FAQS & Glossary

What's new on GrowthEconomy.org?

For the 1998-2017 period during the latest matching update of PitchBook to YTS data, BDRC has added more than 3,000 private equity companies, resulting in almost 100,000 additional jobs, and doubling (on average) the amount of sales available throughout the entire period.

While the overall data model that drives GE improved significantly during the latest PitchBook and YTS data matching process, we find that the two major trends on GE remain; sizable jobs and sales growth when compared with the rest of the economy, and strong middle market performance.

What is the purpose of GrowthEconomy.org?

To empower users to learn more about the impact of private equity-backed companies and the entire middle market on the U.S. economy and to continue research on the private-equity investment and middle market sectors.

What are private equity companies as seen on GrowthEconomy.org?

Private equity-backed companies (establishments) are those who have received equity or debt investment from private capital investors, which includes private equity. These types of investors also invest in and manage closed-end funds raised from institutional and accredited investors who primarily make investments in private companies.

How was GrowthEconomy.org started?

The Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) is a global non-profit membership organization founded in 1954, with headquarters in Chicago, IL. ACG's members include the spectrum of the "Growth Community" - executives, investors, lenders and advisors to thousands of middle-market companies. ACG's members are focused on building and growing companies, but because their work primarily involves private companies and private investments, the impact of their work is not well understood by those outside of the field. ACG sought a way to bring more transparency and visibility to the role and value of private equity investment.

GrowthEconomy.org resulted from collaboration between ACG, the University of Wisconsin System Institute for Business and Entrepreneurship's Business Dynamics Research Consortium (BDRC) and PitchBook Data, Inc., an independent provider of private equity research, data and technology. By combining these two databases, the resulting database provides a historical comparison of the performance of private equity-backed businesses.

What are private equity "add-on" companies?

A significant portion of private equity deal flow consists of add-on deals, which occur when a private equity-backed company acquires another company and combines it with its existing operations. Because the YTS database tracks companies at the establishment level, these add-on deals do not result in any double reporting. The new parent and its add-on company each report individually.

How is the middle-market defined on GrowthEconomy.org?

The middle-market is defined by three multidimensional segments - correlating to sales - where establishments valued between $10 million - $1 billion display certain operational and other traits providing what has proven to be the most sustainable source of jobs and sales.

Where is this data coming from?

The University of Wisconsin System Institute for Business and Entrepreneurship's Business Dynamics Research Consortium (BDRC), provided access to the YTS (YourEconomy Time Series) database. PitchBook Data Inc., an independent provider of private equity research and data, provided access to its database of over 100,000 private equity backed companies. BDRC then meticulously matched the establishments, jobs, and sales data from YTS with PitchBook's privately backed company data for the historical period of 1998 to 2017.

BDRC then assembles a model that takes all private equity establishments that received backing at anytime during 1998-2017, accounts for unmatched companies and any missing or suspect sales data, and uses YTS firm level sales to strengthen company sales.

Both the YTS and PitchBook databases operate independently of the Association for Corporate Growth, BDRC and one another.

What is the The National Center for the Middle Market?

Housed at The Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business, the National Center for the Middle Market is the first center of its kind in the nation and defines the middle market as companies with revenues between $10 million and 1$ billion. The Center ensures the middle market receives the attention it deserves. The Center provides a voice and point-of-view for this critical yet understudied segment of the economy, driving national dialogue about its importance and impact.

Congressional Districts

Congressional districts on GrowthEconomy are built from a ZIP code database that lists all ZIP codes and counties that lie within the boundaries of U.S. congressional districts in every state. The Business Dynamics Research Consortium (BDRC) has identified and matched more than 43 million establishments (including all private equity establishments on Growth Economy) to every ZIP code and assigned it to a specific congressional district. Unfortunately, ZIP code boundaries do not align perfectly with congressional district boundaries. In fact, nearly 15 percent of all ZIP codes cross congressional districts.

To avoid overlaps and redundancies, BDRC has assigned each ZIP code to a single congressional district, basing this match on the highest percentage of business establishments reflected in those ZIP codes.


Infogroup is the original compiler of both consumer and business establishment data integrating new and innovative data sources for higher quality data & complete U.S. coverage from 1997. Infogroup's strong verification process only includes establishments that are verified as "in business" (direct phone contact to isolate and enhance the quality of micro establishments) in their verified releases. Each year of new data is available in March of the following year which presents only a 3 to 4 month lag in having the latest year data available and ready to update GrowthEconomy.org.

ABI Number

YTS and GrowthEconomy.org data is built by tracking individual establishments according to their ABI (American Business Identifier) number which is assigned by Infogroup. An ABI number starts with establishments as they open and stays with them as they grow, contract, move, and close. Every day Infogroup contacts businesses and asks them to report changes in activity, employment and sales.


An economic unit that produces goods or services at a single physical location which may be a standalone establishment, or part of a multi-establishment firm. An establishment in GrowthEconomy.org has matched a PitchBook ID to a unique ABI number. Using establishments, GrowthEconomy.org can accurately study labor markets across all companies and across industries in local communities and across the U.S.


Most traditional data sources track business activity according to firms (a standalone establishment or a collection of all establishments owned by a parent company). GrowthEconomy.org has harnessed the volume of establishments in YTS and can track establishment/firm activity from the establishment location.


Establishment employment at a location. Unlike goverment data, this is all reported jobs at a unique location and not only full time employees (FTEs) as defined by government data.


Core Based Statistical Areas are geographic entities used by Federal statistical agencies in collecting, tabulating, and publishing Federal statistics. A metro area contains a core urban area of 50,000 or more population. On GrowthEconomy.org, there are 388 metro CBSAs available.

YTS (YourEconomy Time Series) Database

The YTS database used to generate GrowthEconomy.org statistics is large, with more than 40 million records for U.S. establishments that existed any time from 1997 to the current YTS data year. Among these 50 million establishments, 15+ million are active and report over 163 million jobs. YTS has many features that set it apart from other data sets. Also among these are strong verification methods, more small businesses, more industry classifications, historical accuracy, establishment verification vs. business sampling, and business relocation accuracy. Its statistics are derived from the entire population of establishments in Infogroup records.

Infogroup strong verification only includes establishments that are verified as "in business" (direct phone contact to isolate and enhance the quality of micro establishments), and YTS goes a major step further by rolling up missing data to complete the time-series across the entire database.


PitchBook, the leading provider of independent private equity research and data, delivers the comprehensive intelligence on deals, funds and key players that private market professionals need to confidently source and price deals, understand trends and make informed decisions.

PitchBook gathers its data on private company investment through a multi-step research process that starts with a daily systematic review of thousands of news and public filing sources. We then confirm, clarify and refine this data through direct communication with key contacts at target companies, investors, limited partners and professional service providers. All of our data is relentless managed and cross validated to ensure its accuracy and completeness.

PitchBook defines private equity-backed companies as companies that have received some sort of equity or debt investment from professional investors focused on private companies. These investors are commonly known as private equity and venture equity investors. PitchBook's formal definition of private equity investors are those that invest in and manage closed end funds raised from institutional and accredited investors who primarily make investments in private companies.


Estimated sales at a unique location modeled by Infogroup. Infogroup uses reported establishment and firm sales in which to model individual establishment sales.

Sole Proprietors and Partnerships

YTS includes sole proprietors and partnership establishments that are verified as "in business". In contrast, proprietorships and partnerships that haven't hired employees aren't included in the Census Bureau's Statistics of U.S. Businesses (SUSB) or Business Information Tracking Series (BITS) because they are considered to be non-employers. Also, if a business is listed in SUSB or BITS, its owners and partners are not counted as employees.

United States totals

The U.S. totals for GrowthEconomy.org aggregate the 50 states, the District of Columbia (DC), and the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, rather than a comparison of national and international data.

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