Archive for September, 2013

Economic Crisis – September 2013 Update

Five Years After the Crash: What Americans Think about Wall Street, Banks, Business, and Free Enterprise (American Enterprise Institute); The Financial Crisis Five Years Later: Response, Reform, and Progress In Charts (U.S. Treasury Dept); Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States (UC Berkeley); Living Below the Line: Economic Insecurity and America’s Families (Wider Opportunities for Women); Rebuilding Household Wealth: Implications for Economic Recovery (CRS); Financial Planning Profiles of American Households: The 2013 Household Financial Planning Survey and Index (Consumer Federation of America); Financial Crisis: Five Years Later (White House); and Bibliography of the Global Financial / Economic Crisis (European University Institute Library).

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International Labor Statistics

The Databook on International Labour Statistics from the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training contains over 140 tables on a wide variety of socioeconomic topics. The figures focus mainly on industrialized economies; i.e., Sweden, Japan, United States, Brazil, India, etc. This can be supplemented by using Charting International Labor Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and Labordoc from the International Labour Organization.

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The Fastest and Slowest Internet in the United States

Gizmodo has just released A Map of Who’s Got the Best (and Worst) Internet Connections in America. This interactive map shows that speed is a function of income, the higher the income in a congressional district, the faster the speed; population density matters less because while rural areas have slower speeds (it is expensive for cable companies to put in the infrastructure in under-populated areas), urban areas suffer from heavy use which slows speeds. (For those interested, please read this June 2013 NITA report – Broadband Availability Beyond the Rural/Urban Divide.) The national average is 18.2 Mbps; the fastest connection is in Ephrata, Washington with a speed of 85.5Mbps, while the slowest is in Fort Defiance, Arizona at 1.5 Mbps. A list of 5690 ranked locations is here; Jersey City comes in at 1372 with 21.73 Mbps with eight New Jersey municipalities in the top 50. A digital divide still exists as is evident in the ranking of Vermont’s capital of Montpelier; it places 4816 with a speed of 8.99 Mbps. Even its commercial center of Burlington ranks only 2804 with a speed of 16.60 Mbps.

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What Contributes to Employee Wellbeing?

Disengaged workers are not as productive or positive as their engaged colleagues. There are many reasons for this condition, ranging from the boss-from-hell to the lack of clearly defined objectives/expectations. The Gallup 2013 State of the American Workplace survey concentrates on employee engagement, and what companies can do to foster it. As it points out: “Engaged employees have well-defined roles in the organization, make strong contributions, are actively connected to their larger team and organization, and are continuously progressing.”(27) This report is not just for the profit sectors, the education industry could easily follow some of the recommendations in this report. Survey questions, charts, and strategies are included.

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Most Corrupt Lawmakers in Congress

CREW’s Most Corrupt Members of Congress 2013 has just been released. Seventeen members of Congress have either engaged in serious misconduct or other transgressions. The methodology is explained and the charges are reviewed along with references. Unfortunately, New Jersey is represented on this list. Previous reports from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington are available as well.

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New Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Statistics Released at the State Level

The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey has released three reports examining the above topics. Household Income 2012 presents data at the national, state levels along with the 25 largest metropolitan areas. Comparisons are made for 2000 and 2012. New Jersey’s median income dropped 3.4% between 2000 and 2012. Poverty: 2002-1012 profiles the same above government entities. New Jersey is one of just a few states with a poverty level under 11%. And Mitigating the Loss of Private Insurance With Public Coverage for the Under-65 Population 2008-2012 shows the erosion of private health insurance over time; fully 14.5% of New Jerseyans are without coverage.

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International Education Statistics, Part 2

Want to find national reports written by the various ministries of education from around the world? How about comprehensive educational reports supplemented with data from other sources pertaining to these various countries? What about national policies for education? Guiding principles? Curriculum plans promulgated from the national levels? UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education is a great starting point. Going back to the 1930s, participants at the International Conference on Education prepared national reports on the state of their educational systems. These reports, mostly in English are available online, in most cases back decades. These documents form the core for the World Data on Education project that concentrates on each country with additional information culled from appropriate in-country agencies. Again, almost all the reports are in English, and even if they aren’t, the charts/tables are easily recognized for what they are. Each profile lists the major laws dealing with education,, includes a flowchart or table of organization of the national education system, a breakdown of instructional time, qualifications for teachers, and a list of supplemental resources, many of them linked. This present 7th edition offers information for 2010/2011; most countries are present with their reports.

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics offers a wealth of information on education. It publishes the annual Global Education Digest; each volume in the series revolves around a specific topic. The 2012 edition addresses school dropouts (or “school leavings”). The information is current through 2010, and the numerous tables make for easy comparisons among countries. UIS also has informative country and regional profiles, fact sheets on key issues, and a large documents library of apposite material.

Another reliable source is contained in the OECD Education at a Glance 2013, a huge compendium of statistics and tables on topics not covered in any of the above sites. It covers OECD countries as well as other G20 countries. Base data range from 2009 to 2011. Country notes from the main volume have been extracted, and other country-specific documents are readily accessible.

The World Bank presents its own numbers in its EdStats: Education Statistics portal. This is comprised of numerous country profiles containing dozens of learning indicators. The site contains a current blog as well as global analyses as data visualizations.

International test-taking results/statistics are widely followed/quoted in the media and other educational outlets. Here are the results for the three major international tests: Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS); Program for International Student Assessment (PISA); and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS). Dozens of countries have partaken in these evaluations over the years, and the results can be quite eye-opening.

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