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How to Find Industry Data

The following guide is intended to help you to locate industry information both within the HSU Library, as well as to find information on the World Wide Web. It lists both print and online sources. However, it is rather difficult to find good industry wide analysis on the web for free. You may need to seek information in both print and electronic sources. If you want additional help in learning about the HSU Library and/or how to do basic research, please consult Online Workshops for Library Skills (OWLS).

You can either move through this guide sequentially by paging or scrolling down, or go directly to
section(s) you are interested in by clicking in the table of contents.

Items which are especially useful have a check mark next to them.


Summary Articles
Statistical Data
Current Awareness
Trade Associations
Internet Resources for Industry Information
For More Information...


These sources give broad overviews of an industry. Items with a check mark next to them are especially useful.

Hoover's Online has overviews of industries.
Mergent Online
Business, finance, and company sources - 15,000 U.S. public companies and 20,000 non-U.S. companies. Select Industry Reports and then choose the one in which you are interested. Available for HSU users only.
The U.S. Global Trade Outlook, 1995-2000: Toward the 21st Century (Docs C 61.34/2:)
Meant to replace to above title. It has some industry data together with international information.
U.S. Industrial Outlook (Docs C 61.34) 1960-1994
Useful for an historical picture of an industry. More recent information can be found in Industries at a Glance done by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics or at the U.S. Census Bureau Economic Programs or Current Industrial Reports.
U.S. Industry & Trade Outlook (Docs C 61.48: 0215-L-08) continues U.S. Industrial Outlook.
This new title has industry wide reviews together with international trade information.
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The U.S. Government has traditionally collected copious amounts of data on industries and has created a classification scheme to collate the data. In 1999, a new system, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), began to be implemented. However, this is a gradual process and some of the economic series may not have been updated yet. For the older series, you will need to continue to use the Standard Industrial Classification system (SIC#). All data is found by using this number rather than by the name of the industry. You can find the SIC# for an industry by clicking on the hot link, or by using the print Standard Industrial Classification Manual (ref HF 1042 S73 1987) located in reference or also shelved on the third floor in the Documents area (Docs PR Ex 2.6/2 In 27/1987). For more information about NAICS and the conversion charts from the SIC system to NAICS, go to the site maintained by the U.S. Census Bureau. Listed below you will find various sources of statistical data.

Almanac of Business and Industrial Financial Ratios (ref HF 5681 R25 T68)
Most recent issue is in reference and older issues (1976-) are in the general stacks. This source and the one below are the best sources of industry ratios in the Library.
American Statistics Index (ASI) Shelved on U.S. documents abstract table (abstr Docs HA 195 A46 1974-2000)
Excellent detailed index to statistics published by the U.S. government. Current indexing is available on Statistical Universe for HSU users only.
County Business Patterns (U.S. Docs C 3.204/3-6 yr.)
Good for data on local businesses. For each industry code number this gives county totals in number of employees, taxable payrolls and total establishments. Available for free on the web, on CD-rom (Docs C 204/4), or in CenStats (HSU users only).
CenStats (HSU users only)
Provides interactive search and display access to County Business Patterns, Annual Survey of Manufacturers, ZIP Business Patterns, International Trade Data, and other census reports.
Guide to Special Issues and Indexes of Periodicals (ref Z 7164 C81 G85 1994)
Excellent index to the specialized contents of business, industrial, and consumer journals.
Rand McNally Commercial Atlas and Marketing Guide (atlas G 1106 Q1 R35)
Provides current economic and geographic information through the use of maps, tables, and charts. Statistical data for Canada and the rest of the world are also presented.
Robert Morris Associates' Annual Statement Studies (ref HF 5681 B2 R6)
Includes comparative historical and other sources of composite financial data.
Standard & Poor's Statistical Service (ref HC 101 S75)
Divided into the following sections: Current Statistics; Banking and Finance; Production and Labor; Price Indexes; Income and Trade; Building; Electric Power and Fuels; Metals; Transportation; Textiles, Chemical, Paper; Agricultural Products; and Security Price Index Record. Each section includes a table of contents for locating the data.
  • The Current Statistics section includes the leading economic indicators such as GNP, National Income, Personal Income, Cost of Living Indexes, and production statistics. The remaining sections provide historical and current statistics for specific categories and industries.
Survey of Buying Power appears in special issues of Sales and Marketing Management (S & MM) (U.S., State and Local demographic data) (Periodical HF 5438 A34) The Survey of Buying Power On-Line is available for a fee.
  • July issue gives current estimates of demographic and socioeconomic factors of regions, states, metropolitan markets, counties and cities in the U.S. and Canada, as well as a buying power index.
  • Last October issue - 5-year Metropolitan Market Projections for U.S. and Canadian counties and metropolitan areas and an annual survey of tv, newspaper, and radio markets.
  • April - Survey of Industrial and Commercial Buying Power - data on 4-digit SIC industries, both manufacturing and nonmanufacturing, as well as ranking of leading counties for the more than 400 customer industries listed that buy goods and services from consumer and industrial establishments.
  • Last February issue - Survey of Selling Costs - provides detailed information on the basic selling costs of the leading metropolitan markets in the U.S. and Canada, plus data on such market-related expenses as sales incentives, sales training, sales meetings, car rentals, and salespeople's compensation.
Taxable Sales in California (Cal Docs E 3050 T35)
Status report on transactions subject to sales tax. It is broken down into type of business and number of tax permits by county and by city. A general overview of California's economy is also included. Also available electronically from 1998.
Value Line Research Center
Stock market, statistics, economics - 1,700 stocks, over 90 industries. Select either Standard Edition or Plus Edition, click on select an Industry to go to the page which lists the different industries you can choose from. Available for HSU users only.
Yahoo - Finance - Industry Research
Lists industries in alphabetical order. Within the industry groupings, you will find companies in rank order by Thomson Financial Network.
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Newspaper and periodical articles can provide useful information on industries. Finding industry data is somewhat difficult, because it is often commisioned by organizations which are not willing to share the data freely. However, useful charts can be found in newspapers or journal articles.

To find articles use the newspaper and periodical indexes listed below. Some indexes are available in print format, on a computer available either in the Library or by dialing in, or for free on the web. There is often some overlap among the various indexes, but each has a unique scope of coverage; therefore, it is useful to check a number of indexes for information on your company. Some of the indexes available via computer from the HSU Library may be restricted to HSU users only so be sure to notice if such a statement is in the description of the index.

Many of the electronic databases provide the full text of newspaper and periodical articles online. However, some indexes provide only citations to articles; others include an abstract (i.e. summary) in addition to the citation. You will need to print out the citation and locate the issue of the periodical you need. To do this, check for the title of the periodical (not the article) in the Journal and Newspaper Finder. This list will tell whether or not we hold the title in print or electronically. Where it is available electronically, it will also be possible many times to link through to the article. Where we have only print, issues of periodicals to which HSU subscribes can be obtained from the Periodicals Section in the Library. Issues which are not available at our Library may be requested from Interlibrary Loan by HSU users.

Items which are especially useful have a check mark next to them.

ABI Inform, 1971-
Index to busines, trade, and management topics from 1,500 US and international periodicals. Includes fulltext of 760 periodicals. Available for HSU users only.
Business Periodicals Index, 1958-July 1998 (abstr HF 5001 B9)
Provides citations to articles in business periodicals. Annual cumulations only. Online equivalent (available for HSU users only) is in OmniFile Full Text Mega. In the Subject Area box, click on Business (BUS). Online indexing began in 1988; abstracts available from 1984 and fulltext became available in 1994.
Christian Science Monitor Index, (1987-1996) (abstr AI 21 C46)
Also available for HSU Users only on LexisNexis Academic (1/80-present). Click on Sources, type in Christian Science Monitor, click on Search this title. A dialog box will come up and you can enter your topic or company name. The electronic version of the Christian Science Monitor can be searched for free.
Includes the full text of approximately 9,000 journals, trade magazines, and wire services from 22 countries. Includes the full text of approximately 9,000 journals, trade magazines, and wire services from 22 countries. To find articles on your industry, either do a keyword search in the Free text box by typing in your keywords, or select Industries and set up your list that way. Available for HSU users only.
LexisNexis Academic
A fulltext source available for HSU users only. You can find newspaper and periodical articles, market share data in the market share file, and other financial information in this online service by selecting one of the appropriate categories. Select either the Business or News tab and then follow menu screens.
Los Angeles Times Index, (1972-1985) (abstr AI 21 L68)
Also available for HSU Users only on LexisNexis Academic (1/85-present). Click on Sources, type in Los Angeles Times, click on Search this title. A dialog box will come up and you can enter your topic or company name. To search the archives of the electronic version of the Los Angeles Times, you must register, but registration is free.
New York Times Index, (1851-2001) (abstr AI 21 N44)
Also available for HSU Users only on LexisNexis Academic, (6/80-present). Click on Sources, then Find Sources, enter the name of the paper in the dialog, select it and you can then begin your search. To search the online edition of the New York Times, you need to register, but registration is free.
ProQuest Newsstand
An extensive collection of U.S. and international news sources, which includes coverage of 150+ major U.S. and international newspapers such as The New York Times and the Times of London, plus hundreds of other news sources and news wires. Available for HSU users only.
San Francisco Chronicle Index, (1976-1996) (abstr AI 21 S25)
Also available for HSU Users only on LexisNexis Academic (10/89-present). Click on Sources, type in San Francisco Chronicle, click on Search this title. A dialog box will come up and you can enter your topic or company name. The electronic version of the San Francisco Chronicle can be searched for free.
Wall Street Journal Index, (1958-1996) (abstr AI 21 W35)
Wall Street Journal Abstracts is available on LexisNexis Academic, (5/73-present). Click on Sources, type in Wall Street Journal Abstracts, click on Search this title. A dialog box will come up and you can enter your topic or company name. Fulltext of WSJ and index is available in Factiva. Click on News Pages. You will need to select the Wall Street Journal by selecting it from the alphabetical list under Select Source Category and then following the on-screen instructions. You can select the time period for when the article was written by using the date drop down dialog box. Both of these online files are available for HSU users only. The interactive edition of the Wall Street Journal is available for registered paying users only.
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Trade associations very frequently publish useful statistical data as well as information about the industry.

If you cannot find information on an association on the web, you may want to try searching for its home page by using one of the Internet search tools listed on this webpage.

If you don't know the name of the association and cannot come into the Library to find one in your area of interest, it is possible to find them by using Yahoo - Trade Associations. Keep in mind that not all associations may have put up a web page and it may still be necessary for you to write to the association for information.

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Following are some additional readings available at the HSU Library to assist you with your business research.


  1. Consult a variety of information resources, not only to get a thorough overview, but also to verify information found in the resources. Keep in mind, that when reading the information on a web page, you should criticially evaluate the information, just as you would any other source. An excellent Checklist for a Business/Marketing Web Page is maintained by the Wolfgram Memorial Library at Widener University which can help you with doing such an evaluation.
  2. Use indexes to periodical literature (newspapers, magazines, trade journals) to find overview articles about an industry.
  3. Contact a trade association directly for information or press releases.
  4. Consult with a reference librarian at the HSU Library or send us an email question.
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