Solid market and business information is available from a multitiude of published sources. A few useful ones are noted here, but this list only scratches the surface.
Finding Key People: Linked-In is THE professional networking tool for the business and marketing community. Especially efficient way to locate and contact people within specific companies.
Industry Newsletters – These two cover the chemicals and plastics industries, largely from a US point of view. Many others are available … these are free and convenient.
Industry Blogs are everywhere. Here are a couple of fairly recent ones that seems to cover a great number of industry, market, and business topics.
Stay on the cutting edge of scientific discovery with a daily dose of short, readable synopses touching the breadth of science and technology.
US Federal government resources – The Departments of Commerce, Labor and State provide great sources of high quality information about the US and global economy, businesses and industries. Here are some of the most comprehensive sites. Experts within these bureaucracies are extremely accessible, extremely knowledgeable, and eager to help.
http://www.nist.gov/index.html National Institute of Science & Technology
http://www.bea.gov/ Bureau of Economic Analysis US - Economy by state, industry, metro area, etc
http://www.census.gov/econ/www/index.html Census Bureau economic programs by NAICS
http://www.export.gov Information about foreign markets, written for US exporters
http://www.bls.gov/ Dept Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics – Wealth of data about employment by industry, state, etc
http://www.state.gov/business/ State Department country and regional profiles.