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Doing Industry Research

Other Agencies

Bureau of Economic Analysis

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), like Census, is part of the Department of Commerce. Generally, the information published by this office is related to National Accounts data. However, the agency does have some industry-related data. GDP by Industry is where a lot of the data is, but information on travel/tourism and transportation is frequently pulled out because it is often related international activity that still impacts the U.S. economy.

The International section also has Gross State Product information in the Regional section and Trade in Goods and Services.

The BEA does have historical Interactive Data that can go back quite far depending on how far a particular statistic was tracked. Also, the BEA publishes the Survey of Current Business and has digitized content for this title going back to 1921 (some of the articles are redirected to the St. Louis Federal Reserve FRASER project). Most articles in this publication are related to the data they have collected including regular articles on Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts, motor vehicles, and Commodity by Industry data.

Department of Agriculture

Most of what can be found through the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is related to crop production and livestock. So for example, you won't find information on the market for wheat or corn, but will find numbers for the production of wheat and corn. The USDA provides data/statistics through the Economic Research Service (ERS), the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), and the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Also, look for the Publications and the Data Visulization tools though the Economic Research Service. There is also some marketing/sales information as well as statistical data in the Agricultural Outlook Forum.

Energy

There are several government agencies to look at related to the energy: the Department of Energy and in particular their Energy Information Administration, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Energy Information Administration (EIA)

The EIA is part of the Department of Energy and is responsible for compiling and producing the statistics generated through the agency's data collection. Data often includes consumption, price, storage reports, capacity information, supplier information, etc. Topics are focused on the U.S. but there is international information and data as well. It also produces regular publications. It covers:

  • Electricity
  • Natural Gas
  • Petroleum & other liquids
  • Coal
  • Renewables
  • Nuclear & Uranium

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

FERC is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil, and electricity. FERC also regulates natural gas and hydropower projects. See the Market Oversight tab on the homepage for relevant information as well as the Industry activities under each of the Industries.

  • Electric: FERC is responsible for regulating interstate transmission rates and services, wholesale energy rates and services, corporate transactions, mergers, and securities issued by public utilities.
  • Hydropower: FERC is responsible for licensing of nonfederal hydroelectric projects, overseeing related environmental matters, and inspecting nonfederal hydropower projects for safety conditions and compliance with license terms and conditions.
  • Natural Gas: FERC is responsible for regulating interstate transportation rates and services for natural gas pipelines, the construction of natural gas pipelines, and overseeing related environmental matters.
  • Oil: FERC is responsible for regulating interstate transportation rates and services of crude oil and petroleum products.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was created as an independent agency by Congress in 1974 to ensure the safe use of radioactive materials for beneficial civilian purposes. The NRC regulates commercial nuclear power plants and other uses of nuclear materials, such as in nuclear medicine, through licensing, inspection and enforcement of its requirements. They maintain a Facility Locator as well as produce data and information on nuclear reactors and materials.

Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is responsible for the regulation of communications companies. They also produce statistical reports/data including Annual International Telecommunications Data, Trends in the International Telecommunications Industry, Media Reports on the Cable Industry, etc. There are three separate Bureaus that are most relevant — Media, Wireless Telecommunications, and Wireline Competition. Each has data/information specific for the Bureau and includes latest headlines.

The Media Bureau develops, recommends and administers the policy and licensing programs relating to electronic media, including cable television, broadcast television, and radio in the United States and its territories. The Industry Analysis Division conducts and participates in proceedings regarding media ownership and the economic aspects of existing and proposed rules and policies and includes some Merger & Acquisitions information.

The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) handles nearly all FCC domestic wireless telecommunications programs, policies, and outreach initiatives. Wireless communications services include amateur, cellular, paging, broadband Personal Communication Services (PCS), public safety, and more.

The Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) develops and recommends policy goals, objectives, programs and plans for the Commission on matters concerning wireline telecommunications.

Food & Drug Administration

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is part of the Department of Health & Human Services. The scope of FDA’s regulatory authority is very broad and its responsibilities are closely related to those of other government agencies. The following is a list of traditionally-recognized product categories that fall under FDA’s regulatory jurisdiction but this is not an exhaustive list. In general, FDA regulates:

  • Foods, including: dietary supplements, bottled water, food additives, infant formulas, other food products (although the U.S. Department of Agriculture plays a lead role in regulating aspects of some meat, poultry, and egg products)
  • Drugs, including: prescription drugs (both brand-name and generic) and non-prescription (over-the-counter) drugs
  • Biologics, including: vaccines, blood and blood products, cellular and gene therapy products, tissue and tissue products, allergenics
  • Medical Devices, including: simple items like tongue depressors and bedpans, complex technologies such as heart pacemakers, dental devices
  • Surgical implants and prosthetics
  • Electronic Products that give off radiation, including: microwave ovens, x-ray equipment, laser products, ultrasonic therapy equipment, mercury vapor lamps, sunlamps
  • Cosmetics, including: color additives found in makeup and other personal care products, skin moisturizers and cleansers, nail polish and perfume
  • Veterinary Products, including: livestock feeds, pet foods, veterinary drugs and devices,Tobacco Products, including: cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, smokeless tobacco

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is an independent agency created by the Congress in 1933 to maintain stability and public confidence in the nation's financial system by:

  • Insuring deposits.
  • Examining and supervising financial institutions for safety and soundness and consumer protection.
  • Making large and complex financial institutions resolvable.
  • Managing receiverships.

It is good for those doing industry research into banks because it produces statistics, reports/analysis, and runs an institution directory that has information on bank histories and financial information.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

For anyone interested in the healthcare industry data on Medicare will be essential. Coverage by provider type includes:

  • All Fee-For-Service Providers
  • Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC)
  • Ambulance Services
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Clinical Labs
  • Critical Access Hospitals
  • Durable Medical Equipment (DME)
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC)
  • Home Health Agency (HHA)
  • Hospice
  • Hospital
  • Practice Administration
  • Pharmacist
  • Physician
  • Rural Health Clinics
  • Skilled Nursing Facility

There are research projects and statistics including Health Plans, Reports, Files and Data, Hospital Service Area File, CMS Drug Spending, Medicare Program Rates & Statistics, Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data, National Health Expenditure Data, etc..

Department of Transportation

Anyone doing research on aspects of the transportation industry will want to look at the data gathered by the Department of Transportation (DoT). The DoT has been publishing statistics for decades and has moved to publishing them online at TranStats.

Data is presented by Mode and by Subject.

  • By Mode: Aviation, Maritime, Highway, Transit, Rail, Pipeline, Bike/Pedestrian, Other
  • By Subject: Safety, Freight Transport, Passenger Travel, Infrastructure, Economic/Financial, Social/Demographic, Energy, Environment, National Security

There are a number of surveys and data collection projects that have been done including: American Travel Automobile Driving Cost vs. Public Transit Cost, Employment by Industry & Occupation, etc. Survey, Commodity Flow Survey, Motor Carrier Financial & Operating Information, Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey, Automobile Driving Cost vs. Public Transit Cost, Intermodal Passenger Connectivity, Employment by Industry & Occupation, Air Carrier Financial Reports, Air Carrier Statistics, Airline On-Time Performance Data, Airline Origin and Destination Survey, Vehicle Registration Data, Motor Vehicle Consumer Database, Motor Vehicle Output, etc..

TranStats has some historical data but for those doing research before the 1990's you will need to look at print titles.

International Trade Administration

For anyone researching and industry that needs trade information the International Trade Administration does cover the following industries:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Building Products
  • Construction
  • Consumer Goods
  • E-Commerce
  • Energy
  • Environmental Industries
  • Financial Services
  • Health
  • Information and Telecomm
  • Machinery
  • Metals
  • Textiles and Apparel
  • Service Industries
  • Travel and Tourism

They are responsible for the TradeStats Express system that has national trade data (export/import) as well as state export data. The data is not just current it goes back to the early 2000s.

Securities & Exchange Commission

The mission of the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) is to "protect investors; maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets; and facilitate capital formation."

The SEC website has filings required of publicly traded companies. These filings can be used to find out about the companies that are part of the industry. To learn more about doing company research see the Research the Companies section of this guide.

However, the agency website also has information of interest to the investment industry including:

  • Information About Registered Municipal Advisors: This Excel spreadsheet file contains the names of SEC registered municipal advisor firms (including sole proprietorships), as well as their SEC reporting file numbers and Central Index Key (CIK) numbers.
  • Information About Registered Investment Advisers and Exempt Reporting Advisers: The Investment Adviser Information Reports' data is collected from electronic submissions of Form ADV by investment adviser firms to the Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD) system.

For anyone looking at the commodities industry you will need to look to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission which maintains data and information on those it regulates.

Internal Revenue Service

IRS data in Tax Stats is data derived from tax forms and is often presented by IRS form number. There are Historical Data Tables and an Archive. They also publish a monthly bulletin called Statistics of Income that includes articles, often with tables, on a variety of topics that are derived from the data gathered from tax filings. The tables are grouped into the following categories which are quite general:

  • Sector: 19 categories of industry classification including, but not limited to, Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting; Mining; Utilities; Construction; Manufacturing; and Wholesale and Retail Trade
  • Major industry: consist of 80 sub-sector industries including, but not limited to, three sub-sectors within the Construction sector; twenty sub-sectors within the Manufacturing sector; and sixteen sub-sectors within the Wholesale and Retail Trade sector
  • Minor industry: provide additional industry-level detail below major industries