Business House Research - Resource Guides
Statistics Resource Guide - US Government Websites
This site is the portal to statistics, largely free, from over 100 federal agencies. The straightforward home page immediately gives a choice of access tools. "Topic Links", the index, is perhaps the most direct way to maneuver. There are a couple of ways to access statistics by geography. Data for a range of disciplines can be found by state, county, political division, or by other geographic entities. The data may be from FedStats itself or from other agencies. Users can link to a small collection of federal statistics publications available online, and there's an amazing search engine that can search across all federal agencies.
It is noteworthy that we find here a list of federal agencies with statistical programs, their coverage, and even key statistics. The site, on the whole, is a terrific tool for researchers exploring the federal statistical terrain. It makes locating government data surprisingly straightforward.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis is that agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that profiles the economy through a wide span of data (largely free) on income, output, wealth, flow of products, etc. It measures personal income as well as the Gross Domestic Product. This is all broken down by industry, state and region. It also offers, "on a reimbursable basis", the regional economic multipliers that calculate the effect of change in one industry on another.
International figures are included as well. It is here that you will find the definitive information regarding U.S. direct investment abroad and foreign direct investment in the U. S., as well as the international balance of payments. Material regarding international accounts is detailed by its various elements. The data also covers U.S. affiliates of foreign companies and U.S. multinationals. The site's not difficult to use and for a detailed economic assessment it cannot be faulted.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is that agency of the U.S. Department of Labor that compiles data on the myriad facets of the economy. Its most widely known product, The Consumer Price Index, from which the inflation rate is calculated, is published online monthly; the Web site offers a handy inflation calculator that does the computation. There are a horde of other free stats available here in areas from productivity and wages to unemployment and industry data, often by state or metropolitan area. It is not only US data on the site; a surprising amount of foreign data is online here, including international comparisons of such data as the Consumer Price Index, Gross Domestic Product, and productivity. Data may be selected to create a customized report and accessing the information is straightforward. This data could answer many researchers' needs directly or by inference.
The U.S. Census Bureau is an agency of the Department of Commerce, and an enormously important resource for free and fee-based information. The homepage along with the family of linked pages has enormous value. There is a lengthy and useful "Subjects Index", as well as a page with several tools for searching the site. A page labeled "Data Access Tools" offers "Interactive Internet Tools" (which refers to sub-areas of the site) and downloadable software for specialized use.
Labeled links on the page lead to the enormous wealth of census data, notably those links labeled "People", "Business" and "Geography". Even a relatively minor area such as that labeled "State and County Quick Facts" can be enormously useful when needed. "American Fact Finder" is a portal for population, housing, economic and geographic data. It is a universe of information.
The 1997 Economic Census is the heart of census data for many researchers. There is an astounding amount of information available and the organization of the data is complex to the point of being arcane, but we could not do without it.
It includes industry data for all sectors - summary statistics by industry, and industry statistics by state and zip code, as well data for businesses without paid employees, and a section for "Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses". There are nineteen sector-specific reports composed of digital documents. The heart of these is the set of documents comprising the "Subject Series", where the pithy information regarding receipts and companies is to be found.
There is an important page called "Consolidated List of PDF's" that disentangles the documents by categorizing them into series: "Core Business Statistics Series"; "Subject Series"; "Industry Series" (a nascent area); "Geographical Area Series". To use a single example of the valuable material here: a document called "Company Summary" has aggregate information with U.S. businesses categorized by many different characteristics such as form of organization, industry sector, race, etc.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, of course, is the regulatory organization for the securities market. All American public companies with assets of ten million dollars or more and with 500 or more shareholders are required to file statements electronically. These documents include many of the common financials: annual reports; quarterly statements; proxy statements, etc.
Companies began filing electronically between 1993 and 1996. We can retrieve all these filings directly - and easily - from this Web site. The required filings of foreign companies traded in the U.S. are also available. We can also search mutual fund filings and prospectuses. All the material is free.