Business Information Tracking Series (BITS) (also known as Longitudinal Establishment and Enterprise Microdata (LEEM)) [constructed by the Census Bureau]

Purpose/uses

To identify firm births and deaths, expansions and contractions, and mergers and acquisitions and for examining job flows.

Design basics

BITS is constructed by longitudinally linking archived SUSB data. The data set currently includes about 13 million establishments.

Frequency

Yearly, panel (1989 to present)

Unit level

Establishment and firm

Coverage

Private-sector establishments (single physical locations) with positive payroll. Same industry coverage as CBP.

Content

Establishment- and firm-level data on annual payroll, 4-digit SIC, location, start year, legal entity, total employment, firm affiliation, census geography, starting year, census file number, and constant firm identifiers (meaning there is no change in the ID even if legal or ownership status changes).

Limitations or lag time

No self-employed; long lag in production (about UI years); only tracks establishments (not firms), and has no farm coverage.

Accessibility of data

Not publicly available. Must become a sworn Census researcher and use data at Census RDCs.

STANDARD & POOR’S (S&P)

COMPUSTAT

Purpose/uses

Tracks firm level activity for publicly traded, listed firms since 1950. Standardizes financial and accounting statement information on companies around the world for investors. Data used by hedge funds, money managers, analysts, researchers, corporations, and government (the IRS) and regulatory agencies.

Design basics

Database produced by S&P. Reporting units are identified by firm and by 4-digit SIC code and are business or industry segments, defined as a component of an enterprise engaged in providing a product, service, or group of related products or services primarily to customers outside the enterprise for profit.

Frequency

Quarterly (longitudinal since 1980).

Unit level

Firm and industry segment

Coverage

All publicly traded firms in U.S. stock markets (about 65,000 firms).

Content

Data include quarterly and annual income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Source information includes annual and quarterly SEC filings, 8-K, 20-F and Proxy filings, EDGAR filings and media releases and original annual reports.

Limitations or lag time

By design, limited to publicly traded firms (generally means mature entities).

Accessibility of data

Data available for a fee.



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