Thursday, November 27, 2008

NOAA Winter Forecast

Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic: Equal chances for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures and precipitation. For regions with more definitive trends, see here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The 2010 Census – A Great Way to Earn Extra Money

Here's a nice user-friendly page promoting the 2010 Census employment opportunities:

The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting temporary part-time census takers for the 2010 Census. The pay is good, the hours are flexible, and the work is close to home.

Census taker jobs are excellent for retirees, college students, persons who want to work part-time, persons who are between jobs, or just about anyone who wants to earn extra money while performing an important service for their community.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Top 10 Best Newspaper Websites

The Bivings Report decided to break out a list of the best examples of good newspaper websites, judging sites not only on their web features but also on the design, aesthetics and general usability of the site.

Some readers noted that it is heavily skewed to those sites associated with larger newspapers.

Monday, November 24, 2008

State Economic Profiles

The 2008 edition of The Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories present key small business data for the United States, each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and some U.S. territories. The profiles combine data from several government sources to show small businesses’ overall numbers, their impact on employment and job creation, the industries they represent, plus bank and lending information.

The 2008 edition of The Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories is located here.

At my library, I use this source all of the time.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What kind of blog is this?

My Colleague Darrin wrote this post about the nature of the SBDC Research Network blog, using Typealyzer. So I thought I'd try it on THIS blog.

The analysis indicates that the author of is of the type:

ISTJ - The Duty Fulfillers
The responsible and hardworking type. They are especially attuned to the details of life and are careful about getting the facts right. Conservative by nature they are often reluctant to take any risks whatsoever.

The Duty Fulfillers are happy to be let alone and to be able to work int heir own pace. They know what they have to do and how to do it.
This show what parts of the brain that were dominant during writing.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Zoom Prospector

Description courtesy of the James J. Hill Reference Library:
Prospecting for a new business location can be taxing. If you have cities in mind you can research them one at a time, but what if you don't know where to start?

Zoom Prospector highlights available research on places, but focuses just on those aspects most essential to business interests. Look up a specific place, sure. Or, really take advantage of the site by building a list of communities that match your criteria - by size, employment growth since 2000, number of college/high school grads, white collar vs. blue collar jobs, median household income, and more.

This is a great tool for comparing U.S. places, whether your plans involve a new location or just getting to know your current one a little better.

This has some of the features of, mentioned recently. Try them both and see what works best for you.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Marital Status and Health Differentials from 1972 to 2003

The Times They Are a Changin’. "Although the meanings and rates of being married, divorced, separated, never-married, and widowed have changed significantly over the past several decades, we know very little about historical trends in the relationship between marital status and health."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood

A majority of the American people believes that religious values are “under attack,” and that the people who run the television networks and major movie studios do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans, according to a survey from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued this week.

Full report in PDF.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Here's a fun website with practical applications. At, one can choose any of the 25 criteria "to find a place that is right for you", based on population/demographics, education, and weather. "Over 50,000 villages, towns, and cities available for your own personal analysis. Select county or state level data for your expanded research project."

Creator Stephen Traino notes that he will soon update the site with American Community Survey data when the new 2007 data for smaller places comes out in early December.

It's a bit quirky in that it seems to work best when picks just one criterion at a time. However, if you get too many hits, you can narrow the search by moving another "slider".

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

2010 Census Jobs Available Now! (and not just in the Boston region)

The Boston Regional Census Center is seeking qualified applicants to fill more than forty Partnership Specialist positions in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and upstate New York. Census is turning to past and current partners to help find qualified applicants for these important and attractive-paying jobs.

Partnership Specialists are charged with developing partnerships with local, state and tribal governments, as well as community and faith-based entities, schools, businesses, media and grassroots organizations. These partnerships will help create a responsive environment when census questionnaires go to households in spring 2010.

For some Partnership Specialist positions, the Census Bureau seeks applicants who have professional and/or volunteer experience developing partnerships in African American, Hispanic/Latino, Mexican, Native American, Asian and other minority communities and cultures. Specific cultural and/or language requirements (for example, proficiency in Spanish) are noted in the Recruiting Bulletins (job announcements).

Postings for Partnership Specialist, Administrative Specialist and Regional Technician positions are available NOW at or To receive consideration, an applicant must submit a complete application packet to the Boston Regional Census Center as directed. This includes written responses to all questions and evaluation criteria shown in the Recruiting Bulletin.

If you have questions, please call the contact listed on the Job announcement or contact the Partnership and Data Services Program at 617-223-3610.

If you live in another part of the country, go here.

Living Wage Calculator

The Department of Geography at Penn State has put together this website, described thusly: "In many American communities, families working in low-wage jobs make insufficient income to live locally given the local cost of living. Recently, in a number of high-cost communities, community organizers and citizens have successfully argued that the prevailing wage offered by the public sector and key businesses should reflect a wage rate required to meet minimum standards of living. Therefore we have developed a living wage calculator to estimate the cost of living in your community or region. The Calculator lists typical expenses, the living wage and typical wages in the location you have selected."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Why doesn't the SEC use NAICS?

My old friend Jennifer Boettcher decided to investigate this question, since:
According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), all federal offices must use NAICS for federal statistical reporting purposes. Continued use of SIC for nonstatistical purposes is usually left to the discretion of the agency. Some statutes may refer to SIC -- these are being addressed. For example, the HSR Premerger Notification Rules mentioned SIC, but that was easily remedied by using notices in the Federal Register, such as the one allowing the change from SIC to NAICS in 2001.

Unfortunately, when she contacted the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about why she never got a satisfactory answer: "We will take that under advisement".

The division responsible for choosing which industrial classification system
to use is the Division of Corporation Finance. She spoke with a staff member at the Division about why the SEC has not converted. The main reason given was that it would require too much work for the Office of Information Technology to change. He said there were no immediate plans to covert from SIC to NAICS. When I asked about the new IDEA software to replace EDGAR, he said IDEA is still in the concept phase. She asked him to put NAICS into the concept.

When other federal government agencies converted to NAICS:

Census Bureau: started in 1997 and completed in 2002
IRS: 1998 (in 2003, 95.9% of Partnership tax receipts used NAICS. Proving companies and accountants have adopted NAICS)
SSA: 1999 (employer establishments to assign establishment’s activities)
SBA: 1999 (SBA assigns small business size standards to NAICS codes)
FTC: 2001 (looking at anti-trust premerger issues)
BEA: 2003 (looking at the National Income and Product Accounts)
BLS: 2004 (labor, wages, PPI, etc are measured using NAICS)
EPA: 2006 (connecting Toxic Release Index to NAICS)

Learn more about NAICS
Sorry for the delay in reporting back.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A New Census Director?

From the Latino Census Network

As President-elect Barack Obama puts together his transition, the top priority of advocates for the Census is the selection of a new Census Director by the end of January. With the 2010 Census less than 18 months away, the pressure is on to get the Obama Administration to quickly get a new leader for the Bureau on board to replace Census Director Steve Murdock. While some have argued that, given the short time left to pull of the Decennial, it would make sense to push to retain Murdock in this post to assure continuity, it appears that even Murdock acknowledges that with a new President will come a new Census Director.

The name that has been circulating the most to replace Murdock is that of Kenneth Prewitt. He was the person who oversaw the very successful 2000 Census, which would address the continuity issue. Prewitt is currently on the faculty of the political science department at Columbia University and has broad support.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Estimating the Contribution of Immigrant Business Owners to the U.S. Economy

Using data from three large nationally representative government datasets — the 2000 Census 5% Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS), the 1996-2007 Current Population Survey (CPS), and the 1992 Characteristics of Business Owners (CBO) — this study examines the contribution of immigrant businesses to the U.S. economy. According to Census 2000, immigrants constitute 12.2 percent of the total U.S. work force, and 12.5 percent of the total population of U.S. business owners. Business income generated by immigrant business owners totals $67 billion, representing 11.6 percent of U.S. business income.
Immigrant business ownership is geographically concentrated in a few states.

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Chance to Help the Census

From Hispanic Business:

The Census Bureau issued a request for nominations to the Census Advisory Committee on the Hispanic Population. The nine-member committee facilitates communication between Hispanic communities and the Census Bureau, and seeks to help the Bureau remedy the undercount of the Hispanic population.

Individuals, groups, and organizations can nominate candidates who have knowledge and expertise on the cultural patterns, issues, and/or data needs of the Hispanic community. Please submit a nomination letter and a summary of the candidate's qualifications (resume or CV) by December 5 to Jeri Green, Chief, CAC Office, U.S. Census Bureau, Room 8H182, 4600 Silver Hill Road, Washington, DC 20233, or via fax at 301-763-8609, or by e-mail to

Monday, November 10, 2008

Credit card industry facts, debt statistics 2006-2008

This page contains credit card-related statistics — including statistics on credit card debt, credit card delinquencies, credit scores, credit card interest rates, bankruptcies and more — compiled by the staff.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

GAO sets up transition Web site

The Government Accountability Office has identified 13 urgent issues that will require the attention of incoming President Barack Obama and the 111th Congress...

On the list: the 2010 Census
The decennial census is a mammoth undertaking that affects congressional districting and the allocation of $300 billion a year in federal aid to state and local government. “Soon after taking office, the new administration will need to address the significant management and technology challenges facing this complex and costly effort,” the GAO said. “Early in 2009, the first nationwide field operation of the 2010 Census — address canvassing — is scheduled to begin. During this operation, the Census Bureau will rely, for the first time, on hand-held computers to verify address and map information.”

GAO last year identified the census as a high risk area because of challenges in IT management. “The Census Bureau is strengthening its oversight of IT management activities, and a limited field test of the hand-held computers is scheduled for December 2008,” GAO said. “Importantly, there will be little time for refinements if performance problems persist.”

GAO said that Census needs to make sure that all IT systems are fully tested and improve the reliability of cost estimates for the program.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

2008 SustainLane US City Rankings

Coverage of the greening of the 50 most-populous cities in the nation, and the most complete report card on urban sustainability in America.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Shifts to and from Daylight Saving Time and Incidence of Myocardial Infarction.

More than 1.5 billion men and women are exposed to the transitions involved in daylight saving time: turning clocks forward by an hour in the spring and backward by an hour in the autumn. These transitions can disrupt chronobiologic rhythms and influence the duration and quality of sleep, and the effect lasts for several days after the shifts.

Not incidentally, Daylight Saving Time returns on March 8, 2009 to most of the United States.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Prediction: U.S. Election Will Cost $5.3 Billion

The 2008 election for president and Congress is not only one of the most closely watched U.S. elections in years; it’s also the most expensive in history. The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics estimates that more than $5.3 billion will go toward financing the federal contests today. The presidential race alone will cost nearly $2.4 billion, the Center predicts.

Monday, November 3, 2008

U.S. Domestic Airline Fee Chart

Even though $140/bbl oil seems to be temporarily off the table, the airlines still tack on fees from reservation by phone to baggage to food. Here's a table that should help.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Americans Drove 15 Billion Fewer Miles than a Year Ago

New federal data show Americans are continuing a 10-month-long decline in driving habits, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters announced today. The decline is putting new pressure on the way road, bridge and transit projects are funded at a time of record growth in transit ridership, showing the need for a new approach for funding transportation construction, she added.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Enduring Poverty in America

The Federal Reserve System and its 12 member banks partnered with the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program to produce a new, in-depth look at concentrated poverty in America. The two-year study, The Enduring Challenge of Concentrated Poverty in America, profiles 16 high-poverty communities across the United States, investigating the historical and contemporary factors associated with their high levels of economic distress.