Industry and globalisation

Overview of Industrial Statistics at the OECD



Annual business survey data

Most countries carry out annual business surveys, supplementing them with censuses and with administrative sources. The OECD Statistics Directorate collects such data via a joint OECD/ UNIDO questionnaire and publishes them as Structural Statistics for Industry and Services (SSIS). For a wide range of variables, it presents manufacturing data at a very detailed level (four-digit) of ISIC Rev. 3, as well as service sectors at the three-digit level of ISIC. SSIS is used for analysis and indicator development at a very detailed level of ISIC within countries.

Annual National Accounts

National accounts are an attempt to provide balanced accounts to describe a nation's economy (usually according to international standards such as SNA93) and are compiled from a wide range of data sources with adjustments and estimations made by national experts where necessary. For activity data, much use is made of information from annual business surveys and/or censuses, short-term indicators of industrial activity (in particular the price information as a basis for estimating output volumes by industry -- see above), as well as labour force surveys, business registers, income surveys and input-output tables . National Accounts are traditionally considered more internationally comparable but lack the fine level of activity detail characteristic of business survey data. The OECD publishes national accounts by broad activities (31 ISIC Rev. 3 activity groups) within Volume II of National Accounts of OECD Countries . Greater activity detail for services on a national accounts basis are provided in Services: Statistics on Value-added and Employment.

Some differences between national accounts and annual business survey statistics

  • Coverage: business surveys typically cover establishments and/or enterprises above a certain size limit (with more than a certain number of employees or, less frequently, with a turnover above a certain level). Threshholds may vary across countries. Most countries perform further adjustments, for example: i) for years when full censuses are not performed, survey results are adjusted according to the latest census; ii) the surveys are supplemented with information from business registers or other sources to cover small firms. Establishments with no employees are generally not covered. Where an establishment/enterprise performs activities that cover more than one ISIC sector, it is allocated to ISIC according to its primary activity (typically determined by value-added contribution). In National Accounts, attempts are made to get a more complete picture of industrial activity consistent with other SNA93 accounts (e.g. expenditure GDP) through the use of data coming from a variety of alternative sources (see above). However, adjustments and estimations carried out in countries may differ.
  • Employment figures for a particular industry are often lower in SSIS than in National Accounts where labour force surveys are typically used to determine employment for the total and broad activities.
  • Value-added from manufacturing surveys can be greater than that on a National Accounts basis since at an establishment level only materials and energy are recorded as intermediate inputs. Also, valuation of value-added measured in surveys may differ from that presented in National Accounts.
  • Volume and price information is generally not available from annual business surveys while being a fundamental element of National Accounts.

The OECD's STAN database for industrial analysis

In general, STAN attempts to combine the perceived international comparability of National Accounts and the detail of annual business surveys to provide a comprehensive data set for analysing and comparing industrial performance across countries at a relatively detailed level of activity. STAN is primarily based on Member countries' annual National Accounts by activity tables which are often available only at relatively aggregate levels -- although many countries now provide estimates at the two-digit level of ISIC Rev. 3 / NACE Rev. 1. STAN uses data compiled in SSIS to make estimates for detailed sectors not available in National Accounts. Also, since short-term indicators (IIS) are more timely than National Accounts and business survey results, they are occasionally used in STAN to make estimates for more recent years (nowcasts).