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Industry Information  

Last Updated: Dec 2, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Background Information

An industry is defined as the people or companies engaged in a particular kind of commercial enterprise. It is a basic category of business activity. The term industry is sometimes used to describe a very precise business activity (e.g. semiconductors) or a more generic business activity (e.g. consumer durables). If a company participates in multiple business activities, it is usually considered to be in the industry in which most of its revenues are derived.

North American businesses are classified for the purposes of statistical research. Economic units (people or companies) that use like processes to produce goods or services are grouped together. This "production-oriented" system means that statistical agencies in the United States will produce data that can be used for measuring productivity, unit labor costs, and the capital intensity of production; constructing input-output relationships; and estimating employment-output relationships and other such statistics that require that inputs and outputs be used together.

The United States has a new industry classification system. On April 9, 1997, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced its decision to adopt the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS pronounced Nakes) as the industry classification system used by the statistical agencies of the United States. NAICS replaced the 1987 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC).

Library Resources to Aid Industrial Research

  • Standard & Poor's
    The "Industry Survey" component contains detailed full-text surveys of 52 designated industries. You'll find an industry profile, key industry ratios and statistics, industry trends, and much more.
  • Mergent Industry Review -- REF HG 4961 .M68
    Contains statistical information about companies. Organized by industry and updated biweekly.
  • Encyclopedia of American Industries  -- HC102. P43 eRef 2008 (Online Resource)
    Contains an essay on every industry recognized by the SIC system. Arranged by SIC code.
  • U.S. Industry Profiles: The Leading 100 -- REF DESK HC 106.82 .U6 1998
    Covers current status and predicted futures of 100 significant US industries.
  • US Industry & Trade Outlook -- REF HC 101 .U543 2000
    Contains detailed statistics from the US Department of Commerce, including trends and forecast tables. Arranged by SIC code.
  • WEFA Industrial Monitor -- REF HC 101 .W44 2001
    Reviews major US industries. Covers the last ten years and predicts the next ten years.
  • Handbook of North American Industry -- REF DESK HF 1746. H36 1999
    Covers the economics and industries of the US, Canada, and Mexico. Contains statistics and narrative analysis.
  • Encyclopedia of Emerging Industries
    Profiles industries and businesses that have grown significantly in the recent past or are expected to grow significantly in the near future.
  • Encyclopedia of Global Industries -- REF DESK HD 2324. E53 1999 (Also see Online Resource)
    Industry articles analyze key companies and how the industry has integrated with the global economy.

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