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Industry Research

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See also Company Research Guide

Industry Structure and Overview   

  • The Structure of American Industry. Located on Reserve. Offers a kaleidoscopic view of American industry--a collection of case studies illustrating different types of structural organizations, different behavior patterns, and different performance records. 
  • Encyclopedia of American Industries vol. I, Manufacturing Industries Vol. II, Services and Non-manufacturing industries.   Ref HC 102 E55.4--Volume I provides coverage of 460 manufacturing industries, each discussed in its own essay. Manufacturing industries covered in this volume range from large ones, such as the automotive industry and the pharmaceutical industry, to smaller business sectors, such as the porcelain electrical supplies industry and waterproof outerwear industry.
  • Encyclopedia of Emerging Industries.    Ref  HC 102 E54 -Provides Industry snapshots; organization and structure; background and development; pioneers; current conditions; industry leaders; work force; global marketplace; research and development.
  • U.S. Industry & Trade Outlook 2000, on Reserve- The International Trade Administration has decided not to publish U.S. Industry & Trade Outlook in printed format after the 2000 edition. See online version: U.S. Industry and Trade Outlook.

Identify the Industry

Many companies are involved in several industries. To research a company's industry, it is important to identify the industry. Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) and NAICS codes provide a mechanism for classifying like businesses together. These codes may be used to identify a company’s competitors and to determine industry financial norms. These industry codes transcends national borders.

To identify a company’s SIC number (s) consult the printed 1987 Standard industrial Classification Manual or search the 1987 SIC manual online: Standard Industrial Classification Search http://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/sicsearch.html.

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) has replaced the U.S. Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system. SIC numbers are still useful; to locate correspondence between 2002 NAICS and 1987 SIC, see: 1997 NAICS and 1987 SIC Correspondence Tables, http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/naicstab.htm.

The printed source, North American Industry Classification System: United States, 1997 or online, NAICS 2002. ” NAICS 2002 is the same as NAICS 1997 for fourteen of the twenty sectors. Construction and wholesale trade are substantially changed, but the revisions also modify a number of retail classifications and the organization of the information sector.”

Databases to follow provide industry classification--NAICS/SIC, current news, articles, and detailed information for industries.


  • ABI/Inform Global R -- Use the Advanced Search" and click for "more search options." Options to search are: Browse classification codes --Classification codes segment documents in ProQuest business databases into broad topical areas, including management function, industry or market, geographical area, organization type, and document treatment; Browse NAICS codes --North American Industry Classification System codes classify documents by industry based on the primary activities of the organization. For more information, see the US Government NAICS web site.
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics --Consists of profiles of 12 industry supersectors. Each profile contains a variety of facts about the industry supersector, and includes links to additional statistics. 
  • Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage R
    Description: Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage--Provides S&P's financial information for investment research and commentary with access to the S&P Industry Surveys, Stock Reports, Mutual Fund Reports, Bond Reports, Corporation Records, The Register of Corporations, Directors and Executives, and The Outlook, among others.

The NTDB (National Trade Data Bank) provides access to Country Commercial Guides, Market Research reports, Best Market reports and other programs.

  • STAT-USA/Internet R -- Select GLOBUS & NTDB and select Best Market Reports (BMRs) " Best Market Reports (BMRs) are snapshots of a given market segment (or in some cases, closely related market segments) as they are described by U.S. Commercial Service and U.S. Department of State officials stationed overseas. These brief reports come from much longer reports submitted by all of the larger and most of the smaller embassies as part of their annual reporting duties, called the Country Commercial Guides (CCGs), which are also available on the National Trade Data Bank (NTDB)manufacturing and Industry."

Printed Sources

  • Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys , (quarterly). Latest quarter on Reserve, earlier editions.  REF HC 106.6 S74.--Contains basic data and outlook commentary for approximately 25 broad industry categories. A basic industry segments within each category. Graphs and tables as well as summary financial data for the leading companies in each industry segment are included.
  • The Value Line Investment Survey, (updated monthly). Located on Reserve. The "Ratings & Reports" presents full-page, individual stock reports (encapsulating the company's past performance, current status, and outlook) and industry reviews.

    See also Encyclopedia of American Industries and Encyclopedia of Emerging Industries above.

Government Resources

The U.S. government is a major compiler of statistics that are useful for industry research.

  • Current Industrial Reports (CIR) --"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. These surveys measure manufacturing activity in important commodity areas such as textiles and apparel, chemicals, primary metals, computer and electronic components, industrial equipment, aerospace equipment, and consumer goods."
  • County Business Patterns -- County Business Patterns is an annual series that provides sub-national economic data by industry. Data may be used for analyzing market potential, measuring the effectiveness of sales and advertising programs, setting sales quotas, and developing budgets.
  • Economic Census --The Economic Census provides a detailed portrait of the Nation's economy once every five years, from the national to the local level. "The 2002 Economic Census publishes data primarily on the basis of the 2002 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Changes between 1997 NAICS and 2002 NAICS are primarily within construction and wholesale trade and do not affect sector totals. Since 90% of all industries are comparable 1997 to 2002, year to year comparisons are easier to make."
  • Lexis-Nexis Universe R -- Select Statistical from the menu. Provides statistics produced by federal agencies, states, and intergovernmental organizations; with links to other Web sites with useful information about statistics.
  • U.S. Industry and Trade Outlook -- (printer copy also on Reserve) Provides for each industry:
    • Historical data on shipments, imports, exports, and employment
    • Discussions of industry trends, technology, and international competition
    • One-, two-, and five-year forecasts
    • Recent trade patterns and major country markets
    • Graphs highlighting domestic and international trends
    • Reference lists for further research

Industry Regulation

  • Federal Trade Commission --The FTC site includes news and alerts, consumer protection and anti-trust information. " The Bureau also conducts economic analyses of various markets and industries. This work focuses on the economic effects of regulation and on issues that are of importance to antitrust and consumer protection law enforcement. Many of these analyses are published as Economic Reports. "

Industry Research on the Internet

  • Industry Portals http://www.virtualpet.com/industry/mfg/mfg.htm --These Portals provide major sources of information for over 100 U.S. industries.
  • Industry Information Resources is a free resource guide to industry resources and data for over 400 industries. Individual pages for each industry list resources and data available from trade associations, publications, and research firms which address subjects such as industry overview, issues, trends, and outlook, financial information and financial ratios, compensation and salary surveys, and business valuation resources.
  • KnowThis.com www.knowthis.com/research/compindinfor.htm-- Provides resources to to research companies, industries and competitors.  Tutorials are also Included.
  • Pricewaterhousecoopers – “…organized around industries to share the latest research and points of view on emerging industry trends, develop industry-specific performance benchmarks based upon global best practices, and share methodologies and approaches in complex areas such as financial instruments and tax provisioning.” (Must register to access some materials).


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