Industry sources

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The United States government is an excellent source on information on industries. The U.S. Census Bureau produces quite a bit of business information and below is a look at some of what that office produces that can be used to do industry research. However, there are many other agencies that produce industry related information specific to certain industries; for example, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Agriculture are just a few which have very specific interests. Many of these agencies are providing current statistical data online through their web sites. Selected information on print volumes for earlier years is included at the end of this section.


The Census Bureau is the largest producer of data. It also frequently, in the form of a source like the US Statistical Abstract, disseminates data from other agencies.

Economic Census

This Census began in 1930 and was produced at varying intervals until 1967. Since that date it has been issued once every five years. Additional information on the history of the Economic Census can be found in a short guide from Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network. The Economic Census shows data on the national and state level. The Bureau web page has data from the Censuses for 1992, 1997, and 2002 (and going forward).
Information is shown by industry code – NAICS from the 1997 forward and SIC for prior years – and geographically by state with SIC/NAICS breakdowns. In addition to displaying data by industry codes, the Economic Census also shows data by Product Codes that can be even more specific. For example, if one was tracking pharmacies, one would use the SIC/NAICS for independent pharmacies. But to capture those supermarkets with pharmacies, one would use the SIC/NAICS for supermarkets and then look for the product code for those supermarkets that have pharmacies. There are also several subsets of data that are updated more frequently. Those include: the Annual Survey of Manufactures, the Annual Retail Trade Survey, and the Annual Wholesale Trade Survey

Additional online sources for Economic Census data include:

Business Topics
2002 Guide
1997 Guide
Current Industrial Reports (CIR)


These reports contain monthly, quarterly, and annual measures of industrial activity (production and shipments) for many years. The CIR is organized by Subject and Subsector.

Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM)

Covers the industries of manufacturing, mining, and construction. Data on the ASM 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.

Retail Trade

The Annual Retail Trade Survey is a subset of the Economic Census that covers retail trade The website contains data back to approximately 1992.

Wholesale Trade

This website provides data on wholesale sales, inventories, and inventories/sales ratios going back to approximately 1992.

Transportation and Warehousing

This annual survey provides national estimates of revenue and vehicle fleet inventories for commercial motor freight transportation and public warehousing service industries. Data goes back to approximately 1997 on the website.


The Service Annual Survey is sampling of the service industries that includes: arts, healthcare, transportation, administration and support, waste management, professional and technical, rental and leasing, among others. Some of the archived reports on the web page go back to 1994.

Country Business Patterns

This annual series, which has been published since 1964, provides sub-national economic data by industry. The series is useful for studying the economic activity of small areas; analyzing economic changes over time; and as a benchmark for statistical series, surveys, and databases between economic censuses. Additional information on the content of the series, including a comparison of the types of data included in various census years can be found online at.

Additional online sources for County Business Pattern data include:
County Business Patterns:

Search by state, zip code, Metro, (current)

Drilldown/search (current)

National, State, County for 1977 - 2001

Table format (historical)

By year (historical)

This site is devoted exclusively to "Measuring the Electronic Economy."


Provides information on corporations based on their tax filings and will be quite general by sector/industry (,,id=96388,00.html). The information is often published as articles in the Statistics of Income and later in the IRS Data Book (,,id=102174,00.html).


The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), like Census, is part of the Department of Commerce. Generally the information they publish is related to National Accounts data. However, they do have some industry-related ( data. GDP by Industry is the major area, but they also include information on travel/tourism and transportation.
There is also Gross State Product information in the Regional section ( and Trade in Goods and Services in the International section (


Most of what can be found through the Department of Agriculture ( is related to what is produced – i.e. products. So while the information won’t be the market for wheat or corn, it will be the numbers for the production of wheat and corn. They have Data/Statistics though the Economic Research Service and Foreign Agricultural Service!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?navid=DATA_STATISTICS&parentnav=AGRICULTURE&navtype=RT, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service,

There is also some marketing/sales information (!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?navtype=SU&navid=MARKETING_TRADE) as well as statistical data in the Agricultural Outlook Forum (


The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) ( is responsible for regulation of communications companies. They also have statistical reports ( which includes Annual International Telecommunications Data, Trends in the International Telecommunications Industry, Media Reports on the Cable Industry, etc. There are three separate Bureaus that are most relevant – Media, Wireless Telecommunications, and Wireline Competition. Each has data/information specific for the Bureau and includes latest headlines

The Media Bureau ( develops, recommends and administers the policy and licensing programs relating to electronic media, including cable television, broadcast television, and radio in the United States and its territories. The Industry Analysis Division conducts and participates in proceedings regarding media ownership and the economic aspects of existing and proposed rules and policies and includes some Merger & Acquisitions information.
The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) ( handles nearly all FCC domestic wireless telecommunications programs, policies, and outreach initiatives. Wireless communications services include Amateur, Cellular, Paging, Broadband PCS, Public Safety, and more. This Bureau has a searchable database.
The Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) ( develops and recommends policy goals, objectives, programs and plans for the Commission on matters concerning wireline telecommunications. There are nice Wireline statistical reports


County Business Patterns. Compiled by the Bureau of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance of the Social Security Administration, Federal Security Agency. Washington, D.C. : Office of Domestic Commerce, U.S. Dept. of Commerce : For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O., 1948-1963.

LC Call Number: HC101 .A184

LC Catalog Record: 49045747
This title is quite confusing. See the catalog record for more information. Vol. for 1948-1962 issued in several parts.

Notes: Issued by: Bureau of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, 1948; Bureau of the Census and Bureau of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, 1949-1959; by the Bureau of the Census, 1962.

Continued in 1962 by a series of annual serials issued under the same common title, devoted to each of the States, Puerto Rico and outlying areas, and a U.S. summary vol.

Current Frequency: Triennial, 1956-1962

Former Frequency: Annual, 1948-1953
Industry Research Using the Economic Census : How to Find It, How to Use It. Jennifer C. Boettcher and Leonard M. Gaines. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2004.

LC Call Number: HC101 .B594 2004

LC Catalog Record: 2004008607

Table of contents

There is a brief history of the Census as well as a overview of the NAICS system. Also included is a look at specific industries: agriculture, transportation & warehousing, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, etc.
Internal Revenue Service Data Book. Washington, DC : The Service : For sale by the U.S. G.P.O., Supt. of Docs., [1995 to the present]

The title continues in part the Annual Report by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service.

LC Call Number: KF6301.A15 I57

LC Catalog Record: 6646431

Statistics of Income Bulletin. Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service. Washington, D.C. : Dept. of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Statistics Division, 1981to the present.

Created from the merger of: Statistics of income, preliminary. Individual income tax returns (Washington, D.C. : 1980); Statistics of income, preliminary. Business income tax returns, sole proprietorships, partnerships; and: Statistics of income, preliminary. Corporation income tax returns (Washington, D.C. : 1981).

Absorbed: Statistics of income. Partnership returns (1977); and: Statistics of income. Sole proprietorship returns.


LC Call Number: HJ4653.S7 S73

LC Catalog Record: 81649949

Statistics of income. Corporation Income Tax Returns. Washington, D.C. : U.S. Dept. of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service : For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O., 1957- present

LC Call Number: HJ4653.C7 A3

LC Catalog Record: 61037568
Preliminary statistics issued in: Statistics of income, preliminary. Corporation income tax returns (Washington, D. C. : 1957), 1954-196 ; Preliminary statistics of income. Corporation income tax returns, 196 -1976; and: Statistics of income, preliminary. Corporation income tax returns, (Washington, D. C. : 1981), 1977. More detailed statistics are available in: Source book of statistics of income, <1954>-1963/1964; and: Source book of statistics of income. Active corporation income tax returns, 1964/1965-

Guide to documentation available in: Statistics of income. Corporation income tax returns. Documentation guide. Indexes: 1958-1968. and 1964-1973

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