Monday, March 31, 2008

Megaregions

Top 10 Megaregions. "The core of the U.S. economy is made up of roughly a dozen megaregions that stretch into Canada and, in some cases, Mexico."

What is a Megaregion?

Who's Your City?

Friday, March 28, 2008

NEW YORK STATE’S JOB COUNT SHOWS SMALL DECLINE IN FEBRUARY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 27, 2008

New York State’s private sector job count decreased over the month by 6,800, or 0.1 percent, to 7,268,700 (seasonally adjusted) in February 2008, the State Labor Department reported today. Since the beginning of New York’s current economic expansion in July 2003, the state has added 361,400 private sector jobs.

New York State’s unemployment rate, after seasonal adjustment, was 4.5 percent in February 2008, down from 5.0 percent in January. New York City’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in February 2008, down from 5.7 percent in January 2008. The rate in the balance of the state outside New York City was 4.7 percent in February 2008, up from 4.5 percent in January 2008.

“In February 2008, New York State’s private sector job count experienced a small decline, like the nation as a whole. In addition, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased in February, and was below the comparable national rate,” said Peter Neenan, director of the Division of Research and Statistics.
Note: When comparing different months, seasonally adjusted data provide the most valid comparison, for example, January 2008 versus February 2008. Non-seasonally adjusted data are valuable in year-to-year comparisons of the same month, for example, February 2007 versus February 2008.

1.) Unemployment rates (seasonally adjusted):

New York State’s unemployment rate, after seasonal adjustment, was 4.5 percent in February 2008, down from 5.0 percent in January. In February 2007, the state’s rate was 4.4 percent. The nation’s rate was 4.8 percent in February 2008, down from 4.9 percent in January. In February 2007, the nation’s rate was 4.5 percent. In New York City, the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in February 2008, down from 5.7 percent in January. In February 2007, the city’s rate was 4.8 percent. The sharp drop in the city’s rate in February 2008 departed significantly from recent monthly trends. Since these model estimates are based, in part, on sample-based surveys conducted by the federal government, there is a risk of sampling error. This suggests that at least a portion of the change from the city’s January 2008 rate was a statistical anomaly.

Unemployment Rates (seasonally adjusted)
Feb08 Jan08 Feb07
New York State 4.5 5.0 4.4
United States 4.8 4.9 4.5
New York City 4.1 5.7 4.8
NYS, exc. NYC 4.7 4.5 4.2

2.) Job data (seasonally adjusted):

New York State and the nation, January 2008 - February 2008:

The number of private sector jobs in New York State decreased by 6,800, or 0.1 percent, to 7,268,700 in February 2008, on a seasonally adjusted basis. Nationally, the number of private sector jobs decreased by 0.1 percent over the same period. After seasonal adjustment, the number of nonfarm jobs in the state decreased over the month by 6,200, or 0.1 percent, to 8,779,400 in February 2008. Nationally, the number of seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs decreased over the month by less than 0.1 percent.

3.) Nonfarm jobs since February 2007 (not seasonally adjusted):

Total nonfarm jobs +80,000
Private sector jobs +67,700

Since February 2007, the number of nonfarm jobs in New York State increased by 80,000, or 0.9 percent, and the number of private sector jobs increased by 67,700, or 1.0 percent. Nationally, the number of nonfarm jobs increased by 0.6 percent and the number of private sector jobs increased by 0.5 percent between February 2007 and February 2008.

Educational and health services added the largest number of jobs (+39,900) over the February 2007-February 2008 period, with most of the increase in health care and social assistance (+31,900). Employment also increased in leisure and hospitality; government; trade, transportation and utilities; construction; other services; information; professional and business services; and financial activities.

Manufacturing (-15,800) registered the largest over-the-year drop among declining industries. Manufacturing job losses were mostly in non-durable goods. The over-the-year decline in non-durable goods employment (-9,800) was centered in chemical manufacturing (-3,800) and apparel manufacturing (-3,300). Employment losses in durable goods (-6,000) were centered in computer and electronic product manufacturing (-1,700) and transportation equipment manufacturing (-1,700). Employment also decreased over the year in natural resources and mining.

Industries With Job Gains:
Educational & Health Services +39,900
Leisure & Hospitality +14,600
Government +12,300
Trade, Transportation & Utilities +9,700
Construction +6,500
Other Services +5,000
Information +3,500
Professional & Business Services +3,300
Financial Activities +1,100

Industries With Job Losses:
Manufacturing -15,800
Natural Resources & Mining -100


4.) Nonfarm jobs since January 2008 (not seasonally adjusted):

Total nonfarm jobs +33,300
Private sector jobs +12,800

In February 2008, New York State had 8,651,500 total nonfarm jobs, including 7,130,200 private sector jobs. From January 2008 to February 2008, the number of nonfarm jobs increased by 33,300 and the number of private sector jobs increased by 12,800. On average, in the previous ten years, the number of nonfarm jobs in New York increased by 48,100 from January to February, and the number of private sector jobs increased by 25,400.

The not seasonally adjusted job count increased over the month in educational and health services (+33,900), government (+20,500), leisure and hospitality (+8,700), other services (+1,200), information (+1,000), and financial activities (+100). The job count decreased over the month in trade, transportation and utilities (-22,900), construction (-8,400), manufacturing (-600), and professional and business services (-200). Natural resources and mining employment was unchanged over the month.

5.) New York State nonfarm job highlights since January 2008 (not seasonally adjusted):

Educational and health services
Over-the-month employment increases were mostly due to seasonal gains at colleges, universities and professional schools.

Government
The increase in public sector employment reflected the return of local elementary and secondary schools, as well as public colleges and universities, from winter break.

Leisure and hospitality
Leisure and hospitality employment increased, with hiring focused in accommodation and food services, particularly food services and drinking places.

Other services
This sector’s over-the-month employment gain was centered in religious, grantmaking, civic, professional and similar organizations.

Information
Motion picture and sound recording accounted for February’s gain in sector employment.

Financial activities
Results in this sector were mixed as job gains in finance and insurance just outpaced losses in real estate and rental leasing.

Natural resources and mining
Natural resources and mining employment was unchanged in February.

Professional and business services
Job losses in administrative support services and in management of companies and enterprises outpaced seasonal gains in professional, scientific and technical services.

Manufacturing
Manufacturing’s job count dropped over the month due to losses in non-durable goods, particularly in printing and related support activities.

Construction
Construction sector employment decreased seasonally, especially in specialty trade contractors.

Trade, transportation and utilities
Most of this month's employment decrease reflected seasonal losses in retail trade, particularly in clothing and clothing accessories stores and general merchandise stores.


6.) Metropolitan Areas:

Job Growth and Unemployment Rates (not seasonally adjusted):

Albany-Schenectady-Troy: Since February 2007, the number of nonfarm jobs has increased by 500, or 0.1 percent, and the number of private sector jobs has decreased by 500, or 0.2 percent. The area’s unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in February 2008, compared with 5.0 in January and 4.4 in February 2007.

Binghamton: Since February 2007, the number of nonfarm jobs has increased by 800, or 0.7 percent, and the number of private sector jobs has increased by 800, or 0.9 percent. The area’s unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in February 2008, compared with 5.6 in January and 5.3 in February 2007.

Buffalo-Niagara Falls: Since February 2007, the number of nonfarm jobs has increased by 2,200, or 0.4 percent, and the number of private sector jobs has increased by 300, or 0.1 percent. The area’s unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in February 2008, compared with 6.1 in January and 5.4 in February 2007.

Glens Falls: Since February 2007, the number of nonfarm jobs has increased by 800, or 1.5 percent, and the number of private sector jobs has increased by 700, or 1.7 percent. The area’s unemployment rate was 6.5 percent in February 2008, compared with 6.1 in January and 5.6 in February 2007.

Ithaca: Since February 2007, the number of nonfarm jobs has increased by 500, or 0.8 percent, and the number of private sector jobs has increased by 500, or 0.9 percent. The area’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in February 2008, compared with 3.9 in January and 3.3 in February 2007.

Kingston: Since February 2007, the number of nonfarm jobs has increased by 300, or 0.5 percent, and the number of private sector jobs has increased by 400, or 0.8 percent. The area’s unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in February 2008, compared with 5.4 in January and 4.5 in February 2007.

Nassau-Suffolk: Since February 2007, the number of nonfarm jobs has increased by 13,800, or 1.1 percent, and the number of private sector jobs has increased by 12,000, or 1.2 percent. The area’s unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in February 2008, compared with 4.5 in January and 4.1 in February 2007.


New York City (five boroughs): Since February 2007, the number of nonfarm jobs has increased by 46,900, or 1.3 percent, and the number of private sector jobs has increased by 44,900, or 1.4 percent. The area’s unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in February 2008, compared with 6.1 in January and 5.0 in February 2007.

Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown: Since February 2007, the number of nonfarm jobs has increased by 700, or 0.3 percent, and the number of private sector jobs has increased by 100, or 0.1 percent. The area’s unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in February 2008, compared with 4.9 in January and 4.4 in February 2007.

Putnam-Rockland-Westchester: Since February 2007, the number of nonfarm jobs has increased by 6,300, or 1.1 percent, and the number of private sector jobs has increased by 5,000, or 1.1 percent. The area’s unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in February 2008, compared with 4.4 in January and 3.9 in February 2007.

Rochester: Since February 2007, the number of nonfarm jobs has decreased by 200, or less than 0.1 percent, and the number of private sector jobs has decreased by 1,500, or 0.4 percent. The area’s unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in February 2008, compared with 5.5 in January and 4.9 in February 2007.

Syracuse: Since February 2007, the number of nonfarm jobs has increased by 3,200, or 1.0 percent, and the number of private sector jobs has increased by 2,900, or 1.1 percent. The area’s unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in February 2008, compared with 5.5 in January and 5.1 in February 2007.

Utica-Rome: Since February 2007, the number of nonfarm jobs has increased by 900, or 0.7 percent, and the number of private sector jobs has increased by 600, or 0.6 percent. The area’s unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in February 2008, compared with 5.9 in January and 5.4 in February 2007.

Note: Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, for New York and every other state are based on statistical regression models specified by the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs data for New York are obtained from a survey of 18,000 business establishments. Jobs data exclude agricultural workers, the self-employed, unpaid family workers and domestic workers in private households.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hi -Tech Census Costs, Accuracy in Doubt

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Big worries for the nation's first high-tech census should have been obvious when the door-to-door headcounters couldn't figure out their fancy new handheld computers.


MORE.

I've seen these handheld machines up close for only a brief time; they SEEMED easy enough...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Depository Libraries-GIO: Ask a Librarian

by Barbara Quint

A formal agreement between the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO; www.gpo.gov) and a network of 20 depository libraries has relaunched and expanded the scope of a virtual reference service called Government Information Online: Ask a Librarian (GIO; http://govtinfo.org). Be careful about using the dot-org. Typing "govtinfo.gov" will switch you to the USA.gov site. That may not be too much of a mistake in time. One of the primary strategies of the GIO service is to promote its existence through links from other leading dot-gov sites, such as USA.gov and Thomas. The engineering of such linkages falls mainly to GPO. The depository library participants, led by the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and managed by the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC; www.cic.net), will handle providing the free chat- and email-based virtual reference service.

Reference librarians from 20 academic, state, and public depository libraries will be available to direct users to information from government agencies, in particular federal, but state, regional, and local agencies as well. The federal government coverage should be consistently strong, as all the libraries involved are federal depositories. Coverage of state and local collections will vary, along with other expertise. John Shuler, project manager and bibliographer for urban planning and government information at UIC, describes the expertise of participant library collections and staff as stretching outside the GPO collection. "We draw on multiple sources and all levels, including specific local expertise. While all have generalized expertise for the federal

[ MORE]

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring 2008 Local Government Workshop – May 9, 2008

For Brochure and Information Visit here.

In most cases the Local Government Workshop fulfills NYS law requiring training for local planning officials. Some sessions include Continuing Legal Education and Code Enforcement credit.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Voluntourism

A growing trend is taking hold in the travel industry: "voluntourism." In a combination of vacationing and volunteering, some Americans are foregoing time-shares and are instead sharing their time with people in need. In fact, surveys conducted by Travelocity, Orbitz, and the Travel Industry Association show that the number of groups offering these volunteer vacations has doubled over the past three years. The demographics of "voluntourists" vary widely: young, old, singles, families, and even honeymooners are taking advantage of this win-win situation.

Read more here.
Learn more here.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Population Estimates

I came across one of those depressing Population losses continue across WNY, according to Census estimates stories in the Buffalo News
"Erie County lost 5,001 residents last year, continuing a decade-long trend of annual population losses seen here and across upstate New York, according to new population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau."
What was interesting in the story, though, was a link to Population Change in all U.S. Counties: A searchable database. The details of the population growth or decline shows births and deaths for the past seven years. Of course, it's a variation of The Population Estimates from the Census Bureau, released on March 20, 2008, but it's still rather nifty.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Impact of a New Recession on State and Local Governments

Rockefeller Institute Senior Fellow Donald J. Boyd examines the impact a new recession is likely to have on state and local governments. Boyd warns that, unless the economy rebounds, volatility in most state revenue systems may force midyear spending reductions this year and other unpopular policy actions in 2009. Boyd’s new research on both states and localities, in a March 14 presentation to analysts at Fidelity Investments, expands upon his recent paper that analyzed how state finances would be affected by a recession. Both reports are available here.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Agricultural Stats

A librarian friend of mine, who used to work at the NYS Small Business Development Center, e-mailed me Starting an Agriculture Business. I mention it here because the early pages discuss the great import of agriculture in the Empire State, a fact I suspect people from other parts of the country would be surprised by.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Cheap gas prices

OK, not really. But getting the CHEAPEST gas prices can be found here at Gas Buddy.com. My wife's already susssed out the cheapest gas in Albany, alas. Some ZIP Codes don't work, but check by state, then county, then place.

Even easier to use Gas Prices at Mapquest, where one sees a map of the area to discover that there is, at this writing, even cheaper gas in Troy.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

UN Data

The Hill Library Business Web Site of the Week:

A restaurant in the Twin Cities has a billboard campaign claiming that their international kitchen is like the UN, but productive. Zing. Clearly, however, this restaurant has not seen data.un.org.

This tool, hosted by the United Nations, collects in-depth statistics on countries, commodities, products, and people. Using the site, one can get historical, current, and - often - projected statistics on such varying topics as the amount of chewing gum imported to the Philippines, the literacy rate in Saudi Arabia, population growth in Panama, or the number of divorces in Croatia.

Search the site by country name, demographic keyword, or product type - or browse the individual databases to get a feel for the breadth of information available. At least statistic-gathering-wise, the UN is totally productive.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Project Sunlight

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Want to find out what your state and local elected officials are up to?

New York State has a new Web site that makes that task much easier. It's called Project Sunlight, a Web site created by state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo under a law passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Spitzer. It puts better government accountability a click away.

The new Web site strips away the bureaucracy that surrounds much of how public policy is influenced in state government.

There's information on each piece of legislation, which lawmakers are sponsoring it and which lobbyists are supporting or opposing the measure. You can also check on campaign contributions and how much pork-barrel spending lawmakers are getting for their home districts.

The Web site's address is www.sunlightny.com.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Economic stimulus payment update

If you or someone you know that generally does not have to file a 2007 return but must do so for the economic stimulus payment:

Last week, IRS announced that the IRS Free File program is now available for nonfilers who must file a 2007 return to receive an economic stimulus payment.

IR-2008-34 has more information.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Income is not income

Money: A song written by Berry Gordy, first recorded by Barrett Strong, then a bit later by a British band called the Beatles.

But income is not income. If you check the results of the Census/ACS and BEA for similar time frames, you'll see two different definitions of income. The Census/ACS definition is MONEY income. BEA measures PERSONAL income.

Data Detective Lenny explains:
Money income is essentially gross cash received on a regular basis (inheritence, etc. are not included). So wages and salaries are measured before taxes are removed.

According to the BEA web site:
Personal Income is the income that is received by all persons from all sources. It is calculated as the sum of wage and salary disbursements, supplements to wages and salaries, proprietors' income with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments, rental income of persons with capital consumption adjustment, personal dividend income, personal interest income, and personal current transfer receipts, less contributions for government social insurance.

The personal income of an area is the income that is received by, or on behalf of, all the individuals who live in the area; therefore, the estimates of personal income are presented by the place of residence of the income recipients.

This includes such income as housing subsidies, Medicare/Medicaid payments to hospitals on behalf of individuals, etc. even though the individual does not personally see it. The idea is that this is money supporting individuals. So the BEA figures will be significantly different ($10k higher) then the Census Bureau's.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Is BOCES A Model for Municipal Reform?

While critics, including Governor Spitzer, say New York State has too many local governments, a promising cost-saving reform may be creation of still more local entities — regional cooperative entities similar to the BOCES organizations that serve school districts — the Rockefeller Institute’s deputy director, Robert B. Ward, suggests. His article, BOCES: A Model for Municipal Reform?, appears in the Winter 2007 edition of the New York State Bar Association’s Government, Law and Policy Journal.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Rebuilding the Government Statistics Infrastructure

The Committee on National Statistics of the National Academies issued a report in January 2006 on the first-ever review of the work of the Governments Division of the U.S. Census Bureau. Panel member Yolanda Kodrzycki of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston prepared a policy brief on the work of the panel and its findings.

As the full report ($55) reads: "Since the early days of the nation, the federal government has collected information on the revenues, expenditures, and other features of state and local jurisdictions and their operations. Today, these data are collected primarily by the Governments Division of the U.S. Census Bureau, which has conducted a census of governments every 5 years since 1957. The division also manages a program of related annual and quarterly surveys, as well as a comprehensive directory of state and local governments. All of this work is now taking place in an environment of constrained resources, and there have been cutbacks in the availability and dissemination of the data."

Department of Correctional Services reports

A variety of Research Studies and Legislative Reports is now available online from the Department of Correctional Services. Titles include the Annual Shock Legislative Report, Profile of Inmate Population Under Custody, Inmate Escape Incidents, and Female Homicide Commitments.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Postage going up

Starting May 12; those "forever stamps" are still available...

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Foreclosures increase 8% in January 2008

RealtyTrac®, the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, released its January 2008 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ this week, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, auction sales notices and bank repossessions — were reported on 233,001 properties during the month, an increase of 8 percent from the previous month and an increase of nearly 57 percent from January 2007.