Skip to Main Content
University of Phoenix logo
University Library

Find Industry Statistics

Statistics versus Data

We see the terms data and statistics used interchangeably, but there is a distinction. Data is the raw information from which statistics are created. Alternatively, statistics are a summary or interpretation of data. Examples of statistics that can help you understand the industry include average industry production levels, annual sales, and market size.

Before you start: Things to consider

  • Time frame. Are you looking for a specific point in time or changes over time? Some sources will provide one or both. Do you need historical information? Be prepared to see a time lag on much of the information, especially data collected by government agencies.
  • Publisher. Statistical information is produced by a few main types of publishers:
    • Government Agencies. The U.S. federal government is one of the largest collectors of statistical data. For state, regional, and local information, consider checking state government sites. Many commerce agencies/departments will collect data on industries critical to the state economy.
    • Non-Government Organizations. Independent non-commercial and nonprofit organizations collect and publish statistics that support their mission. Examples include the International Monetary Fund, the Pew Research Center, and the United Nations.
    • Private Sector. Commercial firms collect and publish data to sell. This information is almost always fee-based. The library subscribes to various databases that include some of their reports. Check out our Find Industry Profiles guide for tips and links to finding resources that contain industry statistics.
    • Academic Institutions. Academic research projects funded by public and private foundations create a wealth of data. For example, the University of Missouri's Center for Applied Research and Engagement System collects, analyzes, and maps data relating to the environment, economy, education, and more.
  • Location. Data is collected using political boundaries (nation, state, county, school district, etc.) and by census/geographical boundaries (metropolitan statistical areas, statistical areas, etc.). When comparing statistics, you will want to compare the areas consistently (for example, the Phoenix metro area versus the City of Phoenix).

Finding Industry Statistics

Industry statistics can be found in both company and industry reports, so you may want to check both. If you are comparing a specific company to an industry, search for reports using that company's name or ticker. If you are doing industry analysis, you may want to identify one or more of the larger companies in the industry and comb through their reports for industry data.

The first place to start looking for industry statistics will be in industry profiles. Other sources of statistics include trade associations, investment reports, and consulting publications (note: most consulting firms will charge for in-depth industry profiles, but many offer overviews on their websites).

For specific details on databases and internet resources containing industry profiles, see our guide Find Industry Profiles.

In the Library

In U.S. Government Databases

The federal government is a credible and prolific supplier of industry and market statistics. Data is collected by almost all the federal government's bureaus, agencies, and departments. Some of the major data sources are listed below, but you should check the departments that regulate your industry (for example, check the U.S. Department of Transportation website for air transportation data). Check out our guides on Statistical Information and Government Sources for referrals to various government websites.

bar graphs and charts

Ask Us!

Have a question or need help?

Related Guides