Assessing the viability of a project requires a rigorous due diligence process. To ensure a successful outcome, knowledge must be acquired about the company, industry, project stakeholders, and regional economy. While numerous sources are accessible online, finding the information you need is often a challenge. As a complimentary service to our partners, we provide in-depth research and analysis on markets, industries, businesses, individuals and regional demographics. To initiate a research request, contact your Regional Manager.
To complement our service and assist with independent research efforts, we have compiled this collection of free (or very inexpensive) online resources. The websites and applications cover the economy, labor and population data, industry information, company intelligence, news and mapping tools. We use these sources, among others, to support economic development throughout the region. If you have questions, require assistance, or know of additional sources, please contact our Research Analyst, Giovanni Edwards.
Economic Data & Analysis
This interactive tool of the US Census allows users to quickly access demographic, housing and economic data for states, counties and MSAs.
Bureau of Economic Analysis
The Bureau of Economic Analysis promotes a better understanding of the US economy by providing the most timely, relevant and accurate economic accounts data. These statistics enable government and business decision-makers, researchers, and the American public to follow and understand the performance of the nation's economy. Data are available at the international, national, regional (state, county, MSA) and industry levels and provide a quantitative view of production, consumption, investment, trade, income and saving. The site offers a host of resources including GDP by state and MSA, RIMS regional economic multipliers, and customizable data and graphing tools.
Community Economic Development HotReport
The CED HotReport is a free, easy-to-use portal to instantly obtain detailed information for local and regional areas on a wide variety of topics from a multitude of sources. Topics include the economy, transportation, housing, schools, top industries, occupations, wages and much more. This product was created through the joint efforts of the Employment and Training Administration, Economic Development Administration, Office of Economic Adjustment and US Census Bureau.
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
With offices in Houston, El Paso and San Antonio, the Dallas branch of the Federal Reserve covers Texas, southern New Mexico and northern Louisiana. Their site provides a range of economic and monetary data and analyses of issues specific to the region.
Houston-Galveston Area Council
The HGAC offers a host of data and GIS/mapping products geared to Gulf Coast interests. Demographic and economic data include population estimates, detailed socioeconomic data, employment, residential construction activity and a monthly economic review. Environmental data cover air and water quality issues. The regional directory and government links form a comprehensive listing of offices and contacts at every level of government from the school district to federal level.
QWI Online is the US Census Bureau’s interactive tool for accessing eight Quarterly Workforce Indicators by county, MSA or workforce investment area (WIA). With the Comparison Report feature, users can compare labor market information by time, geography, gender, age and other variables. This information may also be downloaded to create custom tables and charts.
The Real Estate Center
The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University is the nation’s largest publicly-funded organization devoted to real estate research. In addition to research covering the Texas economy and real estate markets, historical data at the national, state and local levels are provided for building permits, employment, population and home sales. Dr. Mark Dotzour, noted speaker and economist, is the Real Estate Center’s Chief Economist.
The Tax Foundation is a nonpartisan tax research group based in Washington, D.C. whose mission is to educate taxpayers about sound tax policy. Through its research and publications, the Tax Foundation studies the gamut of tax issues facing businesses, individuals and all levels of government. A notable publication is the annual State Business Tax Climate Index.
Launched in ’07 by the Texas Comptroller, Texas EDGE (Economic Data for Growth and Expansion) is an online research service designed to help local governments and economic development organizations analyze facts and figures. The service provides data and analyses useful in revenue planning, financial analysis, economic forecasting, site location decisions and other issues affecting trade and industry growth.
US Census, Economic Indicators
The range of measures tracked by the US Census gives insight to economic health at the national, state and MSA levels. Click on the indicator name to access regional data.
Labor & Population Statistics
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Houston MSA
This section of the BLS site features the Houston MSA. Data cover inflation, consumer spending, employment and wages.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas
This section of the BLS site features Texas and its major metros. Data cover inflation, consumer spending, employment and wages.
SOCRATES — Standardized Occupational Components for Research and Analysis of Trends in Employment System — was designed to help local Texas planners perform regional labor market analysis. The software is a useful workforce planning tool for generating lists of targeted industries and occupations. Functions are also available for area economic analysis and career information scenarios. SOCRATES was created by the Labor Market and Career Information unit of the Texas Workforce Commission.
Texas Population Projections
The Texas State Data Center and Office of the State Demographer produce population projections for the state, counties and MSAs by age, gender and ethnicity.
Tracer is a tool created by the Labor Market & Career Information Department (LMCI) of the Texas Workforce Commission to provide statistics and analyses on the dynamics of the Texas labor market. LMCI provides a wide array of career and occupational information at the state, county and MSA levels through online tools and printed publications.
From the US Census homepage, you can access the range of data compiled and tracked by the US Census Bureau.
US Census, Data Tools
The US Census provides a host of data tools to access and manipulate the information it compiles and tracks. This page lists and describes all of the Bureau’s tools.
US Census, QuickFacts
QuickFacts provides frequently requested Census Bureau information at the national, state, county, and city level.
Business & Industry Data Center, Governor’s Office
Compiled by the Economic Development and Tourism Department, the Business and Industry Data Center provides a comprehensive overview of the Texas economy. The profile analyzes population, employment, labor and management diversity, income, gross state product, industry trends, real estate, international trade, research and development and transportation. Throughout the profile, links and references are included to all data sources.
Energy Information Administration
The EIA provides official energy statistics from the US government. This site provides current and historical data for petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, electricity, coal, renewable and alternative fuels, and nuclear energy. The EIA also produces monthly and yearly energy forecasts; financial analyses; residential, business and industry energy use; environmental data; and a host of research on national and international energy topics.
Industry Focus is a powerful analytic tool that quickly reports on top industries for a region (county, state or metro area), age group or gender based on eight quarterly workforce indicators. The application is offered by the Local Employment Dynamics program of the US Census Bureau.
Industry Trade Data & Analysis, International Trade Administration
The Office of Trade and Industry Information (OTII), as part of the International Trade Administration, seeks to provide a solid foundation of trade and industry data to support the development of national trade policies. Statistics, analyses and reports are provided covering a range of trade issues at the national, state, metro and industry levels.
The Secretary of State OnLine Access (SOSDirect) system provides subscribers with up-to-date, online access to a variety of information maintained by the Office of the Secretary of State. This is an authoritative source for current registrations in the state of Texas by corporations, limited partnerships, limited liability companies and partnerships, assumed names, trademarks, foreign and state financial institutions, nonprofit associations, and foreign corporate fiduciaries. There is no subscription fee, but searches cost $1 per request.
Texas Industry Profiles
The Texas Industry Profiles website provides industry-based information and analytic tools to assist local workforce and economic development professionals to better understand Texas regional industry structure and workforce dynamics. This robust site addresses aspects of industry dispersion, employment dynamics, labor supply, industrial clustering and related analyses to provide a foundation for Texas economic development activities. Texas Industry Profiles is a service offered by the Texas Workforce Commission in conjunction with ReferenceUSA.
US Census, NAICS Codes
The North American Industry Classification System was developed to provide comparability in statistics about business activity. Many references use NAICS codes for company and industry research. This source allows you to find the NAICS code or group most appropriate to the industry or company of interest. There is also a feature to determine the corresponding NAICS from an SIC code, which has been replaced by NAICS.
EDGAR is the Security and Exchange Commission’s repository of filings by public companies. Full current and historical documents (e.g., 10K/annual report, 10Q, etc.) are searchable by company name.
GuideStar allows users to verify a nonprofit's legitimacy, learn whether a contribution will be tax deductible, view a nonprofit's recent Forms 990, or find out more about its mission, programs, and finances.
US Census Business Data
This section of the US Census website provides a wide range of statistics based on surveys of business owners. Included in this section are links to the Economic Census, Survey of Business Owners, company statistics, building permits (national, state, county and MSA), foreign trade data, and even e-commerce statistics.
News & General Sources
CNN Money, Companies
CNN Money is a good source for news on companies, executives and business transactions.
Google News gives access to current and archival press from 4,500 free sources. As opposed to the search engine, results are generated solely from news websites and not the internet at large.
Greater Houston Partnership
With its Houston Data Sheets, the Greater Houston Partnership offers an extensive library of information, data and analyses covering nearly every facet of business, industry, the economy, real estate, culture and living in Houston. The thoroughness of the offering makes this site a go-to source for information on doing business in Houston. Of particular value are the economic research, indicators and insightful reports generated by Chief Economist, Skip Kasdorf.
Houston Business Journal
This local publication is a great source for current press about local business interests, industries, people and transactions.
While certainly not an obvious research tool, Wikipedia is a great starting point for researching an unfamiliar industry, process or other topic. The “free content encyclopedia project” is written collaboratively by volunteers — and therein lies the caveat. Since virtually anyone can write or edit a Wikipedia article, the site should not be used as a primary or cited source. However, many of the articles are referenced and would serve as a good introduction to topics for further inquiry.
Mapping & GIS Tools
HGAC Census Thematic Maps
These thematic maps are based on the 1990 and 2000 Census and cover regional boundaries, population distribution and income.
HGAC GIS Data Clearinghouse
With the GIS Data Clearinghouse, the HGAC presents a broad array of GIS layers in this collection of maps, focused primarily on the Houston-Galveston region.
HGAC Transportation Maps
This collection of thematic maps focuses on regional transportation elements.
OnTheMap is an online mapping and reporting application that shows where people work and where workers live. The application was created by the US Census Bureau, its Local Employment Dynamics partner states, and the Department of Labor. OnTheMap provides an easy-to-use interface for creating, viewing, printing and downloading workforce-related maps, profiles, and underlying data for user-defined geographies. The underlying data report on age, earnings, industry distributions and local workforce indicators.
Texas State Data Center
The Texas State Data Center and Office of the State Demographer produce an array of reference and thematic maps for free download. Reference maps include a variety of map types that show the boundaries and names of geographic areas for which the Census Bureau tabulates statistical data. The thematic maps illustrate a range of population trends at the state level over various time horizons.