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Industry statistics are compilations of data taken from numerous companies. Companies are grouped into defined industries by a primary product or activity, such as snack food manufacturing or medical services. The collected data is used to represent an average trend for each industry in a number of areas, including gross sales and cost of raw materials. Industry statistics are used by companies as a benchmark to assess individual performance. The desired performance level typically is at or above the industry average.
Depending upon their main production activity, companies are classified into industry sectors and sub-sectors. For example, a manufacturer of potato chips might be classified into the general industry of manufacturing and the sub-sector of food manufacturing. The industry statistics for both the main and sub-sector industries will include data obtained from the individual potato chips manufacturer. Statistics for those industries will include data obtained from direct and indirect competitors as well. A direct competitor might include a company that manufacturers another brand of potato chips while an indirect competitor might include a manufacturer of crackers and cookies.
The data that is obtained from all of the companies who participate in an industry's principal activity is complied into an aggregate or average figure. This average figure represents the industry trend. Industry statistics can be displayed as percentages or numerical figures. These statistics provide investors and analysts with an overview of how a particular industry is performing as whole. Analysts can view the averages to get an idea of how one industry compares to another, as well as how a sub-sector compares to the overall industry category.
Individual companies often use industry statistics as a way of identifying strengths and weaknesses. For example, if the average industry worker is putting in 40 hours per week and the average company worker is putting in 50 hours per week, this might indicate a need to restructure job responsibilities. Likewise, comparing the average work-related injuries for the industry against company specific data can help identify the need for potential safety improvements.
Personnel areas that are typically represented in industry statistics include average compensation, new job openings, layoffs, hiring and termination activity and the unemployment rate. Data is collected on the types of job positions that are available in each industry and how many individuals are employed in each position. Product or service pricing data is compiled, including percentage changes.
The types of companies featured in each industry are also included in an industry overview. The number of private companies versus government agencies is compared, along with the amount of workers who work for each type. Sub-sector statistics frequently feature the same categories.