How do I figure out how many people a publicly traded company employs in a state?
December 8, 2012 3:33 PM   Subscribe

How would I find out how many jobs are in a state from a publicly traded company?

I'm new to the whole world of business and corporate research. So here's a big basic question: let's say I wanted to find out how many people Microsoft employs in Colorado - how would I do that? Is it in SEC filings? In their company briefings? This has to be somewhere online right?
posted by rileyray3000 to Work & Money (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Check to see if your public library has ReferenceUSA US Businesses, a business database that many libraries subscribe to. My public library allows access to it remotely; maybe yours does too. It's possible to devise a custom search that does what you want. (If you can't figure out how, feel free to MeMail.)
posted by Wordwoman at 4:01 PM on December 8, 2012

Sorry, I thought you were looking for how many job offer in that state.

Honestly, I doubt this information is online.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 4:03 PM on December 8, 2012

Response by poster: Well I found out from an SEC filing how many people a company employs worldwide but no breakdowns.
posted by rileyray3000 at 4:07 PM on December 8, 2012

Talk to your state employment office. They almost certainly survey businesses, along with the national BLS, so they know about hiring, layoffs, and so forth so they can estimate an unemployment rate by locality.
posted by dhartung at 6:03 PM on December 8, 2012

You could ask the company. They probably have a director or VP of community relations or community affairs, or director of social responsibility who could tell you. Failing that buy a share of stock and call the director of shareholder relations.

But it's probably not on the web or in any existing SEC filings in a straightforward way.
posted by alms at 6:32 PM on December 8, 2012

How would I find out how many jobs are in a state from a publicly traded company?

You don't. That's generally considered sensitive information.

If the company makes it public, then it should be easy to find. If they don't, you won't be able to find out.
posted by valkyryn at 7:03 PM on December 8, 2012

This is only public information if the company has somehow made it public.

It's possible a local American Cities Business Journals publication has conducted a "top employers" or "top companies" survey, in which case the information would be included in its Book of Lists -- possibly available at a library near you, otherwise you have to pay for the information. Books of Lists are self-reported and voluntary surveys, so if the company was not honest or chose not to participate you are out of luck. (Disclosure: I'm a former ACBJ employee.)

If the company recently laid off workers in the state in order to shift production elsewhere in the NAFTA zone, its former employees may have filed for TAA recognition, in which case you can file a Freedom of Information Act request with the U.S. Department of Labor to obtain records that contain employment information.

Depending on which state you're researching, if the company in question has taken advantage of certain tax advantages it may be required to file annual or every-few-years reports with the state government, and you may be able to get this information using state-open-records laws. For example, in Washington state companies that receive special tax "incentives" generally have to file annual reports with the Department of Revenue.

Companies like Dunn & Bradstreet and random websites often claim to have this information in databases, but when I've fact-checked these for-profit data sources they've been consistently inaccurate, with the exception of the Business Journals' Book of Lists.

Odds are only so-so that public records exist to provide the information you're looking for, and if it does exist you're going to have to think creatively. If you're not used to thinking about public records, spend some time Googling to find out if the state in question has an active Society for Professional Journalists' chapter, which may have resources online that can help you. Or look for books on researching public records or conducting investigative journalism.

posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:48 PM on December 8, 2012

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