Friday, August 29, 2008

Rutgers Market Research Guide

From J.J. Hill library:

When someone hunkers down to do "market research" they can be embarking on about a thousand different journeys. They may focus on customers, competitors, industry data, or any number of other options - so having a guide to those options can help.

The Rutgers University Library offers one such guide, with this market research pathfinder. From commercial reports to government data and research centers, this collection (which focuses on consumer income, consumption, and demographics) highlights some of the best market research the Internet has to offer.

While a couple of the links within the guide don't go exactly where they intend to, the resource as a whole is an excellent intro to this multi-faceted research task.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The SIC/NAICS thing

An interesting conversation arose on a listserv I monitor about someone doing industry research at the SIC level. This led to conversations about why. I wrote:
NAICS was supposed to supersede SIC as of the 1997 Economic Census.
SIC, last updated in 1987, won't be revised, but NAICS will, every five years (2002, 2007).
That said, a lot of data are still in SIC.

Someone noted that the business analysts, all "recent business school grads", are only being taught SIC, not NAICS.
Others noted the D&B Market Identifiers File 516 database on Dialog uses both NAICS and SICs but other D&B products on Dialog only use SICs, as does the print D&B Industry Norms/Key Business Ratios.
The SEC still uses SIC codes, though "value-added vendors allow for searching by NAICS.

So why does SIC linger? One vendor reportedly suggested that while the government pushed for NAICS, the private sector is still happy with SICs. Companies such as D&B and RefUSA have each developed extended codes; e.g. SIC 7389-11, which differ from each other, of course.

I suspect that SIC will eventually shrink away, but may take a while. As one librarian noted: "Despite any residual warm feelings for SIC codes--extended or otherwise--that we may have, the SIC manual has no future. The Feds (OMB) are not going to revise it, whereas the NAICS codes will be updated every five years. As the years go by SICs will get more and more out of date. One only has to look at earlier SIC manuals to see how certain industries wither and flourish over the decades since the first one in 1939."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Census Bureau Releases 2007 ACS Data

U.S. Census Bureau Releases 2007 American Community Survey Data on Income, Poverty, and Earnings.

The Census Bureau released income, poverty, and earnings data from the 2007 American Community Survey (ACS), in conjunction with the Census Bureau's annual release of income, poverty, and health insurance data from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey.

Data are again available for the nation, the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, every congressional district and all counties, places, school districts, and metropolitan areas with populations of 65,000 or more.

The Census Bureau's Web site now contains guidance on comparing 2007 ACS data to 2006 ACS data, as well as comparing 2007 ACS data to Census 2000 data. This guidance may be found here.

The ACS Web site recently was redesigned to make navigation easier and to help users find the information they need more quickly. Information about the 2007 Data Release can be found here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

September is National Preparedness Month

I received an e-mail from the CPM Industry Insider that had a link to the article Survey: American Small Businesses Not Prepared For Power Outages. Probably not coincidentally, on the very same day, SBA sent out a press release about September being National Preparedness Month, from which I will quote extensively:

Homeowners, Renters and Businesses Are Encouraged to Plan Before Disaster Strikes

WASHINGTON – Recent floods in the Midwest and hurricanes/tropical storms in Texas and Florida have cost homeowners, renters and businesses millions of dollars in damages. These events serve as reminders to the public to have a disaster preparedness plan in place.

National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is designed to enhance the public’s awareness of the necessity of having an emergency plan in place to respond to a natural or man-made disaster. The U.S. Small Business Administration is one of the many government and private sector coalition partners participating in this fifth annual National Preparedness Month.

"There’s a tendency – and it’s human nature – to think that a large-scale disaster is not going to happen where you live," said SBA Acting Administrator Sandy K. Baruah. "Accepting the inevitability of an emergency, and then taking responsibility for your own recovery are the necessary first steps toward protecting your family, your assets, and your community."

To prepare for disasters, SBA offers the following tips:
• Develop a solid emergency response plan. Find evacuation routes from the home or business and establish meeting places. Make sure everyone understands the plan beforehand. Keep emergency phone numbers handy.
Business owners should designate a contact person to communicate with other employees, customers and vendors. Individuals and business owners should ask an out-of-state friend, colleague or family member to be a “post-disaster”
point of contact, supporting the flow of information about short-term relocations, recovery, additional sources of assistance, etc.

• Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Disaster preparedness begins with having adequate insurance coverage – at least enough to rebuild your home or business. Homeowners and business owners should review their policies to see what is or isn’t covered. Businesses should consider “business interruption insurance,” which helps cover operating costs during the post- disaster shutdown period. Flood insurance is essential. To find out more about the National Flood Insurance Program, visit the Web site at www.floodsmart.gov.

• Copy important records. It’s a good idea to back up vital records and information saved on computer hard drives, and store that information at a distant offsite location. Computer data should be backed up routinely. Copies of important documents and CDs should be stored in fire-proof safe deposit boxes.

• Create a "Disaster Survival Kit." The kit should include a flashlight, a portable radio, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, non-perishable packaged and canned food, bottled water, a basic tool kit, plastic bags, cash, and a digital camera to take pictures of the property damage after the storm.

More preparedness tips for businesses, homeowners and renters are available on the SBA’s Web site.
The Institute for Business and Home Safety also has information on protecting your home or business. To learn more about developing an emergency plan, visit the DHS’s Ready Campaign Web site at www.ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY to receive free materials.

The SBA makes low-interest loans to homeowners, renters and non-farm businesses of all sizes. Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged real estate. Individuals may borrow up to $40,000 to cover losses to personal property.

Non-farm businesses and non-profit organizations of any size may apply for up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged business assets and real property. Small businesses that suffered economic losses as a direct result of the declared disaster may apply for a working capital loan up to $2 million, even if the property was not physically damaged.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Death of Census.gov?

Following up on yesterday's piece about the SEC's EDGAR changing, the J.J. Hill Library wonders whether other government sites will follow. "A recent study from Princeton researchers suggests that the government give up creating their own Web sites altogether and instead focus on creating data feeds of government information to third party site creators. Interesting, in that this would surely result in better-designed sites, troubling in that it may bring agendas into the mix of public data. We’ll keep a keen eye on the developments."

I opined: "How will this play in the copyright issue? Currently, most govt stuff can't be copyrighted, but if the vendor brings 'value-added', then who owns what?
Maybe I'm being overly cynical. Probably not."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Goodbye, Edgar. Hello, IDEA

SEC Plans Switch From Edgar To Interactive Database

Edgar, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s electronic database of corporate filings, will be replaced by a new system dubbed IDEA, or Interactive Data Electronic Applications, the SEC announced Tuesday.

“This isn’t just a renaming of Edgar,” but an entirely new approach, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said at a press conference to unveil the new system.

IDEA will supplement Edgar to start and eventually replace it altogether. Once the system is up and running, Cox said it will give investors faster and easier access to key financial information about public companies and mutual funds.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I Love My Librarian Award Announced

From the announcement:

Carnegie Corporation of New York has awarded the American Library Association $489,000 to support a new Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award.

Administered by the ALA’s Public Information Office and Campaign for America’s Libraries, the award will launch this year and will continue annually through 2013. The award encourages library users to recognize the accomplishments of librarians for their efforts to improve the lives of people in their community.

USFA Announces 2007 Firefighter Fatalities Report

The report continues a series of annual studies by the United States Fire Administration of on-duty firefighter fatalities in the United States. The USFA is the single public agency source of information for all on-duty firefighter fatalities in the United States each year.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

IRS Issues Summer 2008 Statistics Of Income Bulletin

he Internal Revenue Service released the summer 2008 issue of the Statistics of Income Bulletin, which features tax year 2005 data on the growth in profits and tax liability reported by foreign-controlled domestic corporations.

According to 2005 data, there were 61,820 foreign-controlled domestic corporations (FCDCs), accounting for 1.1 percent of the total of all U.S. corporations. However, FCDCs generated $3.5 trillion of total receipts with $9.2 trillion of total assets, accounting for 13.7 percent of receipts and 13.9 percent of assets reported on all U.S. corporation income tax returns.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Do Business Definition Decisions Distort Small Business Research Results?

According to SBA: This working paper has two purposes. It presents special tabulations from the U.S. Census Bureau's Survey of Business Owners (SBO) to offer the public detailed information on businesses with and without employees and their owners (including owner age, home-based status, franchises and financing).
Second, the authors consider the characteristics of nonemployer and employer businesses. Their examination shows that research results based on data on nonemployers are not necessarily applicable to employers and vice versa.

A copy of the report is located here and the research summary can be found here.

Should you need further information, please feel free to contact Brian Headd or Radwan Saade at (202) 205-6533 or advocacy@sba.gov.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Canadian dollars per litre

On a website, I saw a reference to the price of gas as 1.279. Initially, I didn't get it. Then I realized I was on a Canadian website and it was a reference to Canadian dollars per liter. So what is that in US dollars per gallon? And how do I figure it out without having to do two calculations, one for liter to gallon and another for the currency.

Google, of course. To use my example, type: 1.279 CAD per litre in USD per gallon and click "Google Search". When I did it at noon on August 11, the result was "1.27900 (Canadian dollars per litre) = 4.58349234 U.S. dollars per US gallon". By the way, it doesn't matter if you spell "litre" or "liter".

What you will need is the three-letter code for currency, which you can find several places, including here, one of the sites noted on this website.

More about Google's unit conversions g=here.

Tip of the cap to Arthur @ AmeriNZ, who mentioned this on his podcast.

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Blogger Nightmare is Over

Last week, I found that I could post blogs on this blog - thus the test posts, whicjh I'm leaving up for posterity - but that I couldn't actually see the main blog page. This was weird, because it happened to only one of my five Blogger blogs. Moreover, if I had the specific link to a previously posted item, I could get to that.

Looking through Blogger help, I finally discovered that a number of people were having the same problem, getting an error message that started with bX. I posted my situation on some Blogger board and Saturday, it seemed to be working again.

Actual content soon.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems

The Reason Foundation's 17th Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems measures the performance of all state-owned roads and highways from 1984 to 2006. The study calculates the effectiveness and performance of each state in 12 different categories, including traffic fatalities, congestion, pavement condition, bridge condition, highway maintenance costs, and administrative costs.

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Estimates of U.S. population for July 1, 2007

La Paz, Ariz., Population is Nation’s Oldest County. Also, 302 counties, or nearly one in every 10, are “majority-minority” — meaning the county had a population with more than 50 percent minority residents.

Among the majority-minority counties with a minority population of 1 million or more were Bronx, N.Y.; Miami-Dade, Fla.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Queens, N.Y.; Bexar (San Antonio) and Dallas, Texas; San Bernardino, Calif.; Kings (Brooklyn), N.Y.; Harris (Houston), Texas; Santa Clara (San Jose) and Riverside, Calif.; Cook (Chicago), Ill.; and Orange, Calif.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

International Visitation to the U.S. on the Rise

Visitor Spending Hits Record High in May

The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that 4.3 million international visitors traveled to the United States in May, an increase of 14 percent over May 2007. For the first five months of 2008, visitation was up 12 percent compared to 2007. International visitors also spent a record $11.8 billion in May, a 21 percent increase from May 2007.

Friday, August 1, 2008

New York Adjusted Gross Income and Tax Liability

New York Adjusted Gross Income and Tax Liability - Analysis of 2005 State Personal Income Tax Returns by Place of Residence

This annual study provides statistical information on New York State personal income tax returns that were timely filed during 2006. The data are from full-year resident, full-year nonresident, and part-year resident returns. The report categorizes returns as either taxable or nontaxable, depending on the presence or absence of taxable income and income tax liability. Data presented include the distribution of New York adjusted gross income and tax liability by residence and the value of deductions, exemptions, and taxable income by income class.

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