Economic, legal, and other external factors

home, industry, company organization, company history, ethics

economic  competitors  raw materials and suppliers  consumers  legal/political technological social/cultural


Federal and state governments are the leading collectors and distributors of economic and demographic statistics. Other organizations that collect such data to a lesser extent are trade associations, trade journals, and some research organizations such as the Conference Board.  Sources on other web pages, such as Industry Definition and Analysis,  discuss key economic variables in particular industries.

Statistical Abstract of the United States
UNI Reference HA 202 U58 
Summarizes economic and other statistics originally reported in various government and private sources. Notes below each table indicate source of data. Serves as guide to other statistical publications.

Bureau of Labor Statistics
This federal agency is the leading provider of statistics on topics such as occupations employed within particular industries, wages by occupation, unemployment, compensation, and productivity for the U.S. as a whole and for regional, state, and local geographic areas. Generally, the smaller the geographic area the less detailed the data.

Consumer Price Indexes
Contains current and historical price data.

Federal Reserve Economic Data  (FRED)
Provides economic time series data on topics such as interest rates, prices, employment, and gross domestic product.

2002 Economic Census
Detailed census of economic sectors such as manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and transportation, conducted every five years by the Census Bureau. Less detailed surveys are conducted between five-year censuses.

Iowa Economy News and Trends
The Iowa Dept. of Economic Development collects and distributes various state and local economic data.


Many of the sources on the industry and company web pages (see links at top of this page) list leading companies in particular industries and products and competitors of specific firms. For example, company entries in Hoover's list a few major competitors. Also, *IBISWorld and *Mintel reports usually list competitors in the industries and product lines they cover.  Finally, if the company is required to file reports with the SEC, the Part 1.,  Item 1. Business section of form 10K reports often discusses competitors and sometimes names them as in this Nike report in Part 1., Item 1.

Raw Materials and Suppliers

Some of the sources on the industry and company web pages (see links at top of this page) list materials consumed in particular industries. For example, Economic Census industry reports like the one for electronic computer manufacturing (table 7) list materials consumed in manufacturing of computers. Similar information is provided in Manufacturing & Distribution U.S.A at UNI Reference HD9721 .M3495.

Also,  if the company is required to file reports with the SEC, the Part 1. Item 1. Business section of form 10K often discusses key raw materials and sometimes names particular suppliers. Sources on the industry and company web pages point to directories of companies in particular industries in particular geographic areas that might supply to a particular firm being studied. 

Local newspapers may have written articles about suppliers to companies in their coverage areas.

Consumers  top

Some of the sources on the industry and web page (see links at top of this page) list materials consumed in particular industries.  *Mintel, *IBISWorld, and *NetAdvantage Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys are three examples of sources that discuss product market and demand factors.  Tools listed under finding articles also lead to discussions of market factors.


*Business & Company Resource Center 
Reports on particular companies include list of suits and claims as described in sources such as Human Resources Law Index. 

*LexisNexis Congressional
Indexes Congressional publications such as reports, bills, and the Congressional Record; provides laws such as statutes and regulations; and also provides the transcripts of testimony before Congress. The testimony search makes it possible to search for testimony by specific executives and by representatives of particular companies and industries.  A search  for Andrew Fastow, formerly of Enron, turns up several hearings at which he testified or was the subject of testimony.

*LexisNexis Academic
The Legal Research section provides access to statues, court cases, and business regulations issued by agencies such as EPA and OSHA. This makes it possible to look up court cases, for example, involving particular organizations such as Hy-Vee.  (See Legal Research, Get a Case.)

*WestLaw Campus
Contains state and federal court cases, statutes, and regulations. Also contains regulations for each state.

All companies whether public or private submit various reports to local, state, and federal regulatory bodies.  Governments make many such reports  available through their web sites or in paper. Here are a few examples:

Business Filings Databases
This links to databases of company filings with states. In Iowa,  the Secretary of State maintains databases that include information on some 200,000 corporations, more than 500,000 officers, and more than one million filings. In most cases information is brief.  Compiled by Kathy Biehl of

EDGAR Database of Corporate Information 
U.S. public companies meeting certain thresholds must file financial disclosure documents with EDGAR, a database maintained by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. (Other versions of EDGAR are listed on a company research guide at

The U.S. EPA  provides databases of reports filed by regulated companies. Searches can be conducted by company name and address.

Black Hawk Country Real Estate Mapping
Provides information on business and residential properties, such as dates of building permits and value of properties. Photos of properties sometimes included.


Industry overviews in sources cited on other web pages identify key technological trends.

*Business and Company Resource Center 
Subject heading search results for particular companies break down articles by subheadings such as Automation and Data Processing. (See Narrow by Subdivision.)

Patent Full Text and Image Database
Search field such as Assignee Name to find patents by a particular company.

EPA Sector Notebooks
Explains industrial processes and use of chemicals in major industries such as wood products.


Various print and online sources provide public opinion data. Industry overviews in sources cited on other web pages identify key social trends. The sources that follow lead to public opinion data.

The Gallup Poll Briefing
UNI Current Period HM1236.G34
The Gallup Poll
UNI Reference HN90.P8 G3 (Latest 10 Ref.; earlier in stacks) 
The Gallup Organization web site provides some survey data.

American Public Opinion Index
UNI Reference HM261 .A463
Various public opinion polls make it possible to trace changes in social attitudes over the years.

*Roper Center for Public Opinion 
Data available through LexisNexis Academic.

Article indexes such as ABI/INFORM, General BusinessFile, and Expanded Academic ASAP  lead to articles that discuss social and cultural changes.


home, industry, company organization, company history, ethics

Stan Lyle
Rod Library
May 7, 2007