Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Meeting My Minimum Daily Requirement of Data

Why didn't I know this sooner? Put "unemployment rate: X city or county or state" into Google and it will pull up the current Bureau of Labor Statistics figures. I came to this today after running across a pet peeve of mine: undated data.

The web site I was consulting had all kinds of economic data about a certain place, nicely arrayed in a table, with comparisons to other polities (state and national numbers). Just what I was looking for. Except that it didn't have a date — not even a year. Making it, for my purposes, completely useless.

So, I fed Google a bit. Unemployment rate: Schaumburg, IL: 6.4 percent. Middling. Unemployment rate: Fargo, ND: 3.6 percent. We should all be so lucky, though it took a less-than-clean energy boom in the Dakotas to do it. Unemployment rate: Yuma, AZ: 16.1 percent. Just the first place I thought of that I was sure had a lousy rate, and sure enough it does.

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