonfarm businesses with employees. Data have been collected annually beginning with data for 2003.
  • Manufacturing
    The Manufacturing sector comprises establishments engaged in the mechanical, physical, or chemical transformation of materials, substances, or components into new products. The assembling of component parts of manufactured products is considered manufacturing, except in cases where the activity is appropriately classified in Sector 23, Construction. Establishments in the Manufacturing sector are often described as plants, factories, or mills and characteristically use power-driven machines and materials-handling equipment.
  • Monthly & Annual Retail Trade
    The Advance Monthly and Monthly Retail Trade Surveys , the Annual Retail Trade Survey, and the Quarterly E-Commerce Report work together to produce the most comprehensive data available on retail economic activity in the United States.
  • Monthly & Annual Wholesale Trade
    The Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey (MWTS) and the Annual Wholesale Trade Survey (AWTS) work together to produce the most comprehensive data available on wholesale economic activity in the United States. Provides data on wholesale sales, inventories, and inventories/sales ratios going back to approximately 1992.
  • Nonemployer Statistics
    Nonemployer Statistics is an annual series of information about businesses without paid employees that are subject to federal income tax. Most nonemployers are self-employed individuals operating very small unincorporated businesses, which may or may not be the owner’s principal source of income.
  • Statistics of U.S. Businesses
    SUSB is an annual series that provides national and subnational data on the distribution of economic data by enterprise size and industry. SUSB covers most of the country’s economic activity. The series excludes data on nonemployer businesses, private households, railroads, agricultural production, and most government entities.

Reports from Other Government Agencies

  • Bureau of Economic Analysis: Industry Economic Accounts
    The industry economic accounts, presented both in an input-output framework and as annual output by each industry, provide a detailed view of the interrelationships between U.S. producers and users and the contribution to production across industries. These accounts are used extensively by policymakers and businesses to understand industry interactions, productivity trends, and the changing structure of the U.S. economy.
  • FEDSTATS
    FedStats provides access to the full range of official statistical information produced by the Federal Government without having to know in advance which Federal agency produces which particular statistic. With convenient searching and linking capablilties to more than 100 agencies that provide data and trend information on such topics as economic and population trends, crime, education, health care, aviation safety, energy use, farm production and more, FedStats is the location for access to the full breadth of Federal statistical information.
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Industry Sector Notebooks
    The Sector Notebook series is a unique set of profiles containing information for specific industries and governments. Unlike other resource materials, which are organized by air, water and land pollutants, the Notebooks provide a holistic approach by integrating processes, applicable regulations and other relevant environment information.
  • U.S. International Trade Commission: Industry & Economic Analysis
    Commission trade and industry analysis is conducted largely by the Office of Industries and the Office of Economics. The structure of these offices reflects the organization of the work product. The Office of Industries is organized by broad industrial and service categories. The Office of Economics is organized by region of the world, a research group that develops and uses economic models and techniques, and a group that provides economic support to Import Injury cases.

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