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How to Connect Industries to Actual Businesses

One of the challenges in working with labor market information (LMI) is that at some point we have to make a jump from the structured categories of Industries and Occupations to the actual companies employing those jobs. LMI on its own doesn’t make this leap for us, and not surprisingly, since many government sources collect data under an agreement that company specific info won’t be leaked. Many sources actively suppress data when it could easily be tied back to a particular business, so connecting what we find in an industry table to the actual businesses on the ground is no small feat.

Thankfully, there are a few ways to approach this. We’ll look at two methods for going from industry figures to business names.


One of the most straightforward ways to do this is to use DatabaseUSA, Emsi’s data partner for business level data. This approach is most helpful when you’re starting with industry figures and then need to drill down to specific businesses. The advantage of this method is ease; at the bottom of every Industry Overview report you’ll find the ‘Top Regional Businesses’ section, listing businesses that DatabaseUSA has found and connected with your target industry. The downside is that DatabaseUSA doesn’t use the same industry codes and categories, and their collection practices differ significantly from Emsi’s  We have an article on those details here, but in a nutshell, DatabaseUSA and Emsi collect their numbers from completely different sources AND group them differently, and it can be confusing to see mismatched numbers.


This approach is helpful when you start with a company name and need to know what industry it falls into. Manta has proven to be a helpful and reliable resource for Emsi staff when helping our customers with this type of question, but it also has its weaknesses. Ideally, when you search for a business on Manta you get a ‘Detailed Information’ fact box near the bottom which handily includes a NAICS code:


Unfortunately, not all businesses have this NAICS code listed. Manta gets this info from a combination of public records, including company financials; trade records; business registrations; and government registries; AND user (typically the business owner) submitted info. In practice, we’ve found Manta to be a good resource that’s easy to use and usually helpful in tying a business name to its appropriate industry.

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Let us know what specific questions we can help you with (we may even add your question to our knowledge base).