Company and Industry
The first thing you need to determine in seeking information on U.S. companies is whether or not they are publicly owned. A considerably larger amount of information is available for publicly owned companies, because they are required to file financial reports with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), because they publish Annual Reports for stockholders, and because the financial press publishes frequent progress reports for investors.
There are several places you can look to determine whether or not a company is publicly owned. Here’s one source: Mergent Online
Mergent Online lists companies, public and private, and provides information as to ownership, ticker symbol, exchange, SIC (Standard Industrial Classification Numbers/Codes), corporate officers, location, financials, and much more.
Another good source for this information is Million Dollar Database
Some of the other electronic resources listed also include public/private ownership information. Once you've determined whether or not a company is publicly owned, you'll be able to find additional information in the following resources:
The most current information available on local area demographics is available via the U.S. Census Web page. You will find some useful information on local area demographics and businesses in the following print-on-paper publications in the Library Reference area.
- Downstate Illinois Business Directory. REF. HF5068.13 .D68
- Gale Directory of Publications And Broadcast Media. REF. HF5861 .G2
- Illinois Services Directory. REF. HC107.I3 I62
- The Lifestyle Market Analyst. REF. HF5415.33 .U6L54
- Peoria (Peoria County, Ill.) City Directory. REF. F549.P4 A18
Publicly Owned Companies
- Mergent Online is the electronic replacement for the Moody's and Mergent manuals. It includes information on public, privante, and international companies.
- NYSE is the home page for the New York Stock Exchange.
- NASDAQ is the home page for the NASDAQ exchange (formerly called the OTC or “Over the Counter” exchange.)
- SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) EDGAR database (publicly-owned company, financial filings.)
Privately Held Companies & Non-Profit Organizations
- Encyclopedia of Associations. REF. HS17.G3
- Cumulative List of Organizations
- International Directory of Company Histories
Publicly Owned & Privately Held Companies
The Wall Street Journal (current issues are in the Newspaper area on the 2nd floor) The Wall Street Journal is a daily newspaper devoted to business news. WSJ (1982+) is indexed in ABI/INFORM.
The following resources are useful for industry & environmental analyses. Significantly more information is available for large industries (e.g. aircraft, automotive, publishing, etc.) Much of the available information is drawn from reports filed by publicly owned corporations, so knowing the names of major companies in the industry will be useful in doing research. For smaller industries, or for industries composed primarily of small businesses (for instance restaurants, day care centers, and/or fitness clubs) most of the information you will find will either be for a group of miscellaneous industries or will be narrative (e.g. articles in business and industry magazines.)
Industries are classified for statistical purposes by the U.S. Commerce Dept. Classification schemes are also available for international industries. Some industry guides are organized by NAICS, SIC or SITC codes, so finding the appropriate code for your industry may be useful for your research. Some industries will only be listed as part of a larger industry (e.g. window washing is under Janitorial Services.) The following guides list and describe industrial classifications.
- North American Industry Classification System: United States. NAICS numbers were devised to take the place of SIC numbers, so that a standard set of numbers could be used in NAFTA member countries. Conversion Tables for NAICS/SIC codes
- Harmonized Tariff Schedule Of The United States International Trade Commission
Industry surveys provide narrative and statistical information about industries. The following guides are primarily useful for finding information on major industries composed of large businesses.
- Business Statistics of the United States. REF. HA 3001 .B875 2007
- Plunkett's Industry Almanacs. Each of the Plunkett's guides includes a chapter on major industry trends, a chapter on careers in the industry, a chapter on international trade, and a chapter on industry outlook for segments of the industry. The largest portion of each of the guides is a listing of the key companies in the industry with rankings, directory and brief financial information, and information on the corporate culture and competitive advantages. Titles and industries covered change from year to year. To find a listing of the Plunkett's guides, search in the Library Catalog under Title for Plunkett's.
- Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys. REF.HC106.6.S74 Updated quarterly - 2011 is the latest year owned.
- The Value Line Investment Survey. REF. HG 4501.V26 Value Line provides current industry information for publicly traded companies at the beginning of each industry section (e.g. prior to company reports on the Maritime Industry is a page of data on the industry.)
Local Area Industry Information
Availability of industry information at the local level is limited, since few local businesses are publicly owned, and those that are publicly owned are likely to be subsidiaries or establishments, rather than company locations. Data from a variety of demographic and economic sources is available, from which a local area industry analysis may be compiled. Following is a list of resources available for the local area:
- Economic Census data is available by subject, industry, and geographic area. The Geographic Area series includes reports by industry for the state of Illinois and for the Peoria metro area. The Peoria metro area includes: Peoria County, Woodford County, Tazewell County, Marshall County, and Stark County. The 2007 Economic Census is available on the Census Bureau's web site.
- County Business Patterns is a publication of the U.S. Commerce Department; Bureau of the Census. County Business Patterns provides state, county, metro-area, city, and zip-code level information on business establishments. Data is available only on an aggregate level, due to confidentiality/privacy concerns. County Business Patterns is available on the web.
- The Center for Business & Economic Research (a Business Center of the Foster College of Business Administration) conducts the Peoria area Consumer Confidence Survey and compiles a variety of local area economic information, much of which is available on their website, at: CBER
- The U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) Bearfacts provides national and regional economic data.
- The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity maintains a website including links to business and demographic data for the state: Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
- The Journal Indexes & Databases: Business section of the library's home page includes links to business related databases subscribed to by the Library, many of which allow for geographic limiting of searches.
Non-Profits, Associations, & Other Unusual Industries
Very little industry information may be available for some organizations. If your organization falls into this category, you may find some useful information in the Encyclopedia of Associations ( REF.HS17.G32), in periodicals indexes, and in public relations resources. Keep track of where you've looked; you may want to show that a lack of results doesn't reflect a lack of effort on your part.
U.S. Commerce Department (The Economic Census & County Business Patterns)
Economic Census surveys are done every five years. For tips on using Economic Census data, see:
- Industry Research Using the Economic Census: How To Find It, How To Use It. REF. HC101.B594 2004.
- The Industry Series reports
- County Business Patterns(including some zip code level data)
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides industry statistics relating to employment, with most statistical series being updated annually
Financial Statements handbooks are used to find out what the industry standards are or to compare a particular corporation's operating costs and sales figures against their industry. They vary in organization, specificity of information and the number of industries covered. We maintain a collection of print-on-paper financial statement handbooks from the years prior to 2009. For more recent information, use BizMiner.
- RMA Annual Statement Studies (Robert Morris Associates) REF.HF5681.B2 R6
- Industry Norms and Key Business Ratios. (Dun & Bradstreet) REF.HF5681.R25I525
- Almanac of Business and Industrial Financial Ratios. REF.HF5681.R25T68