Thursday, April 8, 2010

Trade Weighted Exchange/Index

Assignment #2:

1. Anyone who deals with international trade would be interested in this. The Trade Weighted Index might be used to determine how much certain goods are worth, and how much to buy them for, for any country in the world.

2. This statistic is collected by creating an weighted average of exchange rates, with the weight of each foreign country equal to its share in trade. More prominent trading partners receive a higher index. In the US, this data is collected by the Federal Reserve, and is compiled every month.

3. Using the value of $100 in January 1997 as a reference point, that amount would be worth $102.8725 according to the Trade Weighted Index for March 2010. Compared to other countries, one US dollar is currently worth 1.3570 euros and 1.5058 British pounds.

The People, "Trade Weighted Index", Wikipedia
"Foreign Exchange Rates (March 2010)", Federal Reserve Statistical Release, April 1, 2010

US Birth Rate Below Replacement Level

Assignment #1:

1. The study was conducted by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

2. Because the CDC is run by the government, the study was government-funded.

3. The CDC, I assume, would not have any interest in a particular result. Also, due to the simplicity and official nature of the study, I think it is safe to assume that the report contains very little bias.

4. Although not noted in the article, information on methodology is included in the official report. The study is based on 99.9% of the births in 2008. That data is then compared to "independent control counts of all births received in state vital statistics offices in 2008."

5. The results are communicated in a very straightforward manner. I would even go so far as to say that the article is a little too heavily weighted toward clear statistical data and does not embellish on the data enough.

6. The article does not use any graphs, although they would have been very useful in the presentation of this data.

Patrick B. Craine, "U.S. Birth Rate Drops Below Replacement Level", Life Site News, April 7, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Consumer Price Index (CPI)

1. Anyone concerned with economic activity would be interested in the CPI. Along with the census, National Income Account, and the National Product Account, the CPI is one of the most closely watched national economic statistics. The index (especially in the U.S.) approximates the cost of living.

2. Two types are data are necessary in order to construct the CPI. They are price data and weighting data. The price data are collected from a sample of goods and services from a sample of locations from a sample of times. The weighting data are estimates of the shares of different types of spending as fractions of the total spending covered by the index. The index for the current time is then compared to that of a base year in this manner:
CPI= (Productrep X Pricecurrent)/(Productrep X Price11987*)

3.On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) was unchanged in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Over the last 12 months, the index increased 2.1 percent before seasonal adjustment. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Trade Deficit

1. Anyone involved with trade would be interested in trade deficit. It would particularly affect the people inside the country which is importing more than it is exporting, as it will decrease net exports and therefore decrease the country's GDP.

2. Trade deficit is calculated at least monthly by the US government.

3. The US international trade deficit decreased to $37.3 billion in January from $39.9 billion in December, as imports decreased more than exports.

Michigan's Resident Population

1. There are a number of groups that are interested in Michigan’s resident population. Within government the statistic is of interest because it determines the number of representatives Michigan receives in Congress, the tax revenue for the state, and the amount of services that must be provided (education, welfare, healthcare, etc). The population count also provides a base number for the government and other groups to use in determining other important statistics. For instance, the overall population must be known before the percent unemployed or per capita income can be determined.

The population of Michigan is also of interest to businesses and interest groups. Knowing how many people live in the Michigan can determine the quantity of advertising companies decide to place in the state, in addition to the final allocation of products or services to the area. For example, a housing development company will be much more inclined to build in Michigan if the population is growing rather than shrinking.

2. The official count of Michigan’s population is determined by the U.S. Census Bureau every ten years in compliance with the Constitution. In the interim, the Census Bureau makes estimates of the population size. According to their website, “Existing data series such as births, deaths, and domestic and international immigration, are used to update the decennial census base counts.”

3. The most recent estimate puts the Michigan resident population at 10,003,422. This represents a 0.7% increase since the last hard count in 2000, which put the Michigan population at 9,938,492. The United States, by comparison, was estimated to have a population of 304,059,724 in 2008 and a much faster rate of growth. According to the Census Bureau, U.S. had a population of 281,424,602 in 2000. This represents an 8% population increase between 2000 and 2008.

U.S. Census Bureau. 23 February 2010. “Michigan Quickfacts.”

U.S. Productivity

1. Employers would want to know this statistic so that they can gauge if they will need to hire more workers. Economists and policy makers would be interested in this statistic because it often has a negative correlation with employment. As productivity goes up, businesses often find that they can do the same amount of work with fewer employees.

2. This statistic is collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It is collected quarterly by calculating factors such as payroll numbers and gross output.

3. U.S. Labor Productivity grew in Q4 2009 at a rate of 6.9%. This is compared to historical average of 3-4%.

Consumer Confidence Statistics

Consumer confidence is defined to be the degree of trust that a consumer feels about the overall state of their economy, as well as their own personal financial situation. Consumer confidence is a main deciding factor in spending activity.
  1. Among those interested in consumer confidence would be virtually all business owners that desire to know the spending activity of the consumers in their field, political candidates who want to adhere to the trust issues of his or her people, government policy makers, and economists who look for trending patterns and attempt to create foundations for economic structures.
  2. The Conference Board is a non-profit organization that makes economics-based forecasts, assesses trends, and facilitates learning by creating dynamic communities of interest in order to bestow knowledge about management and the marketplace to help businesses strengthen their performance and better serve society. Every month, The Conference Board collects statistics from 5,000 households.
  3. In March, The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased to 52.5, which is a rebound from a drop down to 46.4 in February. Consumers' confidence is dependent on their concern about current business and labor market conditions. Currently, consumer confidence levels continue to be pessimistic and have stayed relatively consistent from last year at this time.
The following links were used as reference:

Manufacturing and Employment in Michigan

1. Anyone who is involved in Michigan's work force should be interested in this statistic. When you think manufacturing, the first thing that comes to mind is the automotive industry- which has been hit hard by the economic downturn in the last decade. Ford is the only of Detroit's big three that is still thriving.

2. Statistics on manufacturing is collected by the companies and is usually updated/reported quarterly to show gains/losses as well as performance value. Employment is gathered through a collaborative effort from both the state and the company, with the company having to report who is on their payroll, how many employees, etc.. and the state department does surveys to find out how many potentional workers are unemployed. This statistic is done annually.

3. Because I referenced Ford and Detroit's big three as Michigan's major manufacturing company, I will give its statistics from its most recent quarter in accordance with Unemployment in the metro detroit area.

In 2006 Ford posted a quarterly loss of $5.8 Billion USD- this was during the worst of the financial crisis. Since then, Ford has recovered greatly. But to show the relation between this companies performance and employment- In 2006 Michigan had the highest unemployment rate over any other state at 6.9%.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Gini Coefficient

1. The Gini coefficient marks inequality, usually in income or wealth, but it has other applications as well. When it is typically used, economists and policy makers would be interested in this, since it shows how unequitable a country is, and shows that there is a monetary divide.

2. The census bureau will calculate it. And they derive it from the lorenz curve, and their data on households vs income. Which is taken every census year.

3.The 2008 Gini coefficient rating for the U.S was .466 which can be compared to canada or most countries in europe which sit in the 20's and 30's.

Source and

Exports of goods and services as % of GDP (most recent) by country

1. Economists comparing exports of goods and services from various countries

2. Collected from 164 different countries, most likely annually, but isn't stated.

3. In terms of the U.S., the U.S.'s percent of goods and services exports of the GDP is 11.24% compared to the average of all 164 countries at 41%

Conference Board Leading Economic Index

1. Because this is an index that intended to forecast future economic activity, I believe economists, investors, traders, and anybody whose work is related with economics will be interested in it.

2. It is collected by The Conference Board, a non-governmental organization, monthly.

3. It increased 0.1 percent in February, following a 0.3 percent gain in January, and a 1.2 percent rise in December, pointing to a slow recovery this summer.
. Global Business Cycle Indicators, The Conference Board, Thursday, March 18, 2010

Retail Sales

1) Anyone involved in the retail industry would be interested in these statistics. These following categories make up retail: Automobiles, Gasoline, Food service and merchandise. Owners, suppliers, customers and anyone concerned with the economy of our country would interested in the annual and monthly statistics of retail sales. These statistics can also show which categories have been effected due to the recession, as well as which categories are getting stronger and gaining sales from the past few years. 

2) These statistics are collected by The U.S. Census Bureau and mainly the U.S. Department of Commerce. Monthly and Annual statistics are given as well. Each section is broken down individually as well as a total, for example, food services, automobiles, furniture, electronics, gasoline and many more are broken down to show their individual statistics annually and monthly. 

3) An example of a annual statistic for Retail and Food services is a .3% increase in sales from February 2009 to February 2010 and monthly example is that total sales in millions increased to 355,546 in February 2010 from 354.399 in January 2010. Also percentage changes per month are given for the individual categories. Motor Vehicles and Part Dealers decreased by 2% from last February 2009, but electronics have increased by 3.7% since February of 2009. From these statistics we can see that although the automobile industry is not increasing their sales, overall retail sales are increasing which shows that retailers are going in the right direction. 


Auto Sales

This is the research I found on my topic, Auto Sales.

1. Many people would be interested in this statistic because, if auto sales are increasing, then the economy is doing well. The general population, along with automotive companies, companies who supply parts to automotive companies and the government are very interested to see how high auto sales are compared to last month / year.

2. This statistic is collected by combining the amount of money collected every month from each auto sale. I particularly looked at United States auto sales to see how companies like GM and Ford are doing, since they are founded in the US. Every month the number of sales is recorded and examined by many analysts, especially now to see how we are doing coming out of this economic recession.

3. Our SAAR (Seasonal Adjusted Annual Rate) for auto sales was $11.7 million in March. This is about the same level as it was in September of 2008, when within the next month, auto sales plummeted due to the recession. However, we achieved $11.7 million in sales last December 2009, so we are not really advancing forward. Analysts would love to see us break the $12 million mark because this would mean that we would be above September 2008's average, which would be sending us in the right direction.

Coverage Rate for U.S. Health Insurance

1. I think just about every adult in the United States would be interested in this statistic. There has been an ongoing debate with Health Care in the U.S., and whether President Obama would be able to universalize health care in America. On March 23 of this year, Obama allowed the U.S. to get closer to universal health care, according to, by "signing into law one of the most significant pieces of legislation in the nation's history." The millions of people living in the U.S. who lack access to affordable health insurance will surly be interested in this more than anyone. According to, President Obama's reforms "have removed insurance companies' ability to discriminate on the basis of pre-existing conditions, ensured Americans have access to high-quality, low-cost insurance, and guaranteed that Americans won't need to fear the loss of coverage if they lose their job, switch jobs or become self-employed." Most of America had been holding their breath up until March 23, but now that the legislation for the health care plan has been signed into law, all Americans, whether they are interested in health care or not, will be affected by the new health care plan.
2. Each year, the Census Bureau releases estimates of health-care insurance coverage from all sources, including breakdowns by employer-provided plans, directly purchased plans, Medicaid, Medicare, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, and other government programs. They collect data on health-care insurance coverage annually. The Census Bureau began collecting data on health-care insurance coverage in 1979.
3. The aggressive reforms enacted by President Obama will extend affordable health insurance plans to 95 percent of all Americans. About 61.1 million Americans would be uninsured by 2020 if the reforms hadn't passed. Under President Obama's new legislation that was passed into law, there would be a much lesser amount of Americans uninsured by 2020, so much so that only about 4.2 million Americans would be uninsured by 2020 compared to the 61.1 million people that would be uninsured by the next decade if the reforms hadn't passed. That is nothing less than remarkable.
Sources/References Used:

References used by the site:
Health Insurance Resource Center. Copyright 1994-2010,, LLC.

References used by the site:
Data: Estimates by the Lewin Group for the Commonwealth Fund.
Source: "The Path to a High Performance U.S. Health System: A 2020 Vision and the Policies to Pave the Way." February 2009.
References used by the site:
The Center for Economic Policy and Research. "Health Insurance Coverage Rates for US workers from 1979-2008." Hye Jin Rho and John Schmitt. March 2010.

Annual US Vehicle Production

1. Not only the automobile industry, but also just anyone interested in buying a vehicle would be interested in the annual vehicle production statistic of the US auto industry. To help detect sales, completion and production trends for the future as a comparative study of the past, auto-manufactures would definitely have a use for a statistic like this.

2. This statistic was taken by the US Department of Transportation, and was completed with a “Continuous Measurement” system, that is rather than a decennial census, a monthly sample survey replacing the long-form census of US Vehicle Production.

3. Year: Total production in thousands

2005: 11,947 2006: 11,260 2007: 10,752 2008: 8,673

RITA. Bureau of Transportation Statistics: “Annual U.S. Motor Vehicle Production and Factory (Wholesale) Sales.” 2008.

Unemployment rate in Michigan

1. Everyone is, or should be interested in the unemployment rate statistic. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website specifically says that "federal programs use the data for allocations to States and areas, as well as eligibility determinations for assistance, state and local governments use the estimates for planning and budgetary purposes and to determine the need for local employment and training services, and private industry, researchers, the media, and other individuals use the data to assess localized labor market developments and make comparisons across areas."

2. This statistic is an estimate created from the data of various sources including a household survey called the Current Population Survey, the Current Employment Statistics program, State Unemployment Insurance systems, and the US Census which is conducted every ten years. Unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted and updates are available either every 3rd Friday or 12 days later than that (depending on the area).

3. The unemployment rate for Michigan is 14.1% as of February 2010, compared to 7.1% in February of 2005, and 3.3% in February of 2000.

Capacity Utilization

1) Operations managers, business owners, economists, and bankers should all be interested in capacity utilization. Capacity utilization is a measure of a company’s actual output in comparison to its potential output. By understanding capacity utilization, operations managers or business owners will know how effective their production is, if they have the ability to produce more, or if they are on the verge of capacity. Economists and bankers are interested in capacity utilization because it has been observed that as utilization rises above ~82%, inflation is likely to occur. Excessive capacity also means that demand is not high enough to encourage expansion of production.
2) Capacity utilization statistics are used by administering surveys to goods-producing industries at the plant stage. The survey is carried out by the US Federal Reserve Board and recorded in the FRB utilization index. Another survey is given by the Institute of Supply Management. The FRB issues the survey and publishes data on a monthly basis and additionally produces yearly numbers.
3) Released in February 2010 by the FRB, the most recent capacity utilization for all US industries was 72.7%. This number is up 2.1% from February 2009, but overall capacity has dropped 1.2% since that time. In specific industries there is much variance, with numbers ranging from 83.1% in utilities industries and 69% in manufacturing. Overall, these numbers are considerably lower than the industry-wide average of 80.6% since 1972. All industries other than utilities have experienced decreased overall capacity since February 2009. The all-time high, industry-wide capacity utilization was 85.1% 1989. Many countries operate at between 70% and 90% capacity. In 2004 the US operated at 79.7% capacity while Canada and Japan operated at 87% and 84% respectively.

Capacity Utilization statistics were collected from:

Capacity Utilization Information was also collected from:

Inflation Expectations

1. The Federal Reserve are particularly interested in the inflation expectation because they use it as a monetary indicator. Economists are able to predict the inflation rate and depending on the result, along with other indicators, the Feds will adjust their monetary policies. Workers, lenders, savors, pensioners, businesses and interest rate- sensitive industries such as mortgage companies may also be interested as there could be a change in inflation.

Workers would be affected by inflation as their incomes do not shift with inflation immediately. This means that if the inflation increased, a worker's income would not be able to buy as much as his salary has not been adjusted to inflation.

Lenders would be interested in inflation as the interest they collect will not be worth as much as before.

Savors would feel that the dollars they saved today will not be worth the same in the future.

Pensioners would be affected if their savings do not increase as rapidly as prices do because they are living on a fixed income.

Businesses will not invest as they cannot plan for the future if inflation fluctuates.

2. Economists are able to predict the inflation expectation by looking at long-term bond yields and how investors are pricing inflation indexed bonds. Alternatively, consumer confidence can be measured by surveys such as the Reuters/ University of Michigan consumer sentiment index.

3. According to the Financial Times, "Short View: Inflation expectations", by John Authers; published on March 23rd 2010;; they currently expect 2.2% inflation using the Financial Times, 10 year breakeven rates. The inflation expectations for 2009 was 0.9% and in 2008 was 2.3%.

Imports of Goods and Services

The Imports of Goods and Services statistic is the value of goods/services (in USD) that are imported to the US from another country.

1. Among those who would be interested in this number are politicians, macroeconomists and executives of large corporations who are involved in the import/export process.

2. This statistic is collected via a census by the U.S. Census Bureau, specifically the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. It is collected once a month.

3. The total value for imports in January 2010 was $180 billion. In December of 2009 the total value of imports was $183.1 billion.
January 2009: $160.9 billion
January 2008: $206.4 billion
January 2007: $185.8 billion
This number is typically used in comparison with other numbers such as: value of total exports, value of service imports, value of good imports and value of deficit (in the case of the US) between exports and imports)

The Case Shiller Index

The Case Shiller Index is a quarterly measurement of single family housing values.

1) Real Estate investors, home buyers, and companies looking to relocate employees would probably pay close attention to this report.

2) The statistic is actually split in to four different reports; a national home index, a 20 city composite index, a 10 city composite index, and twenty individual metro area indices. The homes that are taken into consideration are all relatively the same size and have already changed ownership - they want to see what people will pay for the same home overtime - it excludes new homes, condos, and drastically remodeled homes.

3) The index was set at 100 in 2000 and from then on it grew to 188 in 2006 - the housing bubble popped - and has been in a steady decrease since. The current measurement is 145.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Consumer Confidence is the measurement of how households feel about the economy.
1. Business owners, government, politicians, and economists would like to know the consumer confidence of people in the economy.
2. The statistic is collected by 5,000 households by The Conference Board every month.
3. Recently, the month of march has increased after dropping in february. March's consumer confidence is 52.0 compared to february's 46.4 consumer confidence which is compared to the 1985 consumer confidence which was 100. This number usually correlates with how the economy is doing, like when the house market crahsed, the consumer confidence of the nation fell also.

[I think this is okay now; there seemed to be an extra space in the address CAS. This hyperlink thing does not work, or when i do add link, the link does not show at all on my post, i have no clue how to fix it.]

Vehicle Miles Traveled

Vehicle miles traveled, or VMT, is the measure of the total miles driven in a specific area in a specific time. A related statistic is VMT per capita which is the average miles driven by a single person in a given amount of time, which is usually 1 day, in a specific region. An example of this is the weekday VMT per capita in Atlanta in 39 miles per day.
1) People who would by interested in this statistic are transportation and environmental agencies, like the DMV or EPA. They are interested in it because using this information they can plan new road locations and city layouts, as well as protect the environment.
2) The Federal Highway Administration collects the data and with it estimates the national VMT and congestion on highways. They report a new VMT every month. The data is compiled more monitoring 4000 traffic counting locations nation wide, and by The National Household Travel Survey which is conducted every 5 years.
3) Total US passenger highway miles (in millions):
2007- 4,958,922
2006- 4,958,922
2005- 4,887,945
The trend for this statistic was that it was steadily increasing, but over the past years due to high gas prices and other environmental campaigns it has plateaued.

"Table 1-37: U.S. Passenger-Miles." Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Research an Innovative Technology Administration, 2010. Web. 5 Apr. 2010. <>.

Polzin, Steven. "The Case For More Moderate Growth in VMT: A Critical Juncture in U.S. Travel Behavior Trends." USDOT, 3 Nov. 2004. Web. 5 Apr. 2010. <>.

PADD Gasoline Prices

References: U.S. Energy Information Administration
1) Those parties interested in this statistic would be investors in oil companies, oil companies, countries importing and exporting oil, business's that use trucks or planes, and consumers.

2) The U.S. government collects the statistics through the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The agency collects the data everyday and publishes publishes it weekly.
3) Regular Gasoline Prices (cents per gallon)
PADD I: 277.3
PADD II: 275.4
PADD III: 268.2
PADD IV: 279.1
PADD V: 303.7
In order to put this statistic in perspective these are the regular gasoline prices (cents per gallon) for each PADD one year ago.
PADD I: 202.5
PADD II: 203.1
PADD III: 196.9
PADD IV: 193.7
PADD V: 220.7
From comparing these two sets of data it can be observed that regular gasoline prices were lower one year ago than they are today all across the United States.

Industrial Production Index

1. The people that would be most interested in thes statistic would likely be those who work in the industrial fields. Some examples would be mining, manufacturing, and utilities.

2. This statistic is released every month by the Federal Reserve Board. The data is often collected directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and trade associations, both on physical outputs and inputs used in the production process.

3. The most recent number for the statistic is 101.0 Right now the number is compared to the year 2002, which is considered the "base year" and has a numerical value of 100. So we can compare the most recent IPI number to this base year number of 100.

Civilian Labor Force in Michigan

1. Michigan residents, politicians, and people looking for a job would be interested in the information from this statistic.
2. This statistic is collected by the Bureau of Labor which is by the government. This statistic is collected monthly. These statistics are adjusted because politicians need to know how many people are employed and unemployed. It matters a great extent how many people are in the labor force because these statistics affect the economy greatly.
3. The civilian labor force in Michigan is 4,844.2 in February 2010. Since this data is collected monthly, we can compare previous months. In January the civilian labor force in Michigan was 4,839.6. These numbers show how the work force is growing slowly as the economy is getting better. The civilian labor force is made up of the population who is over 16 and people are not in the military or institutions such as prison. The unemployment rate comes from this number and it is the percentage of people who are not actively seeking employment.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Local Area Unemployment Statistics Information and Analysis

Gross Domestic Products

1.  The gross domestic product is one of the primary indicators used to gauge the health of the country’s economy. It represents the total dollar value of all good and service produced over a period of time. To make sure that GDP can be most accurately compared year-to-year, the Bureau of Economic Analysis is interested in calculating and reports the GDP. Also the people in the country are interested in gross domestic product. The government is also interested in selecting companies that are steady, not small ones.

2. For GDP to be collected, the BEA makes three important distinctions. First they collect from the U.S.’s import and income from the companies. When they collect GDP, the effects of inflation are taken out. Also the only final product gets counted. The GDP is measured quarterly and thats how it receives better data. Much of the data used in GDP is collected by sending out surveys to different companies. There are surveys sent to retailers and manufacturers to ask about their output or sales in a monthly basis. 

3. In 2008 and 2009, the economy contracted for four consecutive quarters. The Great Depression was the last time it happened, and now it is happening now. The economy fell .7% in Q1 with the Bear Stearns bailout, but resumed 1.5% growth by Q2. When the banking system was decreasing in the third quarter, the economy shrank 2.7%. The Lehman Brothers collapse delivered the death blow - the economy dropped 5.4% in Q4. The GDP collapsed 6.4% in Q1 2009. By the second quarter, the economic stimulus package started to work, and the economy fell only .7% in Q2. It finally grew again by 2.2% in Q3. 


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Motor Vehicle Fatalities in the United States and MI

1 1 1. Motor vehicle manufacturers, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), parents, and psychologists would be interested in the motor vehicle fatality statistics. The manufacturers and the DMV would want to know these statistics because they would be able to better understand which vehicles needed to become safer and which roads could need to have regulations changed, respectively. Parents and psychologists would want to know these statistics so that they could see the demographics for the most fatal accidents and in some cases to pick out a statistically safe vehicle for a new driver in the family.

2 2 2. The motor vehicle fatality statistics would be gathered from police reports after car accidents. The data is posted yearly, and depends directly on the number of fatal accidents that are reported.

3 3 3. The most recent statistic is the total number of motor vehicle fatalities in 2008. The data that I found is a compilation of the driver, passenger, motorcyclist, pedestrians, pedalcycalitsts (bicyclists), and ‘Unknown’ fatalities totaling 37,261 in the United States. The total motor vehicle fatalities in Michigan for 2008 were just 980 fatalities. 980 fatalities is a 31% decrease in motor vehicle fatalities between the years of 1994 and 2008. Also, for every 100 million miles traveled in MI, there were only 1.04 fatal accidents (2007).

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)

1. Anybody involved with trade and comparing important economic statistics between countries would be interested in the PPP calculation. Calculating PPPs is the first step in the process of converting the level of GDP into a common currency to enable comparisons to be made.

2. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and Eurostat are responsible for calculating PPPs. Eurostat calculates it for the European Union countries while the OECD calculates it for all other countries. PPPs are calculated at the end of each year but are published every 3-5 years.

3. Consumer prices in the OECD area rose by 1.9% in the year to February 2010, down from 2.1% in January. Consumer prices for food in the OECD area fell by 0.3% in the year to February 2010, following a fall of 0.7% in January.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Labor Productivity

1. Labor productivity is a statistic with far-reaching importance. It would be very important to economists, politicians, businesses, and foreign governments. However, its impact goes beyond these professions and establishments because growth in labor productivity means that workers are able to produce more output, and this occurs through an increase in the capital utilized throughout the production process. This increase can occur through the means of human or physical capital. Increasing labor productivity shows that a firm, franchisee, nation, etc. is increasing the quantity and/or quality of its goods – which means that capital is being utilized effectively and economically which can, in turn, raise quality of living, participation, etc.

2. The statistic is gathered by The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), wherein they define productivity as a “measure of economic efficiency which shows how effectively economic inputs are converted into output”. There are two BLS programs that “produce labor productivity and costs (LPC) measures for sectors of the U.S. economy”. The Major Sector Productivity is published quarterly and is the most commonly cited statistic, while the Industry Productivity program publishes annual measures. (

3. The BLS reported that the “nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased at a 6.9 percent annual rate during the fourth quarter of 2009”. It further expands on this statistic by stating “From the fourth quarter of 2008 to the fourth quarter of 2009, productivity increased 5.8 percent as output declined 0.2 percent and hours fell 5.7 percent”. This resulted in the annual measure of productivity increasing 3.8 percent from 2008 to 2009. ( Furthermore, a chart posted on the website shows changes in productivity in the nonfarm business sector from 1947-2009. This bar chart shows that after a dip from 1947-73 to 1973-79, the average annual percent change in productivity has been steadily increasing. (

Labor productivity and costs (lpc). (n.d.). Retrieved from

Productivity and costs, fourth quarter and annual averages 2009, revised. (2010, March 4). Retrieved from

Productivity growth by major sector, 1947-2008. bar chart. (2010, March 5). Retrieved from

Blog Assignment 1

This is a survey that was conducted by The Times and CBS news to show the fall of public support for Obama since his election.

1) The survey was conducted by both The Times and CBS News.

2) The sponsor was undisclosed.

3) The sponsor was trying to show the fall in the public support for Obama in the past year.

4) No sample size was included but it was a telephone survey.

5) The results are shown on a simple line graph.

6) Yes, the whole survey is shown on the graph and it is clear to decipher the intended meaning.

Blog Assignment 1

1. The survey was conducted by Skytrax World Airports through customer surveys.

2. The sponsor is undisclosed

3. Yes, the sponsor was looking to find the where the world's best airports were located and why they were the considered the best.

4. There was no methodology included in this particular article.

5. Yes, the results are clear in listing which airports were chosen as the best.

6. No graphs were used in this survey.

April 2, 2010| by International Herald Tribune| The New York Times

Blog Assignment #1

1. The survey was conducted by the California Citizens Compensation Commission.

2. The sponsor of the research is undisclosed. However, the survey was conducted to see whether or not California lawmakers could handle a pay cut, so I assume it was federally sponsored.

3. Were the sponsors federal, they probably wanted to find that California lawmakers were the highest paid in the nation.

4. Methodology is not included.

5. The results, that lawmakers in CA receive higher salaries than those of any other state, are clearly defined.

6. No graphs or tables are included.

March 29, 2010|By Anthony York, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Blog 1: Statistical Reporting

1. The National Institute on Drug Abuse
2. The sponsor is not specifically stated, but since it is a national institute I would assume it received a fair amount of federal sponsorship.
3. The sponsor of the study would definitely have an interest in finding a particular result- this information is an assessment on the prevalence of drug abuse int he United States and can therefore measure the effectiveness of anti-drug campaigns, as well as target problem demographics.
4. Yes the methodology is included- they used surveys in order to gather information. The sample was given nationwide to high school students, so while this is a good measure of drug use in youth ages 13-18, it does not necessarily represent the greater population.
5. Yes the results are given in a clear manner, presented with a subset of trends for each drug.
6.There were no graphs in this survey.

Blog Assignment #1

Rabin, Roni Caryn. "Nutrition: Rise in Soda Price Linked to Better Health". New York Times. March 15, 2010.

1. The study was done by the following people: Kiyah J. Duffey, PhD, Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD,
James M. Shikany, MD, David Guilkey, PhD, David R. Jacobs Jr, PhD, and Barry M. Popkin, PhD.

2. The sponsor is undisclosed.

3. Yes - They probably hypothesized that a tax on soda would lead to better health.

4. This was a longitudinal study of 12,123 young adults over 20 years with a control group.

5. Yes - When faced with a 10% tax on soda, young adults consumed 7 percent less soda than
the control group. When faced with a flat $1 tax on a 2-liter bottle of soda, the young adults consumed
124 fewer calories per day than the control group, as well as a lower risk for pre-diabetes.

6. There were not any graphs included in this study.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Blog Assignment #1

Roan, Shari. "Life Span May Be as Wide as Your Smile."Los Angeles Times 29 Mar 2010,

1. Researchers at Wayne State University conducted the study

2. The sponsor was not specifically mentioned, although Wayne State University most likely paid for it.

3. The sponsors of the study probably had little economic interest in whether smiles prolong life or not. I suppose the particularly smile or frown prone researchers may have taken a specific interest for health reasons.

4. The study used photographs of 230 players from the 1952 Baseball Register. The article did not say that the players were chosen randomly. Five people looked through the photos and rated each player’s expression as having no smile; a partial smile; or a full smile. The researchers controlled for a number of variables including the length of the players’ careers, education, and body-mass index.

5. Yes. The survey concluded that, of those players that had died, those with no smile lived an average of 72.9 years (63 players), those with partial smiles lived an average of 75 years (64 players), and those with full smiles lived an average of 79.9 plays (23 players).

6. No graphs were provided.

Blog Assignment #1

1. Peter Corbett did the statistics and the analysis that went with it. He performed these statistics two years ago and compared the results.
2. It seems like he sponsored / was able to find the selected data.
3. He was curious in finding out the result to inform the general population who uses Facebook that the older generation does have a big impact on the total population of Facebook.
4. His sample size was dependent on the number of users that use Facebook and the number of users in the demographic of 35-54 years old.
5. Yes, he gives percentages for users within certain age groups, location in the United States and gender.
6. No, no graphs were used in this article but a table was, and that was clearly given.

Blog Assignment #1

New York Ripe for Electric Cars, Study Says

1.) The resarch and report were from the consulting firm McKinsey.
2.) McKinsey sponsored the research.
3.) As a consulting firm that has a "go-green" strategy often shown in their research, it is very possible that there was some bias.
4.) Yes, the sample size is included. The consulting group McKinsey surveyed 1,000 consumers in New York and 600 in Shanghai.
5.) The results are communicated in a very neat, orderly fashion. The word choice is very simplistic and not overly confusing. There are also man quotes from the official researchers that introduce topics for each paragraph.
6.) No, there are no graphs are shown in the results of this statistical study.

Blog #1

Porsche Tops in Dependability Study, Cheryl Jensen, New York Times, 3/18/10

1. J.D. Power and Associates conducted a study on the dependability of different car models.

2. J.D. Power and Associates.

3. J.D. Power and Associates conducts studies in many different categories and does not have issues with bias or searching for certain results.

4. J. D. Power’s dependability study measures the problems experienced by the original owners of three-year-old vehicles and includes 198 different problem areas. The rankings then are determined by the number of problems per 100 vehicles. The study was based on responses from more than 52,000 owners.

5. The results are presented clearly and explains the number of problems for each car and takes into account the industry average from previous years and this year.

6. There are no graphs presented in this article.

Blog Assignment #1

The Calorie-Restriction Experiment By JON GERTNER Published: October 7, 2009 1) The large clinical trial was done and financed by National Institutes of Health also known as Calerie which stands for Comprehensive Assessment of Long-Term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy. 2) As I stated in question one the trial was financed by National Institutes of Health. 3) Since the study was done by the National Institute of Health, they are most likely doing this clinical trial to find ways to reduce obesity and/or increase health in the United States. Another result that was intended to find was investigating how a Spartan diet affects the aging process and its associated diseases. They also are trying to discover how to maximize the human life span. 4) Sample size is included. It is stated that there are 132 men and women, in the Boston, St. Louis, and Baton Rouge areas that were part of this clinical trial. All members participated for 2 years, but were started at different times. 5) The results are clearly stated, yet there are many different variables that were being watched, so the article was very long with many different sets of results. One example is that by using calorie restriction, these participants will not die from the number 1 cause of death in the U.S. and Europe, which is cardiovascular death. This is because the way the subjects are monitored they would not develop diseases such as cardiovascular diseases. 6) No graphs were used in this article.

Blog Assignment #1

Pope Benedict the XVI is Losing popularity. March 29th 2010, from the Economist.

1. Harris Interactive did the study.
2. The sponsers are undisclosed.
3. Since the sponsers are unknown, it can't be said. But one thing is sure is that the article is slanted, just look at the unflattering picture. Also, it is a controversial topic, so it could be slanted.
4. It says nothing about the methodolgy inculded. But the contries chosen obviously weren't random countries, they were just powerful/ relevant.
5. Yes there is a nice chart which is simple and straight foreward.
6. There are no graphs.

Marlar, Jenny. “Underemployment Rises to 20.3% in March.” 1 April 2010.

1. The survey was conducted by “Gallup Daily tracking.”

2. The survey was sponsored Gallup.

3. This Gallup survey would find a definite interest in these particular results, given their line of work. As Gallup is a company whose main focus is in the research of surveys and polls, not just these but other survey results would interest them especially during these times.

4. The methodology is clear. The results were based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 20,504 national adults above 18 with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 1%.

5. Yes, the results are clear. The 20.3% of underemployment is out of adults both “unemployed or working part-time but wanting full-time work.”

6. Yes, the graphs are clear, they show both the unemployed and part-time wanting full-time work throughout December 2009 through March of 2010.