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This is a list of a few of the larger or more obvious sources for rankings. Some are industry specific (such as those published by major associations or publishers focused in certain industries); while others are more general.

Many full-text databases include articles from industry-specific magazines that contain lists/rankings. One database, TableBase (from RDS / Gale) has a particular focus on tables from articles and other sources. Gale's Business and Company Resource Center, which focuses on large public companies and is often found in public libraries, includes a tab for rankings which provides a list and sometimes a link to the ranking(s) or list(s) that that particular company is mentioned.

Many rankings and lists of companies within a certain industry or geographic area can be created in databases like ReferenceUSA and Business Insights which allow researchers to choose which items to search. For instance a researcher can chose a particular industry but NAICS/SIC codes and then limit that list to a state or states. Then with the results they can be sorted on sales.

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Private Company Research
Public Company Research
Foreign Company Research

Industry Specific

Various trade publications and associations often publish special lists and data that are particular to their industry. Many have an online presence though it varies what is made available for free. For example:

  • Air Transport World External Link publishes the World Airline Report External Link
  • Airline Business External Link has profiles for airlines and airports.
  • Airport Rankings External Link from the Airports Council International External Link has information for passengers, cargo, aircraft movements, the busiest airports for the year to date.
  • Chain Store Age External Link is a publication with a long history and the Resource Center on their web page has various reports like the "2012 Annual Store Construction & Outfitting Survey" and white papers.
  • Industry Week External Link publishes the Industry Week 1000 External Link - an annual ranking of the world's largest public manufacturers, by revenue. Among the financials captured in the database are revenue, net income, profit margin, revenue growth, total equity, debt/equity ratio, and earnings per share. Sorting on industry is also possible. Previous years going back to 1999 are available on their web site. This magazine also publishes the IndustryWeek U.S. 500 which is IW's exclusive annual ranking of America's largest public manufacturers, the 50 Best U.S. Manufacturers, and the Best.
  • National Retail Federation External Link publishes a trade publication called STORES External Link. Under their Annual Retailer Lists link you can find lists of Top 100 Retailers, Hot 100 Retailers, and Top 250 Global Retailers.
  • S&P Global Market Intelligence External Link acquired SNL Financial and publishes financial data on the many industries including Banks & Thrifts, Insurance, Securities & Investments, Specialty Finance, Energy, Media, Communications, Financial Technology, and Real Estate.

General, Geographic, Topical

There are also lists that are not specific to any particular industry. Some focus on a particular geography others on specific themes. For example:

  • Business Week External Link has published many different lists including Best 50 Performers and the Global 1000 (1989-99 PDF document that provides a detailed timeline for the years 1989 to 1999)
  • Fast Company External Link is a publication that looks to focus on "the world's most interesting and innovative companies." They do have a list of the Most Creative People in Business.
  • Forbes External Link publishes many lists in its month magazine though it is most known for the Forbes 500 which began in 1959. They also publish America's Best Small Companies, Global 2000 Leading Companies, and America's Largest Private Companies. You can find current and some past lists in a tab titled Lists External Link.
  • Fortune External Link is most known for the Fortune 500 External Link which first published in 1955, however, they also publish other helpful lists including the Global 500, 100 Fastest Growing Companies, Small Business 100, Americas Most Admired, Global Most Admired, and 100 Best to Work for. Their current lists (and some historical) can be found on the Fortune Rankings External Link page.
  • Financial Times publishes the Global 500 External Link - a list of the world's biggest companies in Europe, the UK, US, Japan and Asia Pacific. The list is only available to subscribers.
  • Inc. External Link publishes the 500/5000 External Link - a list on America's Fastest Growing Companies.
  • InformationWeek External Link publishes the InformationWeek 500 External Link that tracks the technology, strategies, investments and administrative practices of some of the best-known organizations in the country.
  • American City Business Journals External Link publishes the local City Business Journals External Link mentioned in Private Company Research. Each issue generally contains a list or lists. At the end of the year these are compiled into a single publication called the Book of Lists. Regular subscribers get the book as part of their subscription, however, they can be purchased separately.
  • CRN External Link includes a number of lists under the Lists link including VAR500 External Link - an annual ranking of the top solution provider organizations. Online the list goes back to 2007 but this has been produced in the print version of VAR Business back to the mid 1990's.

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Print Compilations of Rankings

Business Rankings Annual.
LC Call Number: HG4050.B88
LC Catalog record: 89640244

By SIC code and the country compiled from various sources. Citations found in this volume are included Gale Cengage Business Insights Database (available by subscription).

D&B Business Rankings. Bethlehem, PA : Dun & Bradstreet, Inc., c1997.
LC Call Number: HG4057.A237
LC Catalog Record: sn97048304

Sales volume and employer size for companies by size, by state, by SIC Code, for public companies by size, and for private/foreign owned companies by size.

Market Share Reporter. Detroit MI : Gale Research, c. 1991 -
LC Call Number: HF5410.M35
LC Catalog Record: 91649704

This publication is a compilation of top lists of companies and products which originally appeared in various publications, and articles. It is a companion to the World Market Share Reporter, but focuses on the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Citations found in this volume are included Gale Cengage Business Insights Database (available by subscription).

Ward's. Detroit : Gale Research, c1990-.
LC Call Number: HG4057.A575
LC Catalog Record: 90656245

There are 3 sets of rankings. First, within SIC by sales. Second, state by state within SIC then by sales. Third, within NAICS by sales. Ward's business directory of U.S. private and public companies.

World Market Share Reporter. New York : Gale Research Inc., c1995-.
LC Call Number: HD2757.15.W67
LC Control Number: 95660036

This is a publication that is a compilation of top list of companies, products pulled from various publications, articles, etc. It is a companion to Market Share Reporter. Citations found in this volume are included Gale Cengage Business Insights Database (available by subscription).

Print Industry Surveys

There are also sources that have industry overviews but will give rankings within the profile.

Encyclopedia of Emerging Industries. Detroit : Gale, c1998- .
LC Call Number: HD2324.E528
LC Catalog Record: 98660099

Fairly in-depth industry overviews with charts/graphics. Citations found in this volume are included the Gale Cengage Business Insights Database (available by subscription). The industry profiles include a short write-up of the big players in that industry.

Encyclopedia of Global Industries. Detroit, MI : Gale Research, 1996-.
LC Call Number: HD2324.E53
LC Catalog Record: 97661013

Fairly in-depth industry overviews with charts/graphics.

S&P Industry Surveys. [New York] Standard & Poor's Corp.
LC Call Number: HC106.6.S74
LC Catalog Record: 77183941

Industry Surveys are by industry and names have changed somewhat over time and new reports have been added. Within the survey there are often rankings/figures but each has tables in the rear of the report that give much financial information by company by financial statement. S&P currently publishes them online only in their NetAdvantage product which has current (published by CFRA) and some historical copies. For deeper historical coverage back to 1971 you are limited to the print copies. The NetAdvantage product also has the Global Industry Surveys.

Last Updated: 04/17/2018

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