Professional and trade associations are organizations of people who share some common interest such as working in the same industry or occupation. There is at least one trade association for every major industry. They are important for industry and market research, because they gather data, conduct studies, and highlight major issues. Some of this information is available to the general public for no charge, and some is available only to members.
The National Restaurant Association, or example, compiles industry statistics and makes forecasts. Some of this data is available for free in print, in webcasts, and in podcasts, and some must be purchased.
Key associations can be found by guessing their title or by consulting directories listed below.