Industry definition and analysis

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defining the industry, overview and trends, industry size, leading companies, analyst & market research reports, ratios, articles, books, trade associations

Defining the industry top

Many sources use numerical industry classification systems to organize information on industries and companies. The most commonly used ones in the U.S. are the  Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) scheme and the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).  NAICS replaced the SIC system in 1997, but many sources still use SICs. Other sources use words to define industries: air transport, apparel, banking, etc.

Using SIC/NAICS codes can be problematic in that individual companies may be involved in numerous industries or products as defined by these codes. Another potential problem is that SIC/NAICS codes may be too broad, burying details about individual products in a miscellaneous category.

Standard Industrial Classification Manual
UNI Reference HF 1041 U613 1987
This is a guide to the Standard Industrial Classification system developed by the U.S. government to standardize reporting of industry and company data. As noted above, it is being replaced by the NAICS system, but many reference sources continue to use SIC codes. A detailed alphabetical product index can help in finding the right code.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
UNI Reference HF 1042 N67 2002 
NAICS is a system that provides common industry definitions for the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. It is gradually replacing the SIC system in the United States. It includes a table that translates SIC codes to NAICS codes and vice versa. A detailed alphabetical product index can help in finding the right code.

Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys via *NetAdvantage
*Value Line Investment Survey
Hoover's Industries
Other sources such as these  develop their own word breakdowns of industries. Hoover's, for example, divides companies into industry breakdowns such as aerospace, automotive, and banking.

How to determine the NAICSs and SICs for a particular company? Sources such as the following include such codes in company entries. Sources that develop other industry breakdowns usually have some kind of index or search capability for finding the closest industry.

D&B Million Dollar Directory: America's Leading Public & Private Companies
UNI Reference HG 4057 A29 
This directory can be used to determine the SIC industries in which a company competes. The first SIC is the company's primary line of business, according to the publisher.

*Business and Company Resource Center 
Company profiles include NAICS and SIC industries in which the company operates. The first code listed is the primary activity.

Overview and trends top

The following sources provide textual and numerical profiles and in some cases analyses and forecasts for various industries.

Encyclopedia of American Industries 
ewest editions  in*Business and Company Resource Center; see Advanced Search/Industry Overviews Content Area
UNI Reference HC 102 E53 
For more than 1,000 industries, explains structure and organization, current conditions, background and development, leading companies, level of U.S. and international activity, and labor force characteristics.

Contains reports on around 680 industries at the five-digit NAICS level. Typical industry report addresses: market characteristics such as market size, demand and supply linkages, demand determinants, and basis of competition; product and service segmentation; barriers to entry; cost structure; key competitors; forecasts; and so on.

Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys via *NetAdvantage
Each of 52 industry chapters describes the current environment by profiling the industry, discussing industry trends and how the industry operates, giving industry ratios and statistics, and explaining how to analyze a company in the industry. Lists additional industry references and provides composite industry and company financial data.

U.S. Industry & Trade Outlook
UNI Reference HC101 .U54 2000  (online version being developed:
Provides an overview of major U.S. industries and their position in the international economy. Covers global and U.S. trends, projects growth rates, and discusses global market prospects. Produced by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce.

*Value Line Investment Survey

Provides one to two page analyses of industries, including one to three year forecasts of industry sales and other financial factors. Industry pages are followed by pages on companies in the industry.

Industry size and other statistics top 

The U.S. government conducts economic and demographic surveys and censuses. The economic census is very detailed but conducted only in years ending in 2 and 7; less detailed surveys are conducted annually and monthly.  Many trade journals, trade associations, and other research organizations gather industry and product data. FedStats serves as an index to statistics in U.S. government publications, and Statistical Universe indexes statistics in U.S. government publications as well as other governmental and private sources. Trade journals are indexed in various tools such as Business & Company Resource Center and ABI/INFORM Global.

Annual Survey of Manufactures. Statistics for Industry Groups and Industries
Data includes number of employees, value added, and shipments.

Business Statistics of the United States
UNI Reference HC 101 A1313 
Includes time series data, often on a monthly or quarterly basis, for major U.S. industries.

Current Industrial Reports 
Provides data such as quantity and value of shipments, arranged by NAICS codes.

2002 Economic Census
Includes data such as sales, number of establishments, and number of employees for retail, wholesale, manufacturing, construction, transportation, and other major industries.

This U.S. Dept. of Commerce site provides some statistics for no charge; other sources, such as National Trade Data Bank and Economic Bulletin Board are available for a fee. The fee databases can be accessed at Rod Library.

Statistical Abstract of the United States
UNI Reference Desk HA 202 U58 (most recent); Latest 2 in UNI
Reference; Earlier in UNI Documents)
Library has: 1878-1892, 1894-1926, 1928-
Provides statistics on major U.S.  industries.

The following sources bring together in one place data from government and private sources and are arranged by SIC codes.  A differently arranged, more up-to-date version of the same data is available in *Business & Company Resource Center;  see Advanced Search/Industry Overviews Content Area.

Agriculture, Mining, and Construction USA : Industry Analyses, Statistics, and Leading Companies 
UNI Reference HD9715.U5 A64 1998

Finance, Insurance, & Real Estate USA

UNI Reference HG 181 F56 
Entries for 36 industries provide information such as leading companies, state and metropolitan area data, number of establishments, employees, and payroll.

Manufacturing & Distribution U.S.A
UNI Reference HD9721 .M3495 
Nearly 450 industry profiles include data such as number of establishments, indices of change, product share details, materials consumed, occupations employed in the industry, industry data by state, and leading companies.

Information, Finance, & Services USA
UNI Reference HD9981.4 .I53 2001
Provides number of establishments, industry ratios, leading companies, occupations employed, and state data for about 150 industries.

Leading companies in an industry top

Several of the sources in the above sections list the leading companies in particular industries. Here are a few examples:

*Business & Company Resource Center 
An SIC or NAICS search retrieves an international listing of leading companies in the industry, ranked by revenue. The search can be limited to leading companies in particular countries or states as well.

Mergent's Industry Review
UNI Reference HG 4961 M68 
Ranks 3,500 companies in 137 industries by various financial criteria.

Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys via *NetAdvantage
Industry chapters rank companies by factors such as revenue and return on assets.

Business Rankings Annual 
UNI Reference HG4050 .B88
Market Share Reporter
UNI Reference HF5410 .M35
Provide rankings and market share data as published in various print and online sources. Sources of data are given at bottom of tables. Also available online in *Business & Company Resource Center.

Analyst and "off the shelf" market research reports top

*Business & Company Resource Center  
Company entries include Investext studies written by analysts at investment banks, brokerage firms, and similar organizations. Company investment reports sometimes include industry information such as industry structure, social and economic trends, competitors, and forecasts and projections, both U.S. and international. 

*Mintel Reports
Contains market reports on hundreds of consumer products. About half of reports cover U.S. markets, half non-U.S. Typical reports include data such as market drivers, market size and trends, segments, supply structure, retail distribution, consumer profiles, and forecasts. Must register and create personal password.

Company v. industry: financial and operating ratios  top

Another page, Financial and Operating Ratios, lists additional sources of ratios for industries and specific companies. Many of the following go back many years in time.

Almanac of Business and Industrial Financial Ratios
UNI Reference HF 5681 R25 T68
Compiled from 4.6 million corporate federal income tax returns, this source provides 50 ratios for 179 industries. Includes separate ratio tables for all companies and for those which made a profit within each industry. Figures also are broken down by size of companies. Published annually, it is the only publicly available source based on statements of all active U.S. corporations.

*Mergent Online (formerly called FIS Online and Moody's Manuals)
Provides financial and narrative description and analysis of about 10,000 publicly held U.S. companies. In Advanced Search, can look up companies by SIC code and create customized tables that show variables of interest for all companies or for a specific company in comparison with other companies in the industry.

*Value Line Investment Survey
Contains six years of financial data and ratios for 95 industries. Also contains up to 16 years of financials for about 2,200 companies. Pages for industries and companies include forecasts out to 2005. Includes beta.

Articles from scholarly journals, trade journals, and newspapers  top

Indexes about 1,550 periodicals; provides full text or image for about 820. Indexes industries by its own classification code system and also by subject headings; classification codes and subject headings are listed under Search Guide. Class code search example: cc(8100) to retrieve articles on financial services industry. Subject heading search example: su(beverage industry).

*Business & Company Resource Center
Indexes about 3,500 business journals and magazines, investment reports, and press releases. Full text of articles available online for about 2,500 of the indexed periodicals.  Subjects in Article for topics like beverage industry are subdivided by headings such as materials, packaging, and personnel management.

*LexisNexis Academic 
Business section includes articles divided into 25 industry categories.

*LexisNexis Congressional 
Indexes Congressional publications such as reports, bills, and the Congressional Record; provides laws such as statutes and regulations; and also provides the transcripts of testimony before Congress. The testimony search makes it possible to search for testimony by specific executives and by representatives of particular companies and industries.

*Wall Street Journal via *ABI/INFORM
The ABI/INFORM database contains the full text of articles from the Wall Street Journal back to 1984. Today's issue is available early in the morning. After logging on, do a Publication Search to go to particular issues of the Journal. Alternatively, limit search results to newspapers.

Book-length studies and related publications  top

The Rod Library book and government publications collection includes scholarly and popular coverage of many industries. Use UNISTAR, the library catalog, to identify works such as State of Competition in the Airline Industry : Hearing Before the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives and Economics of the U.S. Commercial Airline Industry.

Trade associations and industry web sites  top

Some trade associations and other industry group gather data and report news on their industries.

ASAE Gateway to Associations Online
Directories of association web sites.

Encyclopedia of Associations and *Business & Company Resource Center/Advanced
UNI Reference Desk AS 22 E5 
Most comprehensive single directory of associations. Includes pointers to web pages.

Encyclopedia of Business Information Sources
UNI Reference HF 5351 E59
Lists major information sources, including associations and trade journals, in various industries.
Directory of some 400,000 business-related web pages in 25,000 categories. Industry categories include listings such as associations, reference sources, companies in the industry.

Industry Home Pages (Polsen Enterprises)
Directory of industry oriented web sites.

Market Research (U.S. Government Export Portal)
Multi-agency U.S. government source with reports on countries, markets, and industries. Requires registration.


home, economic & legal, company organization, company history, ethics

Stan Lyle
Rod Library
May 7 , 2007