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Doing Industry Research: A Resource Guide

Industry Sources: U.S. Government

The United States government is an excellent source of information on industries. Much of it is free to use though there are often limits in terms of search functionality and output.

The U.S. Census Bureau is one of the biggest government sources of business information but there are others. Below are some of the major resources produced by that agency that can be used for industry research. However, there are many other agencies which produce industry-related information specific to certain industries. Below are a few examples that we have provided more details to:

  • Census Bureau: best for all industries and sectors (see a separate tab for more information)
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis: their data is presented in terms of national accounts
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics: the source for Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Producer Price Indexes
  • Federal Communications Commission: they collect data related to television, cable providers, communications firms
  • Department of Energy: they collect a host of energy related statistics on the Energy Information Administration (EIA) web page
  • Department of Agriculture: the data collected are good for those interested in agribusiness (crops, livestock)
  • Department of Health & Human Services: this is the home of the FDA which is responsible for oversight and regulation of pharmaceuticals and medical devices as well as food and cosmetics
  • FDIC: information on banks
  • Department of Transportation: information related to modes of transportation
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: good for those looking at healthcare
  • International Trade Administration: export and import data for those who need trade data
  • Securities & Exchange Commission: some information related to the investment industry and public company filings
  • Internal Revenue Service: they present data very broadly not in line with SIC/NAICS

Beyond those above, there are other agencies also produce data to mention.

  • You can search for government contractors by NAICS codes at usaspending.gov.
  • The Federal Reserve reports on Consumer Finances.
  • The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data at the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) and via consumerfinance.gov would be of interest to anyone in the banking and residential real estate industries.
  • For those interested in mining and energy the U.S. Geological Survey has data related to lithium or tellurium deposits in the United States as well as maintaining a National Coal Resources Data System.
  • NOAA Fisheries is responsible for the stewardship of the nation's ocean resources and their habitat and it provides information and data for those that may want information on fishing and seafood.
  • Statistics for those looking for data related to healthcare can be found at the CDC and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

NOTE: Also, look at the agency's annual report for information important to the the industry particularly about how it relates to regulatory oversight External and issues. It can include data as well as contracts for major projects and other good industry numbers and the information can be quite detailed. Often it can be a good place to find information about particular events like natural disasters or large economic/industry events that happened that year, that the agency was interested in or had some regulatory oversight over. If you are looking to understand older government data gathering and publishing in terms of doing industry or market research, in 1927 the Domestic Commerce Series from the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce External published "Market Research Agencies" that may provide some

The agency website it a good source but often it can be found in the HathiTrust and Internet Archive. To understand U.S. government publications see the GPO's Catalog of Government Publications.