USA Today's Paul Overberg provides a step-by-step guide for finding and cataloging government data.

The U.S. Census Bureau's newly overhauled Web portal houses the Economic Census of 2007, the last exhaustive inventory of U.S. businesses. Learn how to use it to be ready when 2012 Economic Census data arrive late in 2013.

You can download local data on employment, payroll and size of establishments for broad industry categories, such as retailing, represented by two- and three-digit codes in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). For some locales, there are data offering very detailed breakdowns within an industry using six-digit NAICS codes. Within retailing, an example would be children's shoe stores.

The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism provides free training and resources for journalists hoping to enrich their business and economic reporting.

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