Thursday, June 30, 2011


Average weekly earnings for all employees on private sector payrolls in New York State increased 2.1 percent to $909.04 over the year ending in May 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The average work week lengthened by 0.2 hour (0.6 percent) to 34.2 hours, while average hourly earnings rose 1.5 percent to $26.58. Regional Commissioner Michael L. Dolfman pointed out that the percentage rise in New York average
weekly wages was not as large as the gain in the United States.

Other findings in today's release:
• New York’s average weekly earnings of $909.04 ranked sixth highest in the Nation.
• New York was 1 of 38 states and the District of Columbia with an over-the-year increase in average weekly earnings.
• New York was 1 of 32 states and the District of Columbia to register lengthier weeks in May 2011 compared to one year earlier.
• The information industry recorded the highest average weekly earnings for all employees ($1,380.83), followed by financial activities ($1,307.21), professional and business services ($1,226.88), and construction ($1,190.69).
• Seven of New York’s supersectors had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages.
• Eight of 12 metropolitan areas in New York registered gains in average weekly earnings, led by Ithaca, which registered a 13.5 percent increase.
• Average hours rose in 6 of the 12 areas, with Elmira recording the largest increase, up 1.5 hour. The workweek was unchanged in New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island.
• The average workweek for all private sector employees in New York was 34.2 hours; New York City posted a 34.9-hour average.

Please read the complete release in text (NYLS 7945) or in PDF.

Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses from 1790 to 2000

Census of Population and Housing data present here ranges from our most recent census to the historical decennial census conducted throughout the decades. Some of the data were scanned as an effort to make historical census information available to the public.

Census Bureau Announces Field Management Reforms

The U.S. Census Bureau announced this week a realignment of its national field office structure and management reforms designed to keep pace with modern survey collection methods worldwide and reduce costs by an estimated $15 million to $18 million annually beginning in 2014. The reforms build on the work the Bureau’s leadership did in bringing in the 2010 Census on time and 25 percent under budget.

The changes are the first to the field office structure since 1961 and will result in the permanent closing of six of the agency’s 12 Regional Offices, affecting approximately 330 employees in a national field force of about 7,200. The six remaining Regional Offices will increase slightly in size, although a net loss of approximately 115-130 positions nationally is expected. Most staff reductions will happen through attrition, early
retirements, or transfers to vacant jobs at Census headquarters or
elsewhere across the federal government.

“Director Groves and his staff at Census are making good on the President’s charge to cut costs and change the way the government does business,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “This reorganization supports the administration’s ongoing effort to make government more efficient, effective and accountable to the American people.”

The realignment will close Regional Offices located in Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Kansas City and Seattle. The remaining six Regional Offices and their new boundaries will be located in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia.

“As we go through this transition over the next 18 months, our Regional Office employees affected by this realignment will be our first priority,” U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said.

Advances in technology have allowed survey organizations to provide field interviewers with better tools and move to a leaner management structure. Increasing virtualization of supervision using more timely management information can yield both cost and quality advantages.

“Our professional field interviewers across the country are critical to helping us generate vital statistics about our economy, our communities and our households,” Groves said. “We owe it to them and the American people to constantly improve our processes and become more efficient, using taxpayer money wisely while maintaining the highest quality statistics.”

The U.S. Census Bureau is committed to finding the best possible outcome for each affected employee in a closing office and is seeking approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to provide these employees with transition assistance, early retirement, retirement incentives, and job opportunities.

To learn more about the Census Bureau’s new Regional Office structure, visit HERE.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Geographical Mobility/Migration

From The American Consumers Newsletter:

The mobility rate of the nation's homeowners remained at the record low of 5.2 percent in 2009-10, unchanged from the rate of 2008-09. The Census Bureau's latest geographic mobility figures, available at this site, show a nation of movers paralyzed by the collapse of the housing market. Among renters, a much larger 29.0 percent moved in 2009-10, down slightly from the 29.6 percent who moved between 2008-09. Renter mobility has changed little over the decade--it peaked at 30.8 percent in 2001-02. During the past decade, homeowner mobility has been as high as 8.1 percent

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How We Pay for Things

You have $34 in your wallet right now. That is the median amount of cash carried by the average American.

This paper presents results of the 2009 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice (SCPC), along with revised 2008 SCPC data. In 2009, the average U.S. consumer held 5.0 of the nine payment instruments available, including cash, and used 3.8 of them during a typical month. Between the 2008 and 2009 surveys, a period that includes the trough of the latest recession, consumers significantly increased their use of cash and close substitutes for cash, such as money orders and prepaid cards. At the same time, consumers reduced their use of credit cards and (to a lesser extent) debit cards, as well as payments made using a bank account number. Weaker economic conditions, new government regulations, and bank pricing of payment card services all likely contributed to the shift back toward cash. However, it is difficult to determine how much each of these factors contributed, and whether the shift is transitory or permanent, without more data and research on consumer payment choice. In 2009, one in three consumers had a prepaid card and nearly as many had a nonbank payment account online, while 3 percent made a mobile payment. By focusing on payments by consumers only, the SCPC complements the recent 2010 Federal Reserve Payment Study, which describes the entire noncash payments economy.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Fortune 500

The full list starts with:

Wal-Mart Stores
Exxon Mobil
Fannie Mae
General Electric
Berkshire Hathaway
General Motors
Bank of America
Ford Motor

Singing in a choir might just make you healthier

Of course!

The article and the authenticating pubmed citation.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

NYS Sales Tax Guide

Here's a numerical listing by publication number of documents addressing particular topics of interest to taxpayers

From that list, A Guide to Sales Tax in New York State (PDF)

Also, sales tax for specific industries.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The 10 most affordable U.S. home markets

Weak local economies take toll on home prices in these cities

Niagara Falls, N.Y. is well known for its beautiful views and its popularity among tourists. But here’s something you might not have known: It also has the most affordable housing market in the country.

Disaster Survivors Urged to Beware of Recovery Scams

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration is urging disaster victims seeking federal aid to be alert to scam artists posing as federal officials and to be cautious about any solicitations for fees to perform services that are available from federal agency staff for free.

In the wake of widespread flooding, wildfires and tornados in many areas across the country over the past few months, the SBA is particularly concerned about flyers that have appeared in tornado-damaged areas asking for non-refundable fees of up to $450 to help disaster victims fill out their loan applications and as much as $1,000 to verify losses and file loan applications.

Federal agencies involved in disaster recovery will never ask for a fee or payment to file an application for financial assistance or to inspect damaged property.

“Historically, natural disasters bring out the very best in people, and there are countless stories of the selfless acts of helpful neighbors and volunteers,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills.

“Unfortunately, we have also seen in the past individuals who attempt to take advantage of people who need assistance. Disaster survivors should be vigilant in protecting their personal assets, particularly in the stressful environment of a disaster recovery.

“The SBA will not tolerate the defrauding of those who have already lost so much in the aftermath of these devastating disasters,” Mills said. “Those who are found taking advantage of disaster victims will be prosecuted to the fullest extent provided by law.”

If you suspect a person is posing as a local or federal agent, or encounter what you believe are fraudulent activities connected with disaster relief operations, contact your local law enforcement officials, phone the toll-free National Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721, or send an email to The phone line is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To register for federal help after a disaster declaration, visit, or call FEMA at 800-621-3362 (800-426-7585 for the speech or hearing impaired).

Disaster survivors may also visit one of the local recovery centers to get help with filing for assistance. To get help with the disaster loan application, contact the SBA by email at, or by calling 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for those with speech or hearing disabilities). Those affected by recent disasters may also file a loan application online by visiting SBA’s secure website at

The SBA makes low-interest, taxpayer-backed disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses and non-profit organizations of all sizes. More information about the disaster assistance program is available at

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Census Bureau Director Groves Blogs

Census Bureau Director Robert Groves recently appeared as a guest blogger on the Department of Commerce’s website. Director Groves discusses the importance of the Federal Economic Statistics Advisory Committee in this blog entry. He also recently discussed his personal lessons learned from the 2010 Census in his blog,located here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ETA Releases Internet Links for State and Local Employment Projections

The Employment and Training Administration’s Office of Workforce Investment recently released Internet Links for State and Local Employment Projections. This guide provides users with direct links to:

All published industry and occupational projections for the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico
Long-term (usually 10 years) and short-term projections (usually 2 years), including the dates of the projections
Statewide and local projections, including an explanation of the type of locality
Each state's employment projections web page (if available)
A statistical table summarizing the availability of different types of projections
Each state's primary labor market information web site
The key BLS employment projections web sites

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gross Domestic Product by State

Bureau of Economic Analysis: Gross Domestic Product by State, 2010 (advance estimate) and 2007-2009 (revised estimate).

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased in 48 states and the District of Columbia in 2010, according to new statistics released this month by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis that breakdown GDP by state. Durable–goods manufacturing, retail trade, and finance and insurance were leading contributors to the upturn in U.S. economic growth. U.S. real GDP by state grew 2.6 percent in 2010 after declining 2.5 percent in 2009.

Monday, June 20, 2011

2010 National Healthcare Quality & Disparities Reports

For the eighth year in a row, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has produced the National Healthcare Quality Report (NHQR) and the National Healthcare Disparities Report (NHDR). These reports measure trends in effectiveness of care, patient safety, timeliness of care, patient centeredness, and efficiency of care. New this year are chapters on care coordination, health system infrastructure. The reports present, in chart form, the latest available findings on quality of and access to health care.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics releases

National Compensation Survey – Wages

An Examination of All-Employee Payroll and Hours Reports in CES

Productivity and Costs by Industry: Selected Service-Providing and Mining Industries

Entrepreneurship and the U.S. Economy

Business Employment Dynamics

Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the growth of the U.S. economy. As the primary source for information on the nation’s labor market, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects data on new businesses and job creation. The following highlights from data series produced by BLS Business Employment Dynamics (BED) program provide some insights on the contribution of new and small businesses to the number of businesses and jobs in the economy.

Regional Price Parities by Expenditure Class

For 2005-2009 from the Bureau of Economic Analysis [PDF]

Saturday, June 18, 2011

National and State Foster Care Data

From the Annie E. Casey Foundation – Kids Count Data Center: National and State Foster Care Data from the Adoption and Foster Care Reporting System.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Consumer Reports re sunscreen.

As ABC News reported, most sunscreens that protect against UVB rays that prevent sunburn do little to nothing against UVA rays that could lead to skin cancer. The link provides a lists the best buys for products that protect against both types of rays.

FDIC bank failure tracking tool

One can generate a report using the FDIC's Failures and Assistance Transactions search engine, to track historic bank failures, going back to the 1930s.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

IRS list of organizations that have automatically had their federal tax exempt status revoked

The IRS has published the first Automatic Revocation of Exemption List. It indicates approximately 275,000 nonprofits whose tax-exempt status has been revoked because they failed to file a Form 990, 990-N, 990-EZ, or 990-PF for three consecutive years; the list is available for downloading in both Excel and PDF form. Here's the PDF of the New York State list.

As GuideStar notes, if an organization appears on the list, it must now must file a federal income tax return and pay federal income taxes. If it previously could accept tax-deductible contributions, it no longer can do so. "If your organization is not on the list, technically you don't have to do anything. This a good time, however, to reach out to your donors, funders, and other constituents and assure them that you are in good standing with the IRS. You may also wish to suggest that your supporters consult the list to ensure that the other nonprofits they give to are still exempt."

Links for downloading the new AFF Webinars

Still baffled by AFF2? Check out these webinars from State Data Centers.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Links to data, maps, analysis, and more about the 2010 Census

Compiled by the Center for Urban Research.

A strategy for economic development

How can the U.S. recover from the current prolonged bout of unemployment and generate many good, sustainable jobs in a relentlessly globalizing economy? It’s a question Rockefeller Institute Director Thomas Gais asks in a new commentary. He suggests the country’s future success will depend upon building on its economic strengths, which include an entrepreneurial culture, the excellence of its higher education institutions and its regional diversity. These strengths can be combined to great effect, Gais writes, as recent Institute studies of the State University of New York and other institutions have shown.
We must exploit and expand upon universities’ role as the engines of innovation in an economy increasingly reliant on knowledge, Gais writes in “A Home-Grown Strategy for Economic Growth.” Read his commentary on the Institute’s Web site.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Coffee or tea?

My buddy Arthur did a great post about coffee and tea consumption in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and his expat home of New Zealand.

The coffee numbers come from the Wikipedia, which in turn comes from this detailed chart.

The tea numbers are from here and/or here via the Wikipedia.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Business Expenses Survey

The Business Expenses Survey has information of various types of expenditures, such as materials and fuels, for ALL businesses. There is also some info available for specific industries. You can find the 2007 data HERE.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Embeddable Interactive Population Comparison Widget

The Center for New Media and Promotions has launched the 2010 Population Comparison Widget. This embeddable widget is part of the Interactive Population Map. The widget is a comparison chart of population data for user-defined geographic locations, from State down to Place level, e.g., Florida, Navajo Nation Reservation, Kent County, MI, China Town, ME or Boston City, MA. After completing five geographic locations, the widget can be embedded in the user's website with easy to follow instructions. Once embedded in the user's website, the user can interact with the widget via mouse hover to appreciate the chosen geographic locations.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Population Center Videos

VIDEO: Population Center: What can we learn from these changes?
Description: In this video, Dr. Robert Groves, Director of the U.S. Census Bureau talks about the story the movement of the center of population tells about nation over the years and discusses four of the most prominent shifts throughout the centuries.

VIDEO: Population Center: What trends or changes can we see?
Description: In this video, Dr. Robert Groves, Director of the U.S. Census Bureau discusses the two major trends to the shifts of the center of population.

VIDEO: Population Center: How are the centers of population marked and can I go see them?
Description: In this video, Dr. Robert Groves, Director of the U.S. Census Bureau describes how the centers of population are marked and where you can find them.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How to Avoid Mistakes When Applying for Citizenship

Learn some helpful tips and guidance on the citizenship application process from the Blog.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Getting rid of old videos

This web site is great: Earth 911.

You type in what you want to recycle, along with your zip code, and you get a list back of places where you can take your items.

Choose My Plate.Gov

Visit for guidance on which foods to add to your diet and which foods you may want to consider reducing. You'll find resources to help you plan a healthy menu, lose weight, analyze your diet, and more.

Balancing Calories
● Enjoy your food, but eat less.
● Avoid oversized portions.

Foods to Increase
● Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
● Make at least half your grains whole grains.
● Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.

Foods to Reduce
● Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals ― and choose the foods with lower numbers.
● Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

But I miss the pyramid!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Number of Minority-Owned Firms Increased at More Than Double the Rate of All U.S. Businesses From 2002 to 2007

In 2007, minority-owned firms numbered 5.8 million, up from 4.0 million in 2002, an increase of 45.5 percent, more than double the 17.9 percent increase for all U.S. businesses, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2007 Survey of Business Owners. Receipts of minority-owned firms increased 55.0 percent to $1.0 trillion over the five-year period, compared with the 32.9 percent increase for all businesses nationwide. In 2007, more than one-fifth (21.3 percent) of the nation’s 27.1 million firms were minority-owned.

Of the 5.8 million minority-owned firms, 766,533 had paid employees, an increase of 21.7 percent from 2002. These firms employed 5.8 million people, a 24.4 percent increase from 2002, and their payrolls totaled $164.1 billion, an increase of 42.2 percent. Receipts of minority-owned employer firms totaled $860.5 billion, an increase of 54.3 percent from 2002.

In 2007, minority firms with no paid employees (nonemployers) numbered 5.0 million, an increase of 50.0 percent from 2002. These firms had receipts totaling $164.3 billion, an increase of 58.9 percent...

The new data are from the 2007 Survey of Business Owners: Company Summary, which provides statistics on minority and nonminority business ownerships every five years, as well as breakdowns and cross-tabulations by gender, race, ethnicity and veteran status. Separate data are provided on firms equally owned by minorities and nonminorities, by men and women and by Hispanics and non-Hispanics.

For most minority groups, the gains in the number of women owners were higher than for men.

The three states with the largest number of minority-owned firms in
2007 were California, Texas and Florida. California had 1.2 million minority-owned firms, or more than a fifth of all minority-owned firms in the United States. Texas had 723,057 minority-owned firms, or 12.6 percent of all minority-owned firms, and Florida had 680,069 minority-owned firms, or 11.8 percent.

The Survey of Business Owners defines minority-owned firms as firms in which blacks, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asians, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, or Hispanics own 51 percent or more of the equity, interest or stock of the business. Additional reports from the survey highlight other characteristics of businesses and owners.

The Survey of Business Owners is conducted every five years as part of the economic census. The 2007 survey collected data from a sample of more than
2.3 million businesses. More details concerning the SBO survey design, methodology, comparability and data limitations can be found at here.

Free Books From the National Academies Press

The National Academies — National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council—are committed to distributing their reports to as wide an audience as possible. Since 1994 we have offered “Read for Free” options for almost all of their titles. In addition, they have been offering free downloads of most of their titles to everyone and of all titles to readers in the developing world.

Effective June 2nd, PDFs of reports that are currently for sale on the National Academies Press (NAP) Website and PDFs associated with future reports will be offered free of charge to all Web visitors.

For more than 140 years, the NAS, NAE, IOM, and NRC have been advising the nation on issues of science, technology, and medicine. Like no other collection of organizations, the Academies enlist the nation’s foremost scientists, engineers, health professionals, and other experts to address the scientific and technical aspects of society’s most pressing problems.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Zoomable block-level Census change maps for the NYC metro area

The CUNY Mapping Service at the Center for Urban Research has launched a set of interactive maps showing detailed race/ethnicity change at the local level throughout the New York City metro region, along with an analysis of the changes in New York City.

The maps use the “before and after” technique that the NY Times and others have used effectively for images of natural disasters. But they’ve integrated the slider technique with two overlapping sets of interactive maps via OpenLayers (an open source online mapping framework), so you can slide between the two (showing 2000 and 2010 block-level maps of predominant race/ethnicity patterns) while also zooming in and out and clicking on individual Census blocks for detailed population data.

The color-shaded maps are overlain on a Microsoft basemap – you can set the transparency of the map dynamically so place names and streets become more or less visible, and also switch between the Bing street map and aerial imagery.

Here’s a direct link to the maps. They also have an analysis of the data for New York City, plus static 2000-to-2010 maps with the slider for New York’s 5 boroughs.

NACCRRA's Ranking of State Child Care Center Regulation and Oversight

More than 11 million children younger than age 5 spend an average of 35 hours a week in some type of child care setting. State child care licensing requirements govern the health, safety and learning opportunities for these children. State oversight requirements monitor compliance with state policies.

We Can Do Better: 2011 Update is the third in a series of reports beginning in 2007 that scores and ranks the states, including the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense (DoD) on 10 program requirements and five oversight benchmarks for child care centers. NACCRRA’s update found that states have made progress but more progress is needed.

The average score in 2011 was 87 out of a possible 150 points (compared to 70 in 2007 and 83 in 2009). Using a standard grading scale, no state earned an A.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Small Business Quarterly Bulletin

Advocacy's Small Business Quarterly Bulletin, a brochure-style publication that contains commentary and analysis on the current employment and financing trends of small businesses, shows a positive first quarter of 2011 for small business. Small business employment and financing were turning the corner and trending up, thus joining GDP, which has been growing for seven quarters.

SUNY System the Key to New York’s Economic Future

Albany, N.Y. -- A comprehensive statewide study finds that the State University of New York is positioned to be the critical force in building a new innovation economy for New York -- with a broad and diverse array of economic development activities already in place across the 64-campus system, and with a growing potential to do more in the future.

The study, a joint project of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government at the University at Albany and of the University at Buffalo Regional Institute, reported that the SUNY system had an economic impact of a minimum of $19.8 billion in 2008-09, based on the spending of its colleges and universities, students, employees and campus visitors.

But the institutes' report, How SUNY Matters: Economic Impacts of the State University of New York [PDF], found that the system is making an even more important contribution to New York's future economy -- to the state's capacity to grow and produce jobs in the new economy of the 21st Century.

More HERE.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Survey of Science and Engineering Research Facilities

According to the National Science Foundation's biennial Survey of Science and Engineering Research Facilities, the amount of science and engineering (S&E) research space at research-performing colleges and universities expanded 4% between FY 2007 and FY 2009, from 188 million to 196 million net assignable square feet (NASF). This percentage increase is almost three times the amount of growth found between FY 2005 and FY 2007 and follows two consecutive survey cycles with slowing growth.

Geographical Mobility/Migration

Geographical Mobility: 2009 to 2010 from the Census Bureau.

WHO, cellphones, cancer

When you hear someone say, "Using your cell phone probably won't give you cancer. The evidence supporting that idea is very weak," they are, more or less, saying the same thing that the World Health Organization is saying. Only the WHO has also added the (very reasonable) assertion that more research is needed if we want to say anything definitive about cell phones and cancer.