Learning Exercise

Using the Census of Manufacturers to Gather Information on Business Markets

This assignment requires that the student access information from the Census of Manufacturers. Because the students are required to record information based on their last names, the instructor is assured that each student does his/her own work. There is a great deal of data available in the Census and this exercise makes the student look up NAICS (North American Industrial Classification System) codes and find places in the Census where production is reported
Course: Business Marketing

This site contains a great deal of information about the Population as well as the Business Sector. The Census of... see more


This exercise will familiarize you with the new North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS), demonstrate how it compares to the old Standard Industrial Classification System (SICS), and accustom you to how to search for information.

In the following steps, I will use myself as the example, and will enter information relevant to my last name, Swift. In quotations is the information that I would record with my last name. Underlined words are the clicks that you make as you go through the assignment. Ready?

1. Go to the Census of Manufacturers (www.census.gov)

2. On the homepage look under Business and click on NAICS
(North American Industrial Classification System.

3. Read the first several paragraphs to find out about NAICS.

4. Now, let's find a NAICS code. Click NAICS Search in the left column.

5. To individualize the assignment, look for the first three letters
of your last name (i.e. ?Swi?) and click Search.

6. Find an industry that interests you in the left column. For instance, "Swine feed supplements,
concentrates and premixes, manufacturer".
Record the following:

  • a. Index entry - i.e. "Swine feed supplements, concentrates and premixes, manufacturer"
  • b. NAICS Code - i.e. "311119"
  • c. US NAICS Title - i.e. "Other Animal Food Manufacturer"

7. Click on NAICS->SIC at the top right in Yellow. This will let you know what the previous SIC
code was. First click on the 2 digit code, i.e. "31-33 Manufacturing"; then click on the 3 digit code, i.e. "Food
Manufacturing". Find the NAICS code you identified in 6b above, i.e. "311119".
Record the following:

  • a. SIC Code - i.e. "2048";

  • b. Description - i.e. "Prepared Feeds and Feed Ingredients for Animals and Fowls"

8. Now go back to the original home page: http://www.census.gov

9. Let's look up what the Value of Shipments for the Swine feed supplements, etc. Industry were. Click on Business - Economic Census

10. Find the first two digits of the NAICS code under "Industry Series" i.e. "31-33"

11. To obtain the latest figures, Click Latest results - 1997 in the left column.

12. Check to see if the 1997 figures are available yet. (If not, you will have to go to the Latest results - 1992, and in place of 1997 and 1992 below, record 1992 and 1987)

13. Click on the two digit NAICS industry, i.e. Manufacturing

14. Click on the three digit industry, i.e. Food Manufacturing

15. Check to see if a six digit industry is available, i.e. 311119 - Other
Animal Food
. Click on this. It will take you to the Other Animal Food Manufacturing Industry Series Report. Read some of this information to find out more about the Census. There are a number of reports on this industry. You can page through them to see the detailed information collected by the government.

16. Page through the tables until you come to Table 6A. Look for the 6 digit number, i.e. "311119 - Other Animal Food Products". Record the following:

  • a. Value of Product Shipments in thousands for 1997, i.e. "$17,776,726"

  • b. Value of Product Shipments in thousands for 1992, i.e. "NA"

17. Page down through the table and find the original description you had recorded in 6A above. Record the following:

  • a. NAICS Code, i.e. "311119D" for "Swine feed supplements, concentrates and premixes, manufacturer"

  • b. Value of Product Shipments in thousands for 1997, i.e. "$981,825"

  • c. Value of Product Shipments in thousands for 1992, i.e. "$1,181,000"

CONGRATULATIONS! You have managed to navigate some of the
detailed reports of the Census of Manufacturers.



Technical Notes

To read the actual Census data, Adobe Acrobat is required. It is downloadable from the Census site.


Students should be familiar with NAICS codes.


1. Secondary Marketing Research
2. NAICS codes

Learning Objectives

1. To learn how to navigate the Census data for specific information.
2. To realize how much detailed data is reported by the government.