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CHE 432: Principles of Chemical Engineering Design

Library and internet resources for CHE 432 assignments.


Economic Indicators are used to judge the health of an industry or market segment.   Indicators vary from industry to industry and some may fall out of favor.  The first resource listed below, Chemical Engineering (magazine), is the source of the most well know economic indicators used in chemical engineering.   

How to Intrepret a Cost Index

A cost index shows the change in cost over a span of time.  

The index will always have a date for the base figure of 100.  The numbers in the table can be thought of as percentages representing how the cost has risen or fallen when compared to the base. 

So if the index indicates that 2007 is the base (i.e., 100) and for 2013 the index is "134", then the 2013 cost was 34% higher than the base point.   If instead, the 2013 cost was 94, that would indicate that the cost had fallen 6% from the base.

Chemical Engineering (magazine)

Chemical Engineering
Contains a monthly column called "Economic Indicators" which includes:

  • Business News such as mergers, acquisitions, and manufacturing plants
  • Chemical Engineering Plant Cost Index (CEPCI)
  • Current Business Indicators for the chemical process industries such output index, output $, operating rate, producer prices, hourly earnings index, and productivity index.
  • Marshall and Swift Equipment Cost Index
    Note: This index was dropped from Chemical Engineering in early 2012 and is not available in any other publication. 
  • Current Trends 

To find the Economic Indicators column, go to the ABI/Inform database, and do an "Advanced Search" for




Producers Price Index

Producers Price Index  (US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
"... measures the average change over time in the selling prices received by domestic producers for their output. The prices included in the PPI are from the first commercial transaction for many products and some services." 

To find the PPI, in the left column, click on "PPI Databases", then select the "One Search Screen" icon for either the Industry Data or Commodity Data.

  • In the Industry Data section, in the first menu box, the major chemical industries are listed starting with #325, however, browse the other areas to see if other categories are more appropriate for your assignment.   Once you have selected an industry in the first menu box, the second menu box will display a further revision of that category - if one of these subdivision more closely relates to your assignment, select that item.  Finally, click on the gray "Get Data" button in the lower left of the screen.

  • In the Commodity Data section, in the first menu box, group # 06 is for chemicals, however, browse some of the other groups to see if another category may be more appropriate for your assignment.  Once you have selected a commodity group from the first menu, the second menu box will display a further breakdown of that group; select the most appropriate items from the menu and click on the gray "Get Data" button in the lower left of the screen.  

Need More Help?

Having trouble with any of the resources on this guide? 

Contact your librarians with related expertise, OR use the ASU Library's "Ask a Librarian" service.

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