Thursday, September 30, 2010

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act : Stimulus in New York State

A quarterly report by Governor David A. Paterson's Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Cabinet was issued in August. "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Stimulus in New York State" provides an overview of projects, with charts and data, involving Job Training, Transportation, Clean Water, Housing, Energy, and Public Safety.

This report is available online HERE (pdf) and follows (chronologically if not bibliographically) reports from the New York State Inspector General's Stimulus Oversight Panel which are available HERE.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Study finds atheists know more about religion than believers

Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.

On average, Americans correctly answer 16 of the 32 religious knowledge questions on the survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. Atheists and agnostics average 20.9 correct answers. Jews and Mormons do about as well, averaging 20.5 and 20.3 correct answers, respectively. Protestants as a whole average 16 correct answers; Catholics as a whole, 14.7. Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons perform better than other groups on the survey even after controlling for differing levels of education.

Salon magazine about the survey.
I don't want to brag - oh, of course I do. On the miniquiz:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Industrial College of the Armed Forces

The following student reports are based on fieldwork and core course studies that prepare graduates with analytic and historic perspectives on a variety of national resources and industry. Some 20 resource areas are the focus of inspection and provide a platform to think strategically about the needs of a nation. The reports are published annually. Copies may be downloaded from this website by clicking on the links in the industry study focus area.

The completed topics for 2010 include:
Agribusiness: All economic activity that supports farm production and the conversion of raw farm products to consumable goods.
Aircraft: All economic activity that supports the production of aircraft and subsidiary systems related to aircraft flight
Biotechnology: Activity that supports technological application using biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives, to make or modify products or processes for specific use.
Education: Activity that supports the process and systems of learning distributed to the individuals and to the nation at large.
Electronics: All economic activity that supports the production of components and systems that have the ability to control electron flow.
Energy: All activity that supports the production,distribution and use of materials that provide a fuel source for mechanisms to do work.
Environment: Study of activities,perspectives and behaviors which impact global resources and populations.
Health Care: All activity that supports the provision of services that impact or improve the well being of a population.
Information Technology: All economic activity that supports the production, distribution and systems that guide or direct data to users or clients.
Manufacturing: Study of the systems, processes and mechanisms used to assemble complex goods for sale or distribution in various marketplaces.
Privatized Military OPS: Economic activities of the private sector that support battlefield operations or services that maintain war fighter readiness.
Reconstruction and Vital Infrastructure: Activity that supports the development or redevelopment of structures that support national integrity and pathways to provide for the various needs of the population.
Shipbuilding: All economic activity that supports the production of vehicles designed to be used at sea for warfighting and other use.
Space: Study of systems, concepts and strategies that are related to using the area outside the physical boundary of the planet.
Strategic Materials: All economic activity that supports the production and conversion of common and rare earth materials for use in goods.
Transportation: All economic activity and systems that support the movement of goods from one area to another.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sales Tax - New online service

The Office of the Taxpayer Rights Advocate, an independent organization within the New York State Tax Department, is committed to helping New York State taxpayers by balancing taxpayer assistance against enforcement efforts.
This office:
-Provides free and independent assistance to taxpayers -Assists taxpayers whose tax problems are causing undue economic harm -Helps taxpayers who have been unable to resolve protracted tax problems through normal channels

If you need help, you are invited to use the new online service, Request for Assistance from the Office of the Taxpayer Rights Advocate.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sales Tax Rates On Clothing, Footwear - Change on October 1, 2010

The exemption from New York State sales tax for clothing and footwear under $110 has been eliminated, for the period October 1, 2010, through March 31, 2011. Beginning October 1, 2010, clothing and footwear costing less than $110 will be subject to the 4% New York State sales and use tax and, if applicable, the ⅜% tax in the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District (MCTD) downstate. Local sales tax rates are not affected. This means:

For jurisdictions that did not enact an exemption from the local sales tax, all sales of clothing and footwear are subject to the full state and local sales tax.

For jurisdictions that provided for this exemption, only the New York State tax (and MCTD tax, if applicable) will be charged. These counties: Broome, Chautauqua, Chenango, Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Hamilton, Madison, Schuyler, Tioga County, Wayne will charge only the 4% state sales tax. New York City businesses will charge 4⅜% (the combined state tax and MCTD rate).

Friday, September 24, 2010 adds collections

New York Heritage Digital Collections has recently added twelve new collections to its cooperative site at, including the Bowers Collection from the Broome County Historical Society, Historic Paintings Unwrapped from the History Center of Tompkins County, the Daughters of Charity Collection from the Lourdes Hospital, the Crandall Public Library Center for Folklife, History, and Cultural Programs Digital Collections, and the Digital Collections of Albany Law School. is a project of the NY 3Rs Association, which uses OCLC’s CONTENTdm Multisite Server to bring previously digitized collections together, allowing researchers to search across all items simultaneously. This project provides free, online access to images of cultural and historical significance in New York State.

Participants in New York Heritage Digital Collections are committed to enhancing the site by adding both content and contributing institutions on a regular basis. The goal of the project is to eventually connect one thousand collections and one million items from throughout New York State. All institutions interested in participating in the project are encouraged to complete this online form.

The New York 3Rs Association is a partnership among New York’s nine reference and research resource systems. The New York 3Rs was incorporated in 2003 to further the ability of those systems to provide statewide services. The members of the New York 3Rs Association are: the Capital District Library Council, Central New York Library Resources Council, Long Island Library Resources Council, Metropolitan New York Library Council, Northern New York Library Network, Rochester Regional Library Council, Southeastern New York Library Resources Council, South Central Regional Library Council, and Western New York Library Resources Council.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Who Are The Millenials?

An interesting infographic look at the Millennials, who and what they are demographically and socially. "Not surprisingly, we found that Millienials love technology."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Census Data Release Schedule 2010-2011

Based on various sources within the Census Bureau, the Latino Census Network has compiled the following schedule for data and statistical releases for 2010-2011 for the 2010 Census, the American Community Survey (ACS) and other Census programs.

Late September 2010
2009 American Community Survey (ACS) 1-year estimates for areas with a population of 65,000 or more.

Mid-December 2010
2005-9 5-years estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) for geographies down to the block group level.

December 2010
2010 demographic analysis estimates of national population by age, sex, and race (Black and nonblack). Not from the 2010 Census, but estimates based on historical data on births and deaths and estimates of immigration and emigration. This information is used, in part, to estimate the accuracy of the 2010 Census.

By December 31, 2010
The apportionment counts will be delivered to the President will be delivered to the President within nine months of Census Day (on or before December 31, 2010), as required by law. This report will show the apportionment population counts, by state, and the number of seats in the US House of Representatives apportioned to each state.

February-March 2011
2010 Census Redistricting Data (P.L. 94-171) Summary File - redistricting data to the 50 states consisting of small-area data the states will need to redraw districts for the state legislature:
* State population counts for race and Hispanic or Latino categories
* State housing unit counts by occupancy status (occupied units, vacant units)
Media: Internet tables, DVD, download capability
Lowest level of geography: Blocks

April 2011
National Summary File of Redistricting Data:
* Population and housing unit counts for the United States, regions, divisions, and American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Areas
Media: Internet tables, download capability
Lowest level of geography: American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian areas

May 2011
Demographic Profile:
* Selected population and housing characteristics
* Includes Congressional Districts of the 111th Congress
Media: Internet quick tables, download capability
Lowest level of geography: Places/Functioning Minor Civil Divisions

June-August 2011
Summary File 1 (SF 1) for States:
* Population counts for 63 race categories and Hispanic or Latino down to block level.
* Population counts for many detailed race and Hispanic or Latino categories, and American Indian and Alaska Native tribes down to Census tracts.
* Selected population and housing characteristics down to blocks/Census tracts.

November 2011
Summary File 1 (SF 1) National Update:
* Counts for the United States, regions, divisions, and geographic areas that cross state lines such as American Indian Areas and Core-Based Statistical Areas.

December 2011-April 2012
Summary File 2 (SF 2):
* Population and housing characteristics iterated for many detailed race and Hispanic or Latino categories, and American Indian and Alaska Native tribes down to Census tracts.

Dates To Be Determined
Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) Files
* Includes age, sex, race, Hispanic or Latino origin, household type and relationship, and tenure data with identifying information removed, down to PUMAs of 100,000+ population.
Media: DVD, download capability

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Summer Productivity Info graphic

Now that Summer is almost officially gone, ever wonder how warm weather (yes we get SOME in New York) affects productivity. One group’s take on the impact of working during the summer. (Thanks, Dale.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

SeeThroughNY Posts 189 Updated School Labor Contracts

Updated school labor contracts for 77 teacher unions and 112 school superintendents were posted this week on, the Empire Center's government transparency web site.

The newest contracts are part of the most comprehensive public collection of school district labor contracts in New York. Contracts for the 733 school districts and BOCES districts were obtained under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).

The full text of this press release is available here.

Last month, the group posted 2009-10 NYS County, Municipal Payrolls, with the names and salaries of 186,223 people who worked for New York’s county, city, town and village governments.

Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Data Capture and Processing

The 2010 Census forms are now being processed at our National Data Capture Centers across the country. The data we collect from the forms will help determine the number of representatives to Congress allotted to each state. To learn more, watch a video HERE.

2010 Congressional Apportionment Countdown

The first data released from the 2010 Census are the official national and state population count, which are used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, this data must be delivered to the President of the United States on or before December 31, 2010.

Library Card Sign-Up Month

If you don't already have a library card, consider this a nudge to get one.
In addition to providing an assortment of books, your local library may also have videos, CDs, Internet access, story hours for children, and more.
Locate a Public Library Near You.
Ask a Librarian.
Visit National Libraries Online.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Digital Inspiration Guides

Dubbing themselves “Tech a la Carte,” the folks at Digital Inspiration have put together an array of tech how-tos and reviews for the layperson wishing to get more out of a PC or the Web.

Hill Library particularly liked:

Know The Publishing Date of Web Pages
Find the Person Behind an Email Address
Know Everything About Web Sites

Friday, September 17, 2010

Census Bureau’s First Release of Comprehensive Franchise Data

The U.S. Census Bureau reports franchise businesses accounted for 10.5 percent of businesses with paid employees in the 295 industries for which franchising data were collected in 2007. Of the 4.3 million total establishments surveyed, 453,326 were either franchisee or franchisor-owned businesses.

Additionally, franchise businesses accounted for nearly $1.3 trillion of the $7.7 trillion in total sales for these industries, $153.7 billion out of the $1.6 trillion in total payroll, and 7.9 million workers out of a total workforce of 59.0 million.

The 2007 Economic Census Franchise Report is the first comprehensive and detailed report by the Census Bureau on this segment of the U.S. economy

Thursday, September 16, 2010

mySkills, myFuture: A new tool for job seekers

A new, free online tool to help job seekers increase their career mobility and economic prospects has been developed by the Federal Department of Labor / Employment Training Administration.

The self-paced tool helps people who were previously employed to:
(1) use their previous experience to identify occupations for which they qualify
(2) identify the skills needed to qualify for a specific job
(3) identify appropriate education or training institutions

The site also provides links to relevant job opportunities in national and state job banks.

Link to mySkills myFuture

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The United States Economic Census Historical Guide

The Economic Census originally started out as part of the General Decennial Census. It has changed and grown over the years in both scope and coverage. The Princeton University Library has some historical documents HERE.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Made in NY" is a high-value label

Products made in New York generate comparatively high levels of wages and spinoff economic activity, according to a new report prepared by the Rockefeller Institute for the Manufacturing Research Institute of New York State. Even after recent losses, the state ranks sixth in the nation in total manufacturing jobs, according to the report. Including other jobs that depend on manufacturing, the sector supports one in three payroll dollars in much of upstate New York. Yet New York City is the largest single center of manufacturing in the state, with more than 81,000 jobs and $4.2 billion of payroll in 2009.
In economic terms, the wealth created and added to the economy through manufacturing processes represented 52.7 percent of the total value of products shipped from New York in 2008, compared to 41.5 percent nationally. The state’s largest manufacturing sector, computers and electronic products, employs nearly 65,000 New Yorkers, with total payroll of $5.5 billion and average salaries of $84,292. Other major sectors include fabricated metal products, food processing, machinery and chemicals (including pharmaceuticals).
The report, released Monday at a Syracuse event announcing the launch of the Manufacturing Research Institute, is now available on the Rockefeller Institute Web site.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Government Challenges, Contests, and Prizes

Visit to participate in government contests and challenges for the chance to win a variety of prizes (monetary or non-monetary).
You may be challenged to solve a problem, make a suggestion, shoot and upload a video, create a logo, build an online game, invent something, and much more. A new challenge from, for example, calls for posters that answer the question, "How do I become President?" Find more details about this and other challenges.
Even if you don't have a solution for a specific challenge, you can share challenges with friends or sign up to show support for a challenge.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Consumer Reports rates fast food burgers

McDonald's burgers are certainly cheap and fast, but you still might wonder why billions have been consumed when you see the results of our recent survey of 28,000 online subscribers who rated burgers at 18 fast-food restaurants.

Among the standouts were In-N-Out Burger and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. The biggest loser: McDonald's. Burger King and Wendy's fared better than McDonald's but far worse than the highest-rated chains.


Friday, September 10, 2010

STAT-USA -- links to sources

STAT-USA will cease to exist on September 30, 2010. This guide provides links to data sources which were used by the Department of Commerce to provide information on the STAT-USA website. STAT-USA pulled together information from many different sources, some of which are available from other government websites (e.g. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Federal Reserve).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Statistical Abstract: Earlier Editions

Looking for that economic data from 1967? Or ethnic breakdowns from 1900? Statistical Abstract data presented here "ranges from the most recent edition to the historical abstracts compiled throughout the decades. Some of the data were scanned as an effort to make historical abstract information available to the public." There are only a handful of editions missing.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Updated Legislative Spending Posted on Internet

Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada (D-Bronx), spent $880,201 on his legislative office operations and staff in the most recent six-month period reported by the Legislature -- nearly $273,000 more than former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R-Brunswick) spent during a comparable period in 2008.

Espada's office expenditures and those of other Senators and Assembly members for the six months ending March 31, 2010, was posted today as part of a searchable database on the Empire Center's government transparency website,

The full text of this press release is available here.

Contact: Tim Hoefer - 518.434.3100

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Taxation -- 2008 Partnership Returns Tables

Eighteen tables are now available containing Tax Year 2008 statistics for partnerships, including statistics that focus on types of partnerships and specific industrial sectors. Also included are data for partnerships that reported foreign transaction data on the Schedule K, Partners’ Distributive Share Items.

The statistics cover balance sheets, trade or business income and deductions, portfolio income, rental income (including rental real estate income), and total net income. The information is classified by industry and size of total assets.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Alcohol and Crime: Data from 2002 to 2008

This webpage includes analyses from four data sources: the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), the Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities (SISFCF), and the Survey of Inmates in Local Jails (SILJ). Each data source examines the involvement of alcohol and violent crime from different perspectives and different sets of criminal behaviors. In NIBRS law enforcement officers are asked to record whether alcohol use by victims, offenders, or both was involved in the incident. In NCVS victims are asked to report whether they believe the offenders had consumed alcohol prior to or during the crime. Finally, in the inmate surveys prison and jail inmates are asked if they were using alcohol at the time of the crime for which they were incarcerated.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Religiosity Highest in World's Poorest Nations

United States is among the rich countries that buck the trend by Steve Crabtree

Gallup surveys in 114 countries in 2009 show that religion continues to play an important role in many people's lives worldwide. The global median proportion of adults who say religion is an important part of their daily lives is 84%, unchanged from what Gallup has found in other years. In 10 countries and areas, at least 98% say religion is important in their daily lives.

Friday, September 3, 2010

the Average College Student Budget

I found this article recently.

College students are notorious for being broke. I cannot count the number of times each week I hear someone say, “Sorry, I can’t go out to eat/go to the movies/go to the clubs. I’m broke.”
However, maybe we college kids aren’t as broke as we think we are. Something that I find pretty interesting is that 66 percent of students receive funds from home each month, and the average amount of money received is $312. Another 49 percent of students have a part-time job and report an average monthly earning of more than $450.

So what do we spend our money on?
The article is citing THIS REPORT.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ozone warning for parts of eastern NYS

Air quality alert in effect from 11 am to 11 PM EDT Thursday...

The New York state department of environmental conservation has issued an air quality health advisory for the following counties...

Dutchess... Ulster... Columbia... Greene... Schoharie... Albany...
Rensselaer... Saratoga... Schenectady... Washington... Fulton... Montgomery.

Air quality levels in outdoor air are predicted to be greater than an air quality index value of 100 for the pollutant of ozone. The air quality index... or aqi... was created as an easy way to correlate levels of different pollutants to one scale.
The higher the aqi value... the greater the health concern.

When pollution levels are elevated... the New York state department of health recommends that individuals consider limiting strenuous outdoor physical activity to reduce the risk of adverse health effects. People who may be especially
sensitive to the effects of elevated levels of pollutants include the very Young, and those with pre-existing respiratory problems such as asthma or heart disease. Those with symptoms should consider consulting their personal physician.

A toll free air quality hotline has been established so New York residents can stay informed on the air quality situation. The toll free number is: 1 800 5 3 5, 1 3 4 5.

SBA: Plan for Disasters During National Preparedness Month

WASHINGTON – In conjunction with the five-year anniversary of the
devastating Gulf Coast storms of 2005, the U.S. Small Businesses Administration is encouraging business owners, homeowners and others to create their own disaster preparedness plan during National Preparedness Month in September.

"There is a tendency to think that a large-scale disaster is not going to happen ‘where I live,’" SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. "The reality is that storms, floods, earthquakes, fires and man-made disasters can strike anytime and anywhere. Planning ahead for your own post-disaster recovery is a good step toward protecting your family, your business and your community."

SBA, along with many state, local government and private sector coalition partners are participating in this September’s National Preparedness Month.

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. Homeowners, renters 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. Companies 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

• 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 in fireproof safe deposit boxes. You should have copies/back ups of important documents ready to take with you if you have to evacuate.

• Create a "Disaster Survival Kit." The kit should include a flashlight, a
portable radio, extra batteries, first-aid supplies, non-perishable food, bottled water, a basic tool kit, plastic sheeting and garbage 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 website at

The Institute for Business and Home Safety ( also has information on protecting your home or business. Additional information on developing an emergency plan is available at the federal government’s preparedness website

When disaster strikes, 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.

To learn more about the SBA’s disaster assistance program, visit the website at

Release Date: September 1, 2010
Contact: Carol Chastang (202) 205-6987 Release Number: 10-49
Internet Address:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010