When measuring business, a statistic may only be meaningful if compared to another. It could be compared to the corresponding figure for another entity, such as another country or industry, or to the same measurement taken earlier. When businesses compare a measurement to a series of the same stat, they can identify a trend. Trend research and analysis allow companies to assess their work and predict future business. Emerging Trends are watched carefully in every industry and for general commerce.
Following Emerging Trends in Business Research
(i) Stock Indexes
Stock indexes indicate the health of the stock market. One of the most important is the Standard and Poor’s 500. Standard and Poor’s chooses 500 stocks to create the index, which is a proxy for the entire stock market. Another often-quoted index is the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Dow Jones & Company includes 30 large, frequently traded stocks in its sample to measure the stock market. They’re issued by companies that are leaders in their industries. These indexes change whenever one of the stocks is traded–i.e., nearly constantly. Historical data for each is widely available for trend analysis.
(ii) Monthly and Annual Retail Trade Reports
The U.S. Census Bureau releases aggregate monthly and annual trade reports for the nation. They’re useful for evaluating business activity by industry. Data from the last 10 years is available online, allowing the researcher to identify long-term trends.
(iii) Employment Statistics
Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes employment statistics for the previous month, and these are crucial data. The BLS defines the labor force as made up of unemployed people over the age of 16 who are seeking employment. The BLS measures the work force in many ways. It releases the overall figure for unemployment, which is closely monitored by economists and the business community. An unemployment rate over 10 percent is undesirable. The labor force is also measured by demographics, earnings hours worked and participation–i.e., the percentage of the total population in the labor force.
(iv) Consumer Confidence
A research organization called the Conference Board measures the public’s opinion of the economy, as well as its expectations of the future economy. It publishes an aggregate figure of the Consumer Confidence Index in its Consumer Confidence Survey. Also included in the survey are figures measuring more specific attitudes, such as the short-term outlook, job prospects and assessment of present conditions.
(v) Gross Domestic Product
An economy’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is one of the most important macro-indicators of business activity. This figure represents the sum of all products–good and services–produced in the economy. The Real GDP adjusts the GDP for inflation for a more precise measure. Economist calculate the GDP of all countries and U.S. states. According to The World Bank, in 2009 the U.S. had a GDP of 14,256,300–nearly 25 percent of the world GDP.