Friday, December 28, 2007

Small Businesses Lead U.S. Growth

Report Documents Small Firms’ Significant Economic Impacts in 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Small businesses continued to lead growth in the U.S. economy in 2006, according to a report issued last week by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The report "shows that overall, small firms continue to drive a resilient U.S. economy," said Advocacy Chief Economist Chad Moutray. "In releasing this annual small business research report, we are pleased also to showcase new research by economists in the field of small business and entrepreneurship." Moutray released the report at a December 19 meeting of the Rotary Club of Washington, DC. The study, The Small Business Economy: A Report to the President for 2007(PDF) is the Office of Advocacy’s annual report on the state of small business in America.

The report reviews the economic environment for small businesses in the year 2006, including the financial and federal procurement marketplaces. New research focuses on minority- and veteran-owned businesses, social entrepreneurship, and pre-venture planning. Other chapters and appendices provide data on small business and an update on Office of Advocacy initiatives. The Office of Advocacy, the "small business watchdog" of the federal government, examines the role and status of small business in the economy and independently represents the views of small business to federal agencies, Congress, and the President. It is the source for small business statistics presented in user-friendly formats, and it funds research into small business issues.

For more information and a complete copy of the report, visit the Office of Advocacy website. Print copies are also available upon request to the Office of Advocacy (202) 205-6933.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gateway to Associations

The Hill Library notes: "Industry associations want businesses in their industry to succeed, and because of this will often give away highly valuable information." Check out this gateway to associations from the American Society of Association Executives.

Monday, December 24, 2007

1990 Census Block Data

Because I was curious, I wrote to Census, and got this reply:

Data from the 1990 census at the block level are available from 1990 Summary Tape File 1B (Tape or CD-ROM). You can contact your local State Data Center (http://www.census.gov/sdc/www/) for assistance or purchase the tape or CD-ROM from our Customer Services Center. Their telephone number is 301-763-4636.

We are in the process of decommissioning the e-mail address . Please submit future request to our "Ask Questions" link at http://www.census.gov. From the center of our web site, select the radio button "FAQs" and then go over to the right and click on the "GO" button. Select "Ask A Question." If you forget your password, please contact the Customer Services Center on 301-763-4636.

Again, we appreciate your interest in our data.


So, no, 1990 block data is NOT available from American Factfinder. 1990 block group data, yes; 2000 block data, yes.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas

And in the spirit of regifting, a swipe from the NYS SBDC blog about the holiday.

Plus: from The Office of Fire Prevention and Control, distributed by SUNY System Administration – Department of Public Safety

Guard Against Holiday Fire Safety Hazards

The holiday season brings a sense of celebration and goodwill -festive meals; candlelight; warm, glowing fires; trees and wreaths are among some of our finest holiday traditions. But….they are also some of leading causes for so many destructive fires during the holiday season. The Office of Fire Prevention and Control reminds all New Yorkers to be aware of the dangers inherent to the holiday season and offers the following fire safety tips.
CHRISTMAS TREES: When buying a natural tree, the most important safety factor is freshness. The higher the moisture content the less likely it is to dry out and become a fire hazard. To keep your tree fresh longer, cut off two inches of the trunk and mount in a sturdy water holding stand with wide spread legs. Locate the tree away from fireplaces, wall furnaces and other heat sources. Do not block stairs or doorways. Dispose of the tree when needles begin to fall off in large quantities.
COOKING: Untended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States. Never leave food unattended and watch small children around the stove.
CANDLES: Candle fires are on the rise in recent years. Never leave candles burning unattended or burning around small children or pets. If you do use candles, keep them in proper glass containers.
HOLIDAY LIGHTING: Use only lighting approved by a testing lab. Inspect electrical lights for broken or cracked sockets and frayed wires. Do not use indoor lights outdoors or visa-versa and be very careful to not overload extension cords. Never use lighted candles on or near a tree or other decorations.
FIREPLACES: Fireplaces are very popular during the holidays. Before starting a fire, remove all decorations from the area and be sure that the flu is open. Do not burn wrappings or evergreen boughs, they can burn extremely fast, throwing off sparks and burning debris. Safely dispose of wrapping paper with your normal trash collection.
SMOKE DETECTORS: Make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are working and mounted properly. Fire extinguishers should also be checked.
The Office of Fire Prevention and Control would like everyone to be fire safe during the holiday season. Following the simple preventative measures outlined above, can significantly help prevent a tragedy. To learn even more about holiday fire safety, please download our Holiday Fire Safety Bulletin. For another Holiday Saftey Bulletin presented by the Division of Code Enforcement and Administration and OFPC, please Click Here.
For an important PSA on educating children of the dangers of lighters and matches this holiday season, please Click Here.
For some additional information and pamphlets with helpful fire safety tips to better prepare you for a safe holiday season, please Click Here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Disaster Preparedness

"An estimated 25 percent of businesses do not reopen following a major disaster, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety." Here's a link to the SBA/Nationwide Disaster Preparedness Guide.

"The 10-page guide provides information business owners need to develop an effective plan to protect customers and employees in the event of a disaster. The guide provides key disaster preparedness strategies to help small businesses identify potential hazards, create plans to remain in operation if the office is unusable, and understand the limitations of their insurance coverage."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The world's largest cities

City Mayors.com has nifty statistics in terms of the largest urban areas, fastest growing urban areas, richest cities by GDP, riches cities by personal earnings, and other world and national figures.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

An answer to city blight

Paul Bray, founding president of the Albany roundtable civic lunch forum, noted in the Albany Times Union recently that Rochester, NY is a pioneer in partnering with nonprofit housing organizations to deal with the problem of vacant and abandoned buildings.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Facts

From the US Census:

Facts for the 2007 Holiday Season

The holiday season is a time for gathering and celebrating with friends and family, reflection, and thanks. To commemorate this time of year, the U.S. Census Bureau presents the following holiday-related facts and figures from its data collection.

It's in the Mail
20 billion
Pieces of mail the U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.

48,695
The number of malls and shopping centers dotting the U.S. landscape as of 2005, an increase of approximately 12,000 since 1990.

Holiday Names
Places whose names are associated with the holiday season include North Pole, Alaska (population 1,828 in 2006); Santa Claus, Indiana (2,324); Santa Claus, Georgia (245); Noel, Missouri (1,555); and - if you know about reindeer - the village of Rudolph, Wisconsin (419) and Dasher, Georgia (803). There is also Snowflake, Arizona (5,157).

$31.4 billion

Retail sales by the nation's department stores in December 2006. This represented a 44 percent jump from the previous month (when retail sales, many holiday-related, registered $21.8 billion). No other month-to-month increase in department store sales last year was as large.

Other U.S. retailers with sizable jumps in sales between November and December 2006 were book stores (86 percent); clothing stores (49 percent); jewelry stores (155 percent); radio, TV, and other electronics stores (60 percent); and sporting goods stores (65 percent).

$142.6 million
The value of U.S. imports of Christmas tree ornaments from China between January and June 2007 was $142.6 million. China was the leading country of origin for such items. Similarly, China was the leading foreign source of artificial Christmas trees shipped to the United States ($13.4 million
worth) during the same period.

104
Number of establishments around the country that primarily manufactured dolls and stuffed toys in 2005; they employed 2,480 people. California led the nation with 18 locations and 76 people employed.

1.7 million
The number of people employed at department stores in December 2006.
Retail employment typically swells during the holiday season, last year rising by an estimated 40,600 from November and 174,700 from October.

15,924
The number of electronic shopping and mail-order houses in business in 2005. These businesses, which employed 253,677 workers, are a popular source of holiday gifts. Their sales: $162 billion, of which 40.5 percent were attributable to e-commerce. California led the nation in the number of these establishments and their employees, with 2,383 and 30,800, respectively.

$21 billion
Value of retail sales by electronic shopping and mail-order houses in December 2006 - the highest total for any month last year.

$1.3 billion
The value of candles shipped in 2002 by the nation's manufacturers. Many of these candles are lit during Hanukkah and Kwanzaa celebrations.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Hi, FRED

The FRED® (Federal Reserve Economic Data) database contains over 15,000 downloadable U.S. economic time series in the areas of
Banking
Business/Fiscal
Consumer Price Indexes (CPI)
Employment & Population
Exchange Rates
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Components
Interest Rates
Monetary Aggregates
Producer Price Indexes (PPI)
Reserves and Monetary Base
U.S. Trade & International Transactions
U.S. Financial Data
Regional Data

For instance, in Employment & Population, you'll find not only Civilian Employment and Labor Force, but Average (Mean) Duration of Unemployment, all going back to 1948.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Design of Desire

From the Hill Library:

Why do people purchase the things they do? Is it neurological? Cultural? Social? American RadioWorks, public radio’s documentary unit, set out to find the answer.

What they came up with is this site: Design of Desire. It chronicles the biological impulses of purchase decisions (Tightwads and Spendthrifts), the ways in which retail design affects buyers (Buying the Tribe), and how branding gets personal online (A Brand of Me).

If you’ve bought or sold anything recently – and we think you probably have – this site might shed some light on that purchase. Think of it as the "why" of buying.
***
The Story of Stuff.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What’s In A Name

I’ve mentioned the Wall Street Journal’s The Numbers Guy, who questions the conventional wisdom about statistical report before. Recently, he took on studies suggesting that major league baseball players with first or last initial K were more likely than average to strike out; and business graduate students with initials C or D had lower grades, on average, perhaps reflecting an unconscious affinity to the grades corresponding to their initials. Why IS that, and is that really what's going on?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Front page

Today's Front Pages has over 500 images of front pages from over 50 countries. The Newseum also displays some archived daily newspaper front pages in their original, unedited form.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Agricultural Stats

I was working on a question about agricultural land sales. The LEXIS Deed Transfer file covers all NY counties and includes a field that denotes land use. Using agricultural as the keyword, and inserted a date range, you'll get over 3000 results for NY for one year so you'll need to add the county name to the search. The records also include the number of acres and sale price.

Some sites:
www.farmlandinfo.org has info by state and includes some limited statistics and some farmland protection plans (some of those include some statistics). Within that site, you can change the state in dropdown. Lists ag land converted to developed use 92-97; also see Recommended Data Sources at bottom, then National Resources Inventory (2003) has Land Cover/Use by state.

This site is PA only. Data is by county, gives number of farms/land in various years.

Of course, there's the Census of Agriculture. This table shows Farms, Land in Farms, Value of Land and Buildings, and Land Use for 2002 and 1997. The 2007 stats won't be out until 2009 (they will be sending surveys out to farmers this month). This table is for NY only. There should be similar ones for each state. To access go to http://www.nass.usda.gov/ and see "Statistics by State" at bottom of left column.

Wyoming county projections/land use trends. Is there more about other counties on this site?

"Rural Landowner Survey 2005" for NY is available on the Ag and Mkts site.

In the NYS Statistical Yearbook, 2006, there is a table of Farm Acreage by Land Use (table N-3, page 559). The same table is available here; click on Farmland Use.

Thanks to the New York State Library for much of this information.

Friday, December 7, 2007

2007 Legislative Report from the Assembly Committee on Real Property Taxation

What I found interesting about this report is the survey of county and local officials, assessors, tax receivers, and taxpayer groups, the results of which may have an impact on state tax policy in the future.

Counties in New York Are Still Among Most Heavily Taxed, according to the Empire Center for New York State Policy.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Ethnic Events

From the Hill Library folks:

Targeting your marketing message to a particular group of people can be a powerful strategy, but also a daunting task. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to get out into a community and just talk to folks, face-to-face?

With Ethnic Events you can find cultural events, festivals, and get-togethers in your area. Search by ethnicity, event date, and event location and then contact the event organizers and ask about sponsorship or the possibility of setting up a booth.

Multicultural marketing doesn’t have to involve a big advertising team and slick, expensive design elements. It can just be you, talking to people about how your product or service can help them. Ethnic Events can help you find those people.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Independent Contractor or Employee?

Some employers have furloughed their employees, only to hire them back as "independent contractors" to avoid governmental obligations that an employee requires, such as matching Social Security payments. Can they do that? Well, "it depends."

The IRS has a PDF document here that describes the definitions of an employee and an independent contractor. (Saying they are independent contractors does not necessarily make them so.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Eat Out and Eat Right

Yesterday, I gave you some restaurant caloric horror stories.

Today,, the flip side. If you do "points", a reasonable number of points per meal is between 6 and 8.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The 20 worst foods in America

From Men's Health magazine: "The U.S. food industry has declared war on your waistline. Here's how to disarm its weapons of mass inflation.

Sure, a turkey burger sounds healthy. But is it, really? Not if you order the Bella from Ruby Tuesday, which packs a whopping 1,145 calories. (And yes, that's before a side of fries.)"

More scary stuff here.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Presidential Candidates' Health Care Reform Proposals

What do the leading presidential candidates' health care proposals have in common? Find out in a new policy brief from the Health Policy Research Center (HPRC) at the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Six Online Shopping Scams

Since we're now in the midst of the holiday shopping season, here's an article from Smart Money magazine.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

DigBig

Use DigBig to shorten long work-related Web addresses (URLs), making them easier to communicate. DigBig is free to use. Hey, isn't this like TinyURL? Well, yes and no.

"Why should I register with DigBig to shorten URLs?"
DigBig URLs will be linked directly to your own account, meaning you can see all the URLs you have shortened and the number of hits they receive.
DigBig staff continually moderate use of DigBig to ensure it remains a work-related resource, free of spam abuse.
You can opt-in to receive news of enhancements to the DigBig service.

"Can I use DigBig if I do not register?"
No, you must register to use DigBig. Registration is free, but requiring it enables us to prevent spam abuse of the service.

"I used to be able to use DigBig without registering. What happened?"
As of 1 May 2007, we implemented the registration requirement to provide users with more functionality and eliminate spam abuse of the service.

"What will happen to old DigBig URLs?"
DigBig URLs created before the introduction of the registration system will stay exactly as they are and will continue to work. They will not expire or be removed.
Existing URLs cannot be assigned to a member account.

"What if I shorten a URL that someone else has already shortened?"
You will receive a new unique shortened DigBig URL

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Online disclosure by state governments

You may be interested in a report that the Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First released this month on "the disclosure practices of state governments in the areas of economic development subsidies, procurement contracts and state lobbying activities."

They "rate each state on the quantity and quality of its online disclosure....also provide compilations of links to the disclosure websites of the states in the three categories." Overall, New York is tied with seven other states for 16th place.

The report and online supplementary material can be found here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

New York City gets bigger

From yesterday's New York Times on-line. As Lenny said, "Congratulations to Joe and Warren for their success."

Manhattan: Population Milestone
By SAM ROBERTS
Published: November 21, 2007

New York City’s population has passed another milestone, officially topping 8.25 million. The Census Bureau originally reported that from mid-2005 to mid-2006, the population grew by a statistically insignificant 587 people, with gains in Manhattan and Staten Island. But the Department of City Planning challenged the census count, drawing on construction permits and other documents. Yesterday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced that the bureau had concurred that the city’s official count was 8,250,567, up more than 36,000 since the adjusted 2005 total. The mayor said the revisions would mean an additional $77 million in federal aid to the state by the end of the decade.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wall Street Journal online going free?

Murdoch takes on FT with free online WSJ By Alistair Osborne, November 14, 2007

BUT: for those who might be interested in Dow Jones and WSJ content (before Mr Murdoch decides to make it free), I've found an e-mail on the BUSLIB listserv where there are "several places you can find lots of WSJ snd DJ material for free, For example, stories about the media are made available, full text, free, via the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University."

See this article.

See Also:
New Blogs Available from Wall Street Journal Online; New Economy and Deals Pages Too

New/Enhanced Research Tools from the Wall Street Journal: From Mutual Fund Screening to Campaign 2008 Timelines

WSJ.com Adds Article Recommendations, Biz Tech Blog, Portfolio E-Mail Containing Charts Accessible in Excel, and More

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Census PDA

I get to thank Bob S. for this article from Popular Mechanics, complete with imbedded video, about the personal digital assistants that Census enumerators are using.

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's the Travel Season

Here are some sources of free travel data; it appears that the good stuff, you have to pay for:

US DOT -- Bureau of Transportation Statistics

US Office of
Travel and Tourism


Travel Industry Association

Friday, November 16, 2007

Finding More People

The King County Law Library has something called public sleuthing links. While some of them are specific to Washington state, there are others that are governmental or private that anyone could use.

The blog Finding People has a bunch of useful links, both free and fee-based.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Finding People

A conversation on the Business Librarians listserv yielded this article: People Search Tools Populate the Web by by Paula J. Hane in Searcher magazine. In it, she mentions several specific sites. I decided to see if I could find myself.

On Wink, there were 231 people named Roger Green, and I was somewhere in the 20s. So I registered, and I ended up #1, with little usable info, save for my city,while ANOTHER record for me, that gave my place of employment and my job title, STILL resided in the 20s.

On Spock, I was 42 out of 441, but there was enough identifiers to know it was me. In addition to my age, it noted:
married Protestant librarian Pisces Grad / professional school Black / African descent Suny College At New Paltz straight From Binghamton, NY.

I went to Pipl and found me all over the place, without even indicating my city/state. I found my work e-mail address (long defunct) and my blog. Adding my city/state, I found my current address and phone number, and my previous two, one from 1999 or earlier. This site also offers more in depth info about me for a fee.

There are more sites for you to check out as well.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Quarterly Indicators: The Economy and Small Business

The SBA Office of Advocacy released the Quarterly Indicators: The Economy and
Small Business for the third quarter of 2007. Among the trends that are
observed, real gross domestic product grew 3.9 percent in the third
quarter of 2007, much faster than anticipated and comparable to second
quarter growth. Strong growth in exports (assisted by a weak dollar) and
solid gains in consumer spending helped fuel the rise in output.
Meanwhile, unemployment rose slightly, to 4.7 percent in September from
4.5 percent in June, but the expanding economy generated 282,000 more jobs
than it lost.

In September, the Federal Reserve lowered its federal funds target rate by
0.5 percent. Interest rates paid by small businesses and consumers moved
in tandem. Many observers contend that the move was necessitated by credit
concerns in the financial markets related to sub-prime lending. In
addition, overall inflation remained under control, with the consumer
price index rising an annualized 1 percent and producer prices falling 0.5
percent. Year-to-year inflation figures show a more substantial increase.
Consumer prices, for example, rose 2.8 percent from September 2006 to
September 2007. One culprit is higher energy prices. The price of a barrel
of West Texas crude oil rose $12.45 in the quarter, averaging just below
$80 a barrel in September.

Quarterly Indicators: The Economy and Small Business is located here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

2006-2007 Annual Statistical Report of New York State Tax Collections

Statistical Summaries and Historical Tables: This publication contains a series of statistical tabulations detailing taxes administered by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. The information presented includes revenues and selected tax structure and consumption information for the State?s major taxes. It a= lso presents data for some locally imposed taxes.

This edition presents information for New York State Fiscal Year 2006-2007 (SFY 2006-2007) and some historical statistics. New York State's fiscal year is April 1 - March 31.

To download the entire publication and statistical tables, please visit here.

Monthly tax collection information is also available here.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Track the true cost of meetings

"Meetings can be a waste of time. Well if that’s true, they’re a big financial drain, too. Ever wondered how much?"

The Meeting Miser is "a handy new management tool for BNET users: Type in the titles and locations of all your attendees, click the Start button, and the Miser runs a tab of your meeting’s actual cost, as measured by the median salaries of everybody in the room."

It's imprecise - sometimes it's difficult to find the exact job titles - but not without value. The monthly staff meetings in my office cost about $5.16 per minute.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

UB Libraries Develops New York State Geographic Data/Maps Database

Ever wonder how many more canals there are in New York State other than the Erie Canal? Where are our reservoirs? What areas are designated "forests"? Where are the "falls" other than Niagara? (there are 163 more)

The University at Buffalo Libraries now provides a database, the NYS Gazetteer and GeoData Collection, developed by Geosciences Librarian Michele Shular, which facilitates searching and locating 38,000 places, features, and other geographic information within New York State. Ms. Shular has electronically linked U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) digital maps archived at the UB Libraries with the New York State portion of the "Geographic Names Information System" (GNIS), a Federal repository of official domestic geographic names maintained by the USGS. The NYS Gazetteer and GeoData Collection is available free to the public on the UB Libraries web site. This comes out just in time for Geography Awareness Week, the third week in November.


The digital maps, technically referred to as georeferenced Digital Raster Graphics (DRGs), can be printed for class or field work or imported into Geographic Information System (GIS) applications. For example, DRG topographic maps can be combined with other geospatial data, such as Digital Elevation Models (DEMs), to enhance terrain and slope visualizations useful for site planning, land management, and earth science studies. This GIS import feature is useful for students, technical researchers and professionals in many fields, such as business, government, planning, and more.

Searches can be run on geographic names, feature type, by county map, by U.S. Geological Survey quadrangle, or by a merger of multiple categories. When searching the database, there are links provided to the appropriate feature in Google Maps. For example, you can locate:
4961 schools
298 hospitals
590 towers (largely radio/TV)
427 swamps
68 streams in Erie County
127 islands in St. Lawrence County
This type of extensive geodata/maps/gazetteer database follows the lead of a similar product by University of Virginia librarians.

Ms. Shular notes that the creation of this database is meant to promote and facilitate public access to free topographic maps and gazetteer information for New York State through an easy, searchable interface. "Topographic maps are wonderful tools that provide detailed information for natural and cultural features on the ground, such as slopes, valleys, rivers, roads, and even vegetation cover. Whether it is a K-12 teacher looking for geography class maps, a hiker looking to print a field map, or a GIS technician searching for a digital image to import into a GIS application, this database services a wide variety of needs. In time, the database will be expanded to include maps in a variety of scales, as well as other format types of geospatial data."

Don Gramlich, Lead Programmer Analyst in the UB Libraries, provided technical support for the development of the database.

For questions or assistance with the NYS Gazetteer and GeoData Collection, Ms. Shular can be reached in the UB Libraries by email mshular@buffalo.edu, or by phone at 645-2947 x223.

(Thanks to Data Detective Michael R. Lavin of the University at Buffalo.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Children Get Less Television Time

According to data released last month by the U.S. Census Bureau: in 2004, 47 percent of teenagers had restrictions on what they watched on television, when they watched, and for how long, up from 40 percent in 1994.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

That Modern Census Technology

Here's a scan of a 1940 Popular Science article on the Census on the "Modern Mechanix" blog. The article looks at the use of a new, modern punch-card system to speed up the incredible task of counting "about 132,000,000 Americans."

Of course, Census fans know that Herman Hollerith actually devised the first practical use the punch cards as well as developing the original tabulating equipment to speed the processing of the Census back in 1890.

Monday, November 5, 2007

STAR Rebate Deadline Extension

The following was recently posted to the state tax department Web site. Listed below is a brief description, followed by a link to the document.

Acting New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Barbara G. Billet announced that Gov. Eliot Spitzer recently signed legislation extending the deadline for homeowners to apply for their 2007 Middle Class STAR Rebate Program check from November 30 to December 31.

In addition, Acting Commissioner Billet also said that reminders about the program will be sent to about 600,000 property owners statewide who have yet to apply for their rebate check.

To view the entire document and rates please visit here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Southern California fire data

The Census Bureau has a Data and Emergency Preparedness section with Preparing for Emergencies Using Census Data, plus information about the October 2007 fires and the migration patterns in the Gulf Coast after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Renters Four Times More Likely to Move

The U.S. Census Bureau has released a series of 34 tables on the 40 million Americans who moved between 2005 and 2006, including characteristics of movers by type of move.

The package of tables, Geographical Mobility: 2006, describes migration in the United States in 2006. Other data include the annual rate of moving, the distance moved and differences in extent and type, for example, from the Northeast to the South or from the suburbs to a principal city.

Published annually at the national and regional levels, these tables reveal trends about migration in the United States. Characteristics of movers include data by race and Hispanic origin, age, marital status, educational attainment, labor force status, occupation and industry group, income and poverty status.

These estimates are from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the 2006 Current Population Survey.

Some of this year’s findings include the following:
In 2006, 39.8 million United States residents moved within the previous one-year period.
The moving rate remained statistically unchanged from 2005 at 14 percent.
Nearly half of the reasons given for moving (18.4 million) were housing related, such as wanting a bigger or smaller house.
The West had the highest moving rate (16 percent), followed by the South (15 percent), the Midwest (13 percent) and the Northeast (10 percent).
Hispanics had the highest moving rate (18 percent), followed by blacks (17 percent), Asians (14 percent) and non-Hispanic whites (12 percent).
In 2006, nearly one-third (30 percent) of all people living in renter-occupied housing units lived elsewhere a year earlier. The moving rate for people living in owner-occupied housing units was 7 percent.
For the population 16 and older, 24 percent of those who were unemployed in 2006 lived in a different place a year earlier. This compares with 14 percent of those who were employed in 2006 and 10 percent for those not in the labor force.
Most movers stayed within the same county (62 percent), while 20 percent moved from a different county within the same state; 14 percent moved from a different state and 3 percent moved from abroad.
- x -
Editors Note: Data in the report come from the Current Population Survey. Statistics from sample surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. For further information on the source of the data and accuracy of the estimates, including standard errors and confidence intervals, go to Appendix G of the technical document.

Tom Edwards
Public Information Office
301-763-3030/763-3762 (fax)
301-457-1037 (TDD)
e-mail: pio@census.gov

Friday, October 26, 2007

Small Business Growth: Searching for Stylized Facts

"Small Business Growth: Searching for Stylized Facts" is an Office of Advocacy working paper by Brian Headd and Bruce Kirchhoff. The authors analyzed data from special tabulations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistics of U.S. Businesses (SUSB) database. The SUSB data provided information on how firms started, grew, merged, declined, survived, and closed from 1992 to 2002. The authors found that growing firms are generally a constant share of the economy with a minor business cycle effect, firms with employment growth outnumber firms with employment decline, and fast growing firms in a given year tend to revert to the mean in later years.

A full copy of this report is available here in a PDF, and the research summary can be found here (PDF). Should you need further information, please feel free to contact Brian Headd at (202)
205-6533 or advocacy@sba.gov.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Economic Research Service



The Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture has useful data about
Diet, Health, & Safety
Farm Economy
Farm Practices & Management
Food & Nutrition Assistance
Food Sector
Natural Resources & Environment
Policy Topics
Research & Productivity
Rural Economy
Trade & International Markets

There is a mapping section that may interest data users. (The map above delineates the number of food stamp recipients by county in NYS.)

(Thanks to data detective Lisa Welch of the Syracuse-Onondaga County Planning Agency.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

MasterCard and Visa

Last week, while some of us were waiting to be seated at a Lake George-area eatery, I got into a conversation about how many restaurants and retailers limit the use of the credit cards that they accept, creating minimum charges and prohibiting tips from being included, in violation of the agreement they have with the companies. I thought I had written about this, and I had, on my work blog here, starting about halfway down.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Economic Census is Coming!

In December 2007, businesses across the country will receive 2007 Economic Census forms from the U.S. Census Bureau. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke has called this census "indispensable to understanding America's economy."
Taken every five years, the Economic Census "assures the accuracy of the statistics we rely on for sound economic policy and for successful business planning," said Bernanke.
There are a lot of interesting facts from the last Economic Census, available at business.census.gov. Examples there illustrate how the data are used by local businesses for marketing and planning, as well as by government agencies and researchers.

Promote the Economic Census. Go here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Joe Salvo's Son Gets Hitched

Joe Salvo, Sr. is a long-time data detective, as director of the population division of the New York City Department of City Planning in Manhattan.

Spending for children

The Rockefeller Institute has updated an earlier report on spending for children in the American states. The new report presents data for 1992, 1998, 2003, and 2004 on state and local government expenditures in major programs designed for children or in which children are the main beneficiaries.

The report finds that state and local governments spent $467 billion of their own-source funds on major programs for children in fiscal year 2004. About 9 out of 10 of all dollars spent on children went to K-12 education. The remaining funds supported health programs and a category of expenditures encompassing a variety of nonhealth, noneducation programs (including TANF/AFDC, foster child and other child welfare services, child care, and child support enforcement).

Real (inflation-adjusted) spending per child by state and local governments increased by 34 percent between 1992 and 2004. The fastest growing expenditure during this period in the area of health, which nearly doubled in real per-pupil terms. TANF/AFDC expenditures declined between 1992 and 2004, while other social service programs grew.

States varied greatly in their levels of spending. Total per child spending ranged from $9,297 in New Jersey down to $3,699 in Utah.

Future reports will examine the relationship at the state level between state spending for children and state fiscal capacity and the racial composition of persons living in the state. The Institute website will also soon make available the data and state profiles produced from of the data.

The research has been supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Monday, October 15, 2007

Where Does My Gasoline Come From?

The United States consumes over 20 million barrels (840 million gallons) of petroleum products each day, almost half of it in the form of gasoline used in over 200 million motor vehicles with combined travel over 7 billion miles per day.

Can I tell which country or State the gasoline at my local station comes from?

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) cannot definitively say where gasoline at a given station originated since EIA does not collect data on the source of the gasoline sold at retail outlets.


Much more information here.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Random Numbers

"RANDOM.ORG offers true random numbers to anyone on the Internet. The randomness comes from atmospheric noise, which for many purposes is better than the pseudo-random number algorithms typically used in computer programs. People use the numbers to run lotteries, draws and sweepstakes and for their games and gambling sites. Scientists use them for random sampling and as input to modelling and simulation applications. Artists use them to make art and music. The service has been operating since 1998 and was built and is being maintained by Mads Haahr who is a Lecturer in the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College, Dublin in Ireland."

It includes everything from a Coin Flipper to a Dice Roller (useful if you don't actually have the dice you need for a game) to an Integer Generator up to 10,000 numbers, with values determined by the user, limits ±1,000,000,000. A Sequence Generator is the same as the Integer Generator except it eliminates duplicates. And there's a lot more.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

SBA Dynamic Small Business Search

From Hill Library:

If you’ve ever used a service like InfoUSA or ZapData , you know how helpful it can be to generate a list of competitors or B2B prospects based on specific criteria. You also know how expensive it can be.

The Small Business Administration, it turns out, keeps tabs on a large group of businesses and provides access to these records at this site. Use the Dynamic Small Business Search site to bring up a list of businesses by state, county, NAICS code, ownership demographic, and all manner of other criteria.

These are companies that have shown interest in contracting with the government, so industry coverage will lean toward service and manufacturing. And not every company will be included, of course. Still, when the other option is a fistful of money, this company research tool isn’t too bad.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

ZIPskinny

Found one of those data generating databases ZIPskinny. It is, from a cursory glance, bogus. Here are some results:
The Top 100 ZIP Codes lists suggests that there are 69 places where the percentage of the population over the age of 15 which is currently married is 100%, that there are over 100 places with 100% high school graduates, 12 with 100% 4-year college graduates, 7 with post-grad degrees, and that there are places with median ages of 12 and 85. So, if someone suggests this site to you, look elsewhere.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Legal Lad TM Legal Tips for a Lawful Life

This site provides "quick and dirty" podcasts and transcript articles on navigating legal issues. If you’ve got questions, this site has answers. Forming a business? Thinking about drug-screening your employees? Wondering about copyright on the Internet ? Learn more about the legal repercussions to these business issues, and find legal tips for your personal life, too.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Why Transit-Oriented Development And Why Now?

TOD 101: Why Transit-Oriented Development And Why Now? (PDF; 1.2 MB)
Source: ReconnectingAmerica.org

This colorful 24-page "picture book" lays out in easy-to-read format how shifting demographics and the changing real estate market have opened up an unprecedented window of opportunity for transit-oriented development. The book explains what TOD is and how it benefits communities.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics

Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This report is written in response to numerous requests for war casualty statistics and lists of war dead. It provides tables, compiled by sources at the Department of Defense (DOD), indicating the number of casualties among American military personnel serving in principal wars and combat actions from the Revolutionary War through 2006.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Economic Development Directory

"80 directories of selected economic development agencies, economic development consultants and economic development associations worldwide. Only selected websites with significant economic development information are listed."

Here are some for New York State.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Habla anglais?

Someone was looking for the percent of people who speak English by country.

I knew that one could check the individual countries in the World Almanac, but that'd be tedious. A better choice, the CIA. I also Googled and found these raw numbers and these from 1995.

Of course, these are often estimates and this article, unlike anything else I came across, suggests that there are more speakers of English in India than in the US. I suppose it depends on how one measures fluency.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

GTC East Wednesday (9/26) Summary of the Day

From the Government Technology conference in Albany, NY:

"David Pogue, New York Times personal technology columnist, CBS News tech correspondent and best-selling author opened GTC East with an energetic keynote. Pogue explained the five technology trends he believes will most influence the future. They include services on how Web 2.0 delivers on the promise of personalization and technologies that find you and help you where you are.

In the afternoon general session, Ron Crouch, Director of the State Data Center at the University of Louisville, gave an eye-opening interpretation of the census trends and what these trends mean for New York, and for state and local governments. He debuted an analysis of new 2006 data that shows New York's increasing reliance on foreign born workers with advanced degrees and the state's increasing inability to retain young workers that were born and educated in New York.

Best and Worst Test Markets

"Acxiom has leveraged the accuracy of Personicx® LifeStages to find those markets that most closely resemble a microcosm of the US."
3 NEWBURGH NY-PA
8 ROCHESTER NY
19 ALBANY-SCHENECTADY-TROY NY
20 DUTCHESS COUNTY NY
55 SYRACUSE NY
171 BUFFALO-NIAGARA FALLS NY
The NYC metro wasn't listed; nor were the smaller New York locales, such as Binghamton and Elmira.
"If it plays in Peoria, it’ll play anywhere."
71 PEORIA-PEKIN IL

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Damn, This Traffic Jam

It's very likely you've heard about Americans spending more time stuck in traffic. But who put out the report? It was the Texas Transportation Institute, often referred in reports (erroneously, as far as I can tell), as the Texas Traffic Institute. It's affiliated with Texas A&M University. You can access the full 138-page PDF from the page.

I wonder, though: is all that lost time really "lost"? Are people on buses reading or working with their laptops? Are drivers easting and putting on makeup? Curious minds want to know.

Anyway, the lyrics alluded to in the title are found here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Corporate Leavers Survey

"..each year in this country, more than 2 million professionals and managers in today’s increasingly diverse workforce leave their jobs, pushed out by cumulative small comments, whispered jokes and not-so-funny emails. This rigorous study, the first large scale review of this issue, shows that unfairness costs U.S. employers $64 billion on an annual basis."

Interesting issue. But I've been wondering, and not for the first, how DO they calculate these things?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council Newsletter

The Fall 2007 Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Review – Newsletter of the G/FLRPC has come out, featuring:
· Tracking Our Changing Region: The Regional Land Use Monitoring Report
· Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) Program Update
· The Village of Pike Progresses with its Dissolution Study
· A Land Use Strategy for Our Region’s Steep Slopes
· Watershed Plans: Protecting and Restoring Water Quality: A new guide by the Department of State and Department of Environmental Conservation
· Ontario-Wayne MS4 Update
· G/FLRPC Holds Annual Meeting
· A Sense of Place
· Planning Leads to Results
· G/FLRPC Recent Publications

I've created a new section for newsletters, and the G/FLRPC newsletter is the inaugural item. If any of the affiliates want to suggest other newsletters, please leave suggestions in the comment section.

I'm still looking for more affiliate links and, of course, affiliate contributions.

Friday, September 21, 2007

State and Local Government Statistics at a Crossroads

On the 50th anniversary of the first quinquennial Census of Governments, a National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council panel on research and development priorities for the Census Bureau’s State and Local Government Statistics Program has issued a report that recommends improvements in timeliness, efficiency, relevance, and quality of census data on states and localities. These data are of broad national interest and importance, contributing to understanding of both the U.S. economy and the role that states and local entities play in American federalism. The panel is chaired by Richard P. Nathan, co-director of the Rockefeller Institute.
A set of charts highlighting the work, findings, and recommendations of the panel is available, along with the prepublication text of the panel report. This version of the report will be formally published in hard copy in late October with editorial changes that will not affect the panel’s findings and recommendations. For more information, go to www.rockinst.org.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Publishing House Research - Resource Guide

Here are links of resources for publishers of books, periodicals or both. I looked at just the book sources, and the best source of free statistics off this page is the Association of American Publishers; however, for the best narrative info, try Publishers Weekly, which is an interesting read even if you're just a fan of books.

I recommend this site, despite parts of the larger website needing some loving. The blog hasn't been updated since December 2006, and there's an interview from July 2006.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

State Library

Now that all residents of the state can get one, I hope you all have a state library card. If you're a state employee, it's even more advantageous, but even the resident card has its database privileges. But even without the card, the NYSL page has some beneficial features such as the New York State Agency Databases, where I discovered a lawyer friend of mine is delinquent in his registration, and Internet bibliographies, including Business, Disability Resources, Health and Medicine, Hispanic and Latino Resources, Newspapers, and Standards and Specifications.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Directory of Licensed Farm Product Dealers

The link is to a current listing of all farm product dealers who are licensed by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets. This list is updated weekly. For daily updates, please call 1-800-554-4501. Producers should verify a dealer is licensed before making delivery of farm products.

Times to End Charges on Web Site

The New York Times will stop charging for access to parts of its Web site, effective at midnight tonight.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hispanic Heritage Month, 2007: Sept. 15-Oct. 15, Part 2

Businesses

Source for statements in this section: Hispanic-owned Firms: 2002.

1.6 million
The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in 2002.

Triple
The rate of growth of Hispanic-owned businesses between 1997 and 2002 (31 percent) compared with the national average (10 percent) for all businesses.

$222 billion
Revenue generated by Hispanic-owned businesses in 2002, up 19 percent from 1997.

45%
. . . of all Hispanic-owned firms were owned by Mexicans, Mexican-Americans and Chicanos.

29,168
Number of Hispanic-owned firms with receipts of $1 million or more.

•43 percent of Hispanic-owned firms operated in construction; administrative and support, and waste management and remediation services; and other services, such as personal services, and repair and maintenance. Retail and wholesale trade accounted for 36 percent of Hispanic-owned business revenue.

•States with the fastest rates of growth for Hispanic-owned firms between 1997 and 2002 included New York (57 percent), Georgia and Rhode Island (56 percent each), and Nevada and South Carolina (48 percent each).

•Counties with the highest number of Hispanic-owned firms were Los Angeles County (188,422); Miami-Dade County (163,187); and Harris County, Texas (61,934).

Spanish Language

32.2 million
The number of U.S. household residents 5 and older who speak Spanish at home.
Spanish speakers constitute nearly one in eight U.S. household residents. Among
all those who speak Spanish at home, more than one-half say they speak English very well. (Source: 2005 American Community Survey)

29%
Percentage of Texas residents who speak Spanish at home, which leads all states. This compares with the national average of 12 percent. (Source: 2005 American Community Survey)

78%
Percentage of Hispanics 5 and older who speak a language other than English at home. Of that number, about half speak English very well. (Source: 2005 American Community Survey)

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance

$35,967
The median income of Hispanic households in 2005, statistically unchanged from the previous year. (Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005.)

21.8%
The poverty rate among Hispanics in 2005, statistically unchanged from 2004. (Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005).

32.7%
The percentage of Hispanics who lacked health insurance in 2005, statistically unchanged from 2004. (Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005).

Education

59%
The percentage of Hispanics 25 and older who had at least a high school education in 2006.

12%
The percentage of the Hispanic population 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2006.

3.1 million
The number of Hispanics 18 and older who had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2006, up from 1.4 million a decade earlier.

839,000
Number of Hispanics 25 and older with advanced degrees in 2006 (e.g., master’s, professional, doctorate).

11%
Percentage of all college students in October 2005 who were Hispanic. Among elementary and high school students combined, the corresponding proportion was 19 percent.
Educational attainment levels are higher among certain Hispanic groups than among others. For example, among Cubans 25 and older, 73 percent were at least high school graduates, and 24 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Jobs

68%
Percentage of Hispanics 16 and older who are in the civilian labor force. (Source: 2005 American Community Survey)

17%
The percentage of Hispanics 16 or older who work in management, professional and related occupations. Approximately 24 percent of Hispanics 16 or older work in service occupations; 22 percent in sales and office occupations; 2 percent in farming, fishing and forestry occupations; 16 percent in construction, extraction, maintenance and repair occupations; and 19 percent in production, transportation and material moving occupations. (Source: 2005 American Community Survey)

77,700
Number of Hispanic chief executives. In addition, 49,200 physicians and surgeons; 53,700 postsecondary teachers; 29,000 lawyers; and 3,300 news analysts, reporters and correspondents are Hispanic. (Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008)

Voting

7.6 million
The number of Hispanic citizens who reported voting in the 2004 presidential election. The percentage of Hispanic citizens voting — about 47 percent — did not change statistically from four years earlier. (Source: Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2004.)

Serving our Country

1.1 million
The number of Hispanic veterans of the U.S. armed forces. (Source: 2005 American Community Survey)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hispanic Heritage Month 2007: Sept. 15 – Oct. 15

In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week, which was observed during the week including Sept. 15 and Sept. 16. The observance was expanded in 1988 to a month-long celebration (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15). America celebrates the culture and traditions of U.S. residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Sept. 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.

Population

44.3 million
The estimated Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2006, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority. Hispanics constituted 15 percent of the nation’s total population. (This estimate does not include the 3.9 million residents of Puerto Rico.) here and here.

About 1
. . . of every two people added to the nation’s population between July 1, 2005, and July 1, 2006, was Hispanic. There were 1.4 million Hispanics added to the population over the period.

3.4%
Percentage increase in the Hispanic population between July 1, 2005, and July 1, 2006, making Hispanics the fastest-growing minority group.

102.6 million
The projected Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2050. According to this projection, Hispanics will constitute 24 percent of the nation’s total population by that date.

22.4 million
The nation’s Hispanic population during the 1990 census -- just slightly over half the current total.

3rd
Ranking of the size of the U.S. Hispanic population worldwide, as of 2005. Only Mexico (106.2 million) and Colombia (43 million) had larger Hispanic populations than did the United States (42.7 million). (Spain had a population of 40.3 million.)

64%
The percentage of Hispanic-origin people in households who are of Mexican background. Another 9 percent are of Puerto Rican background, with 3.5 percent Cuban, 3 percent Salvadoran and 2.7 percent Dominican. The remainder are of some other Central American, South American or other Hispanic or Latino origin. (Source: 2005 American Community Survey)

Roughly half of the nation’s Dominicans live in New York City and about half of the nation’s Cubans in Miami-Dade County, Fla. (Source: 2005 American Community Survey)

27.4 years
Median age of the Hispanic population in 2006. This compares with 36.4 years for the population as a whole.

107
Number of Hispanic males in 2006 per every 100 Hispanic females. This was in sharp contrast to the overall population, which had 97 males per every 100 females.

States and Counties

48%
The percentage of the Hispanic-origin population that lives in California or Texas. California is home to 13.1 million Hispanics, and Texas is home to 8.4 million.

15
The number of states with at least a half million Hispanic residents. They are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.

44%
The percentage of New Mexico’s population that is Hispanic, the highest of any state. Hispanics also make up more than a quarter of the population in California and Texas, at 36 percent each, and Arizona (29 percent).

4.7 million
The Hispanic population of Los Angeles County, Calif. the largest of any county in the nation.

305,000
The increase in Texas’ Hispanic population between July 1, 2005, and July 1, 2006, which led all states. California (283,000), Florida (161,000) and Arizona (102,000) also recorded large increases.

22
Number of states in which Hispanics are the largest minority group. These states are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.

Families and Children

9.9 million
The number of Hispanic family households in the United States in 2006. Of these households, 62 percent included children younger than 18.

67%
The percentage of Hispanic family households consisting of a married couple.

44%
The percentage of Hispanic family households consisting of a married couple with children younger than 18.

66%
Percentage of Hispanic children living with two married parents.

23%
Percentage of total population younger than 5 that was Hispanic as of July 1, 2006.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Finding Our Religion

As I've mentioned in the past, much to data gathers' chagrin, religious data cannot be gathered by the US Census. Here are data sources from my work post; someone named Nancy Oliver was very helpful in this regard.

My favorite fact from this process: the majority of Arab-Americans are Christian, not Muslim.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Baby Name Wizard

David Brooks had a column, syndicated by the New York Times in August, titled "Dropping old names for new". In it he commended Laura Wattenberg's "obsession with names...and has transformed it into a window on American society, the Baby Name Wizard. He specifically extolled the blog for trends in baby names. If you have Java script, definitely check out the NameVoyager, which is not only interesting but visually cool.

Of course, the Social Security Popular Baby Names section is useful as well. In fact, I had so much fun with it that I had to blog about it earlier this year.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

New York State Highway Bridge Data

New York State is home to more than 17,000 highway bridges, about 44 percent of them owned by the State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), roughly 50 percent owned by municipalities, and the rest owned by state and local authorities (such as the State Thruway Authority), commissions (such as the Capital District State Park Commission), and railroads (such as CSX Corporation, Inc.).

According to a news report, "DOT Commissioner Astrid Glynn said the department plans to make the site more user-friendly in coming months."

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

United Nations Databases

Censuses throughout the World. Of particular interest to me, ethnocultural characteristics, which includes the questions asked by various countries.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Industry and Company Ratios website

This is a common question for our clients going into business.

The roster is specific to the title access on the campus of origin, but seems fairly useful.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Friday, August 31, 2007

Of Game Shows and Blogs

I'm linking the post I made to my work blog this week here to show how having an unofficial mechanism can work to one's advantage.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Numbers Guy

RECOMMENDED BLOG: The Numbers Guy. "Carl Bialik examines the way numbers are used, and abused." Free from the Wall Street Journal. Recent examples:

The Trouble With Ranking Life-Expectancy Numbers (August 27)
Calculating the Cost of Weddings (August 23): noting the difference between the mean and the median price of matrimony
Increasingly in Baseball, Stealing Pays (August 21): Go, METS! Literally.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Plenty of Apples, but Possibly a Shortage of Immigrant Pickers

Provided by the The New York Immigration Coalition.

By LISA W. FODERARO

HAMPTONBURGH, N.Y., Aug. 16 — With a look of supreme satisfaction, Jeff Crist squinted at the Ginger Golds and Jonamacs ripening under an incandescent sun at his apple orchard here: the trees were so laden that they almost seemed to strain under the effort.

"It’s a vintage crop — a solid quality crop, which means good sugars in the apples," he said. "They should eat very nicely, almost like a good wine."

This is the third year in a row of near-perfect weather, and Mr. Crist, a fourth-generation apple grower, like many other growers in the Hudson Valley, is finally feeling secure after a disastrous string of harvests marred by early frost and hail. In fact, Mr. Crist is so bullish that he recently bought a 164-acre orchard nearby, bucking the decades-long trend of apple orchards being sold to housing developers.

But while weather conditions have cooperated and industry experts say demand for apples nationwide has approached an all-time high, there are new fears in New York and around the nation over whether there will be enough hands to pick the crop. This month, the Bush administration announced new measures to crack down on employers of illegal immigrants.

Nationwide, growers’ associations estimate that about 70 percent of farmworkers are illegal immigrants, many of them using fake Social Security numbers on their applications. Under the new rules, if the Social Security Administration finds that an applicant’s information does not match its database, employers could be required to fire the worker or risk being fined up to $10,000 for knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant.

"Farmers are required to validate the legal status of their workers, which they do," said Peter Gregg, a spokesman for the New York Apple Association, a nonprofit group representing more than 670 commercial apple growers in the state. "But a lot of times the paperwork is false, so they’re unwittingly or unknowingly hiring workers who are here illegally. And then a raid will occur, and all of a sudden their workers will leave."

For apple growers in New York, where the forces of nature and the market have at last come together in their favor, the potential fallout from the new immigration initiative is particularly unsettling. "We have three billion apples to pick this fall and every single one of them has to be picked by hand," Mr. Gregg said. "It’s a very labor-intensive industry, and there is no local labor supply that we can draw from, as much as we try. No one locally really wants to pick apples for six weeks in the fall."

Mr. Crist, who was recently named apple grower of the year by a leading fruit industry magazine, lobbied in Washington for passage of a new guest-worker program. But the program was part of the overall immigration reform proposal that collapsed on the Senate floor in late June. Growers say that only 2 percent of farmworkers nationwide come from the current guest-worker program, which, they say, is plagued by red tape, low capacity and delays.

Another Hudson Valley apple grower, Mark S. Roe, of Roe’s Orchards in Blooming Grove, will get five workers through the existing program for this fall’s harvest. He said he planned to hire about seven additional pickers. As for past workers, Mr. Roe said: "It’s hard to tell who’s legal and who’s not. They all have documents."

He, too, is worried about the tougher immigration rules and what they might mean for his 240-acre fruit and vegetable farm, which was started by his great-great-grandfather in 1827 and is still worked by his grown children, who represent the sixth generation of growers. "We need something better, something grower-friendly," he said.

So far, the Hudson Valley has not been subject to the federal raids that have rippled through farms and orchards in western New York, especially in the Buffalo area. "Last year, there were significantly more raids targeting agriculture in New York," Mr. Gregg said. "A lot of growers lost numerous workers at the peak of the harvest. They had to scramble to try to find someone else. It was difficult. In a lot of cases, there were apples left hanging on the trees."

For now, both Mr. Crist and Mr. Roe say they have enough pickers for the initial harvest. Workers are now plucking Ginger Golds, one of the first varieties to ripen, and placing them in wooden bins that each hold 2,000 to 3,000 apples.

A crew leader who for decades has recruited workers for Mr. Crist’s orchards said that if the current source of labor dried up there would be few other alternatives. The workers are mostly Hispanic men who pick citrus fruits in Florida and then move north for the apple harvest.

Despite the labor concerns, growers seem to be optimistic, having emerged from the stretch of growing seasons that were devastated by storms and wild swings in temperature.

"Five or six years ago, we were ready to wrap up our affairs," said Mr. Crist, who owns six orchards, totaling 600 acres, in Orange and Ulster Counties. "It looked pretty dismal, and a number of growers either chose to get out or they had to get out. There are less of us today than there used to be. But we’re back on solid footing."

In the past two decades, the number of farms in Ulster County, the second-highest apple-producing county in the state, behind Wayne County, has steadily declined, according to Michael J. Fargione, an educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension, which provides research information and educational programs to farmers. In 1985, 104 farms covered 11,629 acres in Ulster County. By 1996, the number had slid to 63 orchards on 8,632 acres.And by 2001, the most recent year for which figures are available, there were 56 apple orchards on 5,669 acres.

But growers and agriculture experts say that in recent years fewer orchards in the Hudson Valley seem to have fallen to housing developers. "My impression is that over the last three years, the decline has either stabilized or at least reduced its rate," Mr. Fargione said.

Mr. Roe, whose farm stand was awash in the rosy hues of just-picked peaches and plums, said his family had no intention of selling. Indeed, the weather this season — with ample rain and sunshine — seems to have strengthened his zest for farming.

"It’s been practically perfect," he said. "It’s just one of those things you hope for and dream about, and it rarely happens."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Every New Yorker counts in 2010 census

Featuring the NYSDC's own Bob Scardamalia! Oh, yeah, and Warren Brown.

ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, Rochester, N.Y.
August 17, 2007

Every New Yorker counts in 2010 census: Federal funding, Congress seats at risk if state population comes up short by Dan Wiessner

Billions of dollars in federal funding and some of New York's seats in Congress could be lost if county officials don't take steps to ensure that everyone is counted in the 2010 census, experts said Thursday.
Population growth in the state has been below national rates for decades. From 2000 to July of last year, the country's population increased by 6.4 percent, while New York's went up only 1.7 percent, to about 19 million. Florida saw an increase of 13.2 percent, to about 18 million.
If the trend continues, the Sunshine State will overtake New York as the third-most populous in the United States before the '10 count. (California at 36.5 million and Texas at 23.5 million have the most people.)
This means the state could lose billions in federal funds and two seats in the House of Representatives, according to Robert Scardamalia, a demographer with the state-run Empire State Development Corp. New York has lost 10 House seats since 1980 and now has only 29.
"This is a troubling trend but there are things we can do to mitigate these figures," said Sean Silvernial of the state Association of Counties. "We need to become more involved, as leaders of our communities, in the state's effort to ensure a full and accurate count in 2010."
The U.S. census is based on housing information. Census officials use postal records to compile a master list of addresses throughout the country — there are currently about 120 million — and then mail questionnaires to every address asking for demographic information.
"The census doesn't really care about population, which sounds odd, but they care about housing units," Scardamalia said. "The risk for New York is there are an awful lot of addresses we can't find."
He said this method is open to error for several reasons. It's difficult to keep track of single-family homes that are converted into businesses or multiple apartments or rented out to several people. Keeping tabs on new homes and buildings in areas of rapid growth such as Orange County is also a challenge, he said.
Housing records might also not be reflective of the migration of college students, prisoners and people who live in nursing homes or community residences. Local officials can check potential miscounts by delving into phone and other utility records and keeping track of building and demolition permits and mobile-home placements, Scardamalia said.
Since 2005, only 12 of the country's 3,100 counties have challenged the yearly estimates the census provides, according to Warren Brown of Cornell University. Of those 12, seven were in New York.
But counties can only challenge figures once they've been released. The only opportunity local officials have to directly influence the tally is an optional program that allows them to review and update the Census Bureau's list of housing units.
New York City did this during the 2000 census and came up with 369,000 addresses that the Census Bureau missed — nearly 10 percent of the city's entire housing stock — and the population was boosted by 164,000.
"What would be ideal is to have an ongoing register of all living quarters within your jurisdiction, updated with building permits or certificates of occupancy," said Brown, who is also a liaison between census officials and the state.
The Census Bureau also checks for population shifts by subtracting deaths from births and looking for address changes on tax returns and Medicare enrollment forms. But, Brown said, discrepancies likely occur when officials try to track immigration from abroad and migration of military personnel and young adults beginning their careers.

Monday, August 27, 2007

North American Cities of the Future 2007/08

This list was released on April 25, 2007 by Foreign Direct Investment and can be found here.

Highlights:
In the major cities category, NYC scored well in population under 25, fall in unemployment 2004-2005, and manual wage cost. It was 3rd in best development and investment promotion, 2nd in best human resources, 4th in most business friendly, and 2nd in quality of life.

In the large cities category, Rochester scored well in fall in unemployment 2004-2005.

In the small cities category, Albany did well in the population under 25, and percentage of population with a degree. Albany was 3rd of the top 10 small cities of the future, 1st in best human resources, 1st in quality of life.

In the micro cities category, Poughkeepsie and Plattsburgh did well in population under 25 and in percentage of population with a degree, Plattsburgh and Troy in fall in unemployment 2004-2005. Plattsburgh was 4th in most cost effective and 9th of the top 10 micro cities of the future; Poughkeepsie was 10th in the top micro cities list.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Best Cities For Singles

Best Cities For Singles from Forbes.com, 08.21.07. NYC is second, Buffalo is 31st out of 40. But here's a Newsweek My Turn story about someone with a family moving back to Buffalo.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

POP Clock Fun

OK, I’m curious: WHY did Census have on the American FactFfinder page:

U.S. Population Clock
10:59 am EST Jan 7, 2005
295,203,830
at 12:55 pm EDT on August 23, 2007?

A minute later, it was all corrected:
U.S. Population Clock
16:56 GMT (EST+5) Aug 23, 2007
302,679,004

Estimates by Age

Lenny writes:

The Missouri Census Data Census has added data for 2006 to its Population Estimates by Age web application.

The raw data used in this application has been downloaded from the National Center for Health Statistics web site and added as enhanced SAS datasets to the archive. These datasets can be accessed via Uexplore/Dexter in the popests/nchsbri subdirectory.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

SBA Supports Census

On August 16, 2007, the Office of Advocacy sent a letter to the House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Chairman and Ranking Member describing the unintended consequences of a proposed funding cut to the Census budget in the FY 2008 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill (H.R. 3093). If enacted, the cut would jeopardize the Survey of Business Owners and Self-Employed Persons (SBO), on which Advocacy and researchers depend to understand the contributions and challenges of small business.

A copy of Advocacy's letter may be found here and a fact sheet summarizing Advocacy's letter can be found here.

For more information about the Office of Advocacy, please visit the website or telephone 202-205-6533.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Geo within Geo

At the joint SDC Affiliate/Dept. of Labor session last year, I mentioned Geo within Geo on the Census Web Page, American Factfinder. After the session, about a half dozen people noted that they had no idea what I was talking about.

If you go to the Detailed Tables or Quick Tables, the tab on the right is Geo within Geo. You can find all the places within a county, or all the block groups in a place, or any of those designations that don't come up naturally (states in the country, counties in the state, county subdivisions in the county).

Beats the heck out of trying to find all the places in Westchester County on a map, which I once tried to do.

Friday, August 17, 2007

N.Y. Regulator Expects All Insurers at Pandemic Flu Exercise

For several years, I've been receiving a weekly "Continuity e-Guide" from the Disaster Resource Guide. This week's post featured the title above, with an abstract of the article:

Call it a command performance: The New York State Insurance Department is holding a drill in September to evaluate how ready the nation’s financial services are to survive a flu pandemic, and it expects all state insurance companies to take part.

According to an article on the Insurance Journal website, the test has a bigger scope than any done so far in the United Sates. “Designed to simulate a global influenza outbreak, the exercise is being sponsored by the US Department of the Treasury and major financial services trade organizations,” the article says.

The simulation kicks off on September 24 and is expected to last three weeks. Participants will take part at their own locations by accessing a secure website to respond to such scenarios as transportation, communications and telecommunications disruptions.

"By participating, insurance companies will have an opportunity to review, test and update their pandemic plans against realistic scenarios that could cause massive absenteeism," NYSID Deputy Superintendent Louis W. Pietroluongo told the publication.

"Continuity plans typically focus on disruptions, like earthquakes, that are limited in time and place, but a flu pandemic could hit in waves over a protracted period of weeks or months," he added.


To read the full August 9 article from Insurance Journal, click here.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Post-Upfront Survey results published in Advertising Age

The most significant new trend to emerge in the 2007-08 upfront market is the switch to a new ratings system, according to a survey of media buyers and sellers participating in TV Guide Network’s 2007 Upfront Opinion Study.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Book Sales

Sales Barely Up, Book Trade Yearns for Next Blockbuster
from June 1, 2007, New York Times, Section C, Page 3, Column 1

ABSTRACT - Book Industry Study Group report shows publishers sold 3.1 billion books in 2006, up just 0.5 percent from 3.09 billion sold year before; net revenue rose 3.2 percent as result of higher retail book prices, to $35.7 billion from $34.6 billion; strongest growth segment in publishing last year continued to be religious books, where 263.4 million were sold, up 3.1 percent from previous year; adult trade paperbacks increased unit sales by 3.5 percent, to 418.2 million, with net revenue rising 6.1 percent, to $3.69 billion; sales of adult hardcovers dipped 0.1 percent, to 406 million copies last year, although revenue rose 2.4 percent, to $5.49 billion.

However, from Publishers Weekly: Book Sales Projected to Increase 4% in 2007.

From the Book Industry Study Group, Book Industry TRENDS 2007 Shows Publishers' Net Revenues Rose 3.2 Percent in 2006 to Reach $35.69 billion. Not so incidentally, "The BISG office has been closed since July 19 due to the steam pipe explosion that occurred immediately outside our building. We do not yet have a definite date when we will be able to return to our offices. We are able to access voice mail and e-mail so please do not hesitate to contact us. We will deal with all enquiries as quickly as we can. We apologize for any inconvenience and expect to resume normal service as soon as possible."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Business Continuity Newsletter

I hope that you can click on the link to access the August 2007 issue of the CPM-Global Assurance e-Newsletter. If you can not open the link this way, you may have to subscribe. It's free. It may be useful for you, and if you're dealing with economic development, to your clients as well.

Monday, August 13, 2007

BOCES Study


The Rockefeller Institute has completed a study of the Capital Region Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) Supervisory District of Albany, Schoharie, Schenectady, and Saratoga Counties for the New York State Department of Education. The study includes recommendations on Capital Region BOCES’ structure relative to neighboring BOCES regions; individual school districts in Schoharie County; the City School District of Albany; and the potential for further study of BOCES operations in the area from the Catskills to Hamilton, Herkimer, Madison and Oneida counties.

Here's a list of BOCES programs throughout the state. Here's another list.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Manufacturing companies and their plant locations

From BUSLIB:

"Does anyone know of a directory or database of manufacturing companies and their plant locations? I don't need subsidiary or division locations. There are plenty of database for that. I need to be able to determine where a company's manufacturing plants are located."

REPLY #1: "Try searching the EPA envirofacts warehouse to find plant locations. This source obviously does not cover every company or facility but it is free and easy to use.

"For example enter General Motors in 'facility selection' and then scroll to the bottom to hit search, when the results come up click on 'view facility information' - you get some basic information plus a map of the location and the Duns number so you can run a D&B report or obtain additional information from a D&B database."

REPLY #2: "This is true and an excellent resource and at last count had more than 1.3 million US facilities. However, remember two points about this database:
1. The database is about 24 months out of date
2. Any facility listed must have EPA registered emissions or waste (air, water, hazmat, etc.). Gasoline stations are exempt; i.e. no emissions and the facility will not be listed.
However, most plant facilities have some kind of emissions. Even Keebler Cookie plants are listed.

Another good site to see a companies facilities with address is the searchable OSHA database.

GA$

You'll notice that on the bar to the right, I've added a contraption that provides gas prices by ZIP code. If you have suggestions of other things to add to this blog, please leave in the comments section, or e-mail me.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Nearly 10% of U.S. Counties Now "Majority-Minority"

303 of them out of 3141 counties.

A story about this.

A Question of SIC and NAICS Codes

Question I see on a listserv: Been working with a group here this week. They're trying to update some data on some commercial loans and are asking me to verify SIC/NAICS for them. Come to find out that through D&B.com you can get SIC's, but they are listing NAICS codes. Patron also wants NAICS codes, especially for the companies where D&B's code doesn't match what they already had internally.
Problem is some of these businesses are pretty small.... Any ideas on sources of NAICS codes for small companies. (Have already tried Ward's
too....)


So I write: You might try Reference USA, available in many public and state libraries, which lists both SIC and NAICS codes for the companies listed.
If the company's not in there, and you have the SIC, you could do the conversion using this site, though it'll be tricky because many of the conversions aren't one-to-one.
Hope this is useful.

And I think I'm done. No such luck:

Some folks have been kind enough to point out the government site where you can move from SIC to NAICS. Our problem is that we have a conflict between the SIC in the patron's internal system and the information we're getting from D&B. The folks in the office don't always know exactly what the company does, so it would be hard for them to determine it themselves.
They'd like a source to go straight to the NAICS.....


I reply: "They'd like a source to go straight to the NAICS....."

If I understand your statement correctly, it seems that you are looking for the "standard" NAICS code. But look at the link here, particularly questions 5 and 6. It's quite possible that - and I'm making the example up - that D&B will assign IBM the NAICS code for computer manufacturer, Hoover will select software manufacturer, and Reference USA something else.
Which one is right? Based on the way information is gathered, perhaps all of them.

If I were doing your project, I'd decide that the either the client list is correct or the D&B list is correct, then fill in the holes, because you're not likely to find the consistency you seek, in my experience.

I was happy to get some confirmation from another librarian:
I agree. I have not ever ended up using the NAICS codes as much as my Library school professor promised I would, but I learned exactly what you are saying, had it drilled into my head, and then experienced it in some practice too: that for both SIC or NAICS, or really any classification system, there is some arbitrariness(?), maybe even a great deal of it. Further, for some it is the directory that does the assigning of the classifications and for some it is the company itself that checks a box (for example) assigning them to themselves. So much room for variables. Never going to be perfect. Must do what you suggested and just dive in and start.

So, now here's MY question: when you're looking for a primary SIC/NAICS code for a business - and recognizing that some will have multiple codes - what do YOU use?