Skip Navigation Links and Jump to Page Content  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
Business Reference Services (Science, Technology, and Business Division)
  Home >> Guides >> BERA >>
   Issue 9, Summer/Fall 2007

Industry Sources - United States Government

    Overview             Dept. of Agriculture
           Bureau of Economic Analysis    
Census Bureau     Internal Revenue Service
    Federal Communications Commission



The United States government is an excellent source of information on industries. The U.S. Census Bureau is one of the prime government sources of business information and below are listed 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. For example, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Agriculture all produce industry data in connection with carrying out their missions that may prove useful to the business researcher.

U.S. Bureau of the Census

The Census Bureau is the largest single U.S. government agency producing business data. In addition, it also disseminates data from other agencies through sources like the Statistical Abstract of the United States (official version ceased with publication of the 2012 edition). Below are described some of the major business-related series issued by this agency.

BERA - Business & Economics Research Advisor - A Quarterly Guide to Business & Economics Topics

Issue 9/10: Summer/Fall 2007
Updated January 2013

Guide to Industry Research

Table of Contents

Basic Strategies
Classification Codes
Industry Sources - United States Government
Industry Sources - General
Industry Sources - Historical

Smoke stack of TVA chemical plant, 1942
Image (above):
Smoke stack of TVA chemical plant, 1942.
FSA-OWI Collection
Prints and Photographs Division
Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-fsac-1a35277

Economic Census

This Census began in 1930 and was produced at varying intervals until 1967. Since that date it has been issued once every five years. Additional information on the history of the Economic Census can be found in a short guide External Link from Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network. The Economic Census shows data on the national and state level. The Bureau web page has data from the Censuses for 1992, 1997, and 2002 (and going forward).

Information is shown by industry code — NAICS from the 1997 Census forward and SIC for prior years — and geographically by state with SIC/NAICS breakdowns. In addition to displaying data by industry codes, the Economic Census also shows data by Product Codes that can be even more specific. For example, if one were tracking pharmacies, one would use the SIC/NAICS for independent pharmacies. But to capture those supermarkets with pharmacies, one would use the SIC/NAICS for supermarkets and then look for the product code for those supermarkets that have pharmacies. There are also several subsets of data that are updated more frequently. Those include: the Annual Survey of Manufactures, the Annual Retail Trade Survey, and the Annual Wholesale Trade Survey

Beginning in 1997 data from the Economic Census is available via American Factfinder. While Economic Census data prior to 2007 was released in multiple formats and is still available, beginning with the 2007 Economic Census, data is only disseminated through American FactFinder. There is a User Guide tab with helpful information that includes important concepts and how to use the data.

Additional online sources for Economic Census data include:

Business & Industry

Economic Census By Year (1977 to 2012)

Current Industrial Reports (CIR)

These reports contain monthly, quarterly, and annual measures of industrial activity (production and shipments) for many years. The CIR is organized by Subject and Subsector.

Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM)

Covers the industries of manufacturing, mining, and construction. Data on the web site begins with 1997. While the ASM predominantly focuses on manufacturing, it also includes construction information such as residential construction and sales as well as mining information by state/industry.

Retail Trade

The Annual Retail Trade Survey is a subset of the Economic Census that covers retail trade. The web site contains data back to approximately 1992.

Wholesale Trade

This web site provides data on wholesale sales, inventories, and inventories/sales ratios going back to approximately 1992.

Transportation and Warehousing

This page leads to quarterly, annual and other data sources from Census for transportation and warehousing service industries that provide national estimates of revenue, employment, capital expenditures, vehicle fleet inventories and more. Data goes back to approximately 1997 on the web site.

Annual and Quarterly Services Surveys

The Service Annual Survey is sampling of the service industries that includes: arts, healthcare, transportation, administration and support, waste management, professional and technical, rental and leasing, among others. Some of the archived reports on the web page go back to 1994.

County Business Patterns

This annual series, which has been published since 1964, provides sub-national economic data by industry. The series is useful for studying the economic activity of small areas; analyzing economic changes over time; and as a benchmark for statistical series, surveys, and databases between economic censuses. See the CBP data page for information on accessing the data.

E-Commerce Statistics (E-STATS)

This site is devoted exclusively to "Measuring the Electronic Economy." It includes recent and upcoming releases, information on methodology, background papers and statistical data.


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. Statistics of Income bulletins go back to 1981 and have articles, often with tables, on a variety of topics that are derived from the data gathered from tax filings.
Provides information on corporations based on their tax filings and will be quite general by sector/industry. The information is often published as articles in the Statistics of Income and later in the IRS Data Book.


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 the major area, but one can also find information on travel/tourism and transportation.

There is also Gross State Product information in the Regional section and Trade in Goods and Services in the International section.

The BEA has 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 are written related to the data they have collected including regular articles on Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts, motor vehicles, and Commodity by Industry data.


Most of what can be found through the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is related to crop production. 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, the Foreign Agricultural Service, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

There is also some marketing/sales information as well as statistical data in the Agricultural Outlook Forum.


The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is responsible for regulation of communications companies. This office also has statistical reports which include 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. This Bureau has a searchable database.

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


County Business Patterns. Compiled by the Bureau of Old-Age and Survivors
Insurance of the Social Security Administration, Federal Security Agency. Washington, D.C. :
Office of Domestic Commerce, U.S. Dept. of Commerce : For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S.
G.P.O., 1948-1963.
LC Call Number: HC101 .A184
LC Catalog Record: 49045747
This title is quite confusing. See the catalog record for more information. The volumes for 1948-1962 were issued in several parts. The 1948 volume was issued by the Bureau of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance; volumes for 1949-1959 were issued by the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, while those for 1962 were issued by the Bureau of the Census. In 1982 the title was continued by a series of annual serials issued under the same common title, devoted to each of the States, Puerto Rico and outlying areas, and a U.S. summary volume.
Frequency: Triennial, 1956-1962; Annual, 1948-1953.
Industry Research Using the Economic Census : How to Find It, How to Use It.
Jennifer C. Boettcher and Leonard M. Gaines. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2004.
LC Call Number: HC101 .B594 2004
LC Catalog Record: 2004008607
Table of contents
There is a brief history of the Census as well as a overview of the NAICS system. Also included is a look at specific industries: agriculture, transportation & warehousing, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, etc.
Internal Revenue Service Data Book. Washington, DC : The Service : For sale
by the U.S. G.P.O., Supt. of Docs., [1995 to the present]
LC Call Number: KF6301.A15 I57
LC Catalog Record: 96646431
The title continues in part the Annual Report by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service.
Statistics of Income Bulletin. Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service.
Washington, D.C. : Dept. of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Statistics Division,
1981 to the present.
LC Call Number: HJ4653.S7 S73
LC Catalog Record: 81649949
Available online (1981-)
Created from the merger of: Statistics of income, preliminary. Individual income tax returns (Washington, D.C. : 1980); Statistics of income, preliminary. Business income tax returns, sole proprietorships, partnerships; and: Statistics of income, preliminary. Corporation income tax returns (Washington, D.C. : 1981).
Absorbed: Statistics of income. Partnership returns (1977); and: Statistics of income. Sole proprietorship returns.
Statistics of income. Corporation Income Tax Returns. Washington, D.C. : U.S. Dept.
of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service : For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O.,
1957- present.
LC Call Number: HJ4653.C7 A3
LC Catalog Record: 61037568
Preliminary statistics issued in: Statistics of income, preliminary. Corporation income tax returns (Washington, D. C. : 1957), 1954-196 ; Preliminary statistics of income. Corporation income tax returns, 196 -1976; and: Statistics of income, preliminary. Corporation income tax returns, (Washington, D. C. : 1981), 1977. More detailed statistics are available in: Source book of statistics of income, <1954>-1963/1964; and: Source book of statistics of income. Active corporation income tax returns, 1964/1965- Guide to documentation available in: Statistics of income. Corporation income tax returns. Documentation guide. Indexes: 1958-1968, and 1964-1973.

Last Updated: 06/06/2018

Top of Page Top of Page
  Home >> Guides >> BERA >>
   Issue 9, Spring/Fall 2007
  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  June 6, 2018
Legal | External Link Disclaimer

Contact Us:  
Ask a Librarian